On the track in Sanok, he has already experienced ups and downs, and in the world of ice speedway he is a true legend. Frank Zorn has already won a lot in his life, he raced with a Formula 1 car, and he told us how much he wants to come back to Sanok and fight for a medal. We invite you to talk to a participant of the European Individual Ice Speedway Championship, which is approaching fast!
Franz, what do you think it takes to practice Ice Speedway?
For the first training you need special conditions, because when an accident occurs, it can get dangerous. I prefer lakes because there is nothing around them. You can ask your fellow riders if you can test their bike or buy one yourself. I live in Sweden, where I have a big lake nearby, where I can train every day in winter. It’s important to find the right place for it.
And what is necessary to become European Champion like you in 2008? Or the World Champion – which may still be ahead of you.
Winning the European Championship is a difficult task because many factors have to play together, which must be at the highest level. First of all, you need a good and fast motorcycle. The competitor must also be mentally ready to take on such a challenge to ride at a really good level. Such an event where medals are handed out is a unique thing.
What is your best memory related to this sport?
There are many great memories associated with speedway on ice. The best one that comes to my mind is of course 2008 and the Old Continent Championships in Sanok, when I interrupted the series of Russian triumphs in this event.
Is there anything you’d like to forget then?
I definitely want to forget about the accident in Moscow in 2014. Then I broke my tailbone. It was a really hard time for me. It was not easy to return from Russia to Munich and then to the hospital in Salzburg. I had a complicated operation there. There is still a titanium plate in my body, so it will be hard to forget. You also have some experience with Poland. Yes, my first competition in Poland was the Sanok Cup. The ice was perfect and lots of people were watching my first win in your country. It was great. Later, I also competed in other events, also in Tomaszów Mazowiecki.
Do you like the track in Sanok?
I am very happy that I will be able to start here again, in front of this really great audience. Everything looks very interesting. And I hope I don’t get the same bad luck as last year when I had a bad fall.
How do you deal with such failures? You had to retire from the competition after 3 good starts. Then the chance for a medal was lost.
Last year I was planning to be on the podium at the European Championships. The training was good, the first three races of the competition went well too. I had seven points on my account and I was full of hope for the next start. I took the lead before the last bend, but Jimmy Olsen hooked me with his bike. There was a serious accident, I broke several bones. I was recovering for a long time.
Someone once said about ice speedway that “it’s a sport like any other”. How do you view it?
This is not an ordinary sport. Firstly, it’s the kind of motorsport where you always need a bike and a driver. These two elements build the result. It is not an easy sport, I dare say that it is one of the most difficult, because it can be very dangerous on a motorcycle. It doesn’t have much in common with other “normal” sports.
You are already an experienced player. I don’t want to remind you of your age, but doesn’t your family sometimes suggest that it’s time to retire?
Age in speedway on ice is not important. I always say you are as old as you feel. And I feel like I’m 35. First of all, you must be in good shape. I am, I still belong to the leading speedway riders on the ice. So age is not an obstacle. More important is many years of experience, developing the right habits and brave but reasonable driving. Otherwise, he quickly ends up in the hospital. My family supports me, I can count on them every time. When I’m done driving, they’ll probably be happy. But now is the time to fight for the highest goals again.
Once you had the opportunity to race in an exhibition with Max Verstappen, the Dutch Formula 1 world champion of the last two years. Would you trade studded tires for a 700 horsepower car?
Meeting Max Verstappen on the track was possible thanks to the Red Bull brand, which is my main sponsor. It happened last year and it was one of the biggest events for our discipline. It is a pity, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we had to do it in a more modest version than originally planned. We had a plan to put on a great show for the fans. It was supposed to be racing motorbikes and cars on ice, plus an air show. Max is a tough guy, he was driving his car really fast. It was not easy to catch him on the straights, only on the bends there was a chance, because then he had to drift, a bit like a rally car. I have many fond memories of this event. Great adventure.
Changing the subject – what is the current condition of ice speedway in Austria?
It’s not the best time for speedway on ice, also in Austria. We actually only have a few riders and only two tracks in our country. The track in Weissenbach is active, the second one has not been contested for three years. We’ve all been through a lot of obstacles lately. First, the coronavirus pandemic, last year the war broke out in Ukraine, we know what the economic situation is like. This is not an easy time for young players who want to start their careers. Maybe things will change for the better in the coming months.
How many races have you done this winter season?
This year again in the Swedish league there were 5 matches with my participation and the qualifying round of the Individual World Championship. So, in total, I have started in six events this winter.
And finally, we will ask about private matters. What is your biggest non-sporting dream?
I have a lot of them, but they are mainly related to sports. However, it is not yet time to implement them. Maybe I’ll play golf, go fishing, or maybe I’ll become a specialist in darts or something else? I can do all these things. But that won’t be until I’m 65 or 70.
We cordially invite all fans on February 25 and 26 to the “Błonie” ice track. The rate of the European Individual Ice Speedway Championship will be very even, which heralds a large dose of emotions. Tickets are on sale online for this attractive competition. They can be purchased online at: bilety.speedwayevents.pl and on the ebilet.pl website.
VIP (included: parking space, high-class catering, a set of gifts, a place with the best visibility in the grandstand, competition program)
PLN 599 – normal
PLN 349 – concessionary – persons up to 18 years of age
PLN 99 – regular
PLN 79 – concessionary (children and youth from 7 to 18 years of age; pensioners)
PLN 79 – regular
PLN 59 – concessionary (children and youth from 7 to 18 years of age; pensioners)
One-day tickets (Saturday or Sunday)
VIP (included in the price: parking space, high-class catering, a set of gifts, a seat with the best visibility on the grandstand, competition program)
PLN 349 – regular
PLN 199 – concessionary – persons up to 18 years of age
Tribune: PLN 59 – regular
PLN 49 – concessionary (children and youth from 7 to 18 years of age; pensioners)
PLN 49 – regular
PLN 39 – concessionary (children and youth from 7 to 18 years of age; pensioners)
Tickets are also sold at selected stationary points throughout the country. Their list can be found HERE. On the day of the competition, from 11.00, tickets and programs will also be available at stationary stands around the facility. Tickets are valid both in paper and electronic versions (on a mobile device).
Tickets for people with disabilities: The organizers have prepared a pool of free tickets for disabled fans. If you are interested, please submit your applications – by February 19 – at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject of the message “Ice Speedway ticket”. The condition for receiving a free entry ticket will be sending a copy of a document proving a significant degree of disability. Free admission is granted to both the disabled person and their guardian. Note – the number of places is limited!