Last year, the title of Individual European Champion in ice speedway was won by Austrian Harald Simon, who achieved it for five days on his 55th birthday. Determination, self-confidence and the words ringing in his ears: impossible does not exist – this is his recipe for success. We invite you to an interview with a speedwayrider who will have a chance to defend his title in Sanok.
What feelings accompanied you after winning the title of Individual European Champion?
Great joy. I have to admit that this feeling will probably stay with me forever. Of course, the greatest euphoria is experienced on the day of the competition. But every time I think back to that moment, I relive it strongly.
Surely such thoughts will appear in Sanok, where you will have the opportunity to defend your title this year. Probably yes, but achieving this goal will not be easy. A new season is a new story and no one knows what will happen until then, and above all what will happen on the day of the competition. I’ve learned with age not to inflate the balloon and not to put too much pressure on myself.
Who do you consider your biggest rival?
15 other contestants. Everyone will want to win, and I consider all of them to be equally difficult opponents.
What do you think about the track in Sanok?
For me, all artificially iced tracks are the same, regardless of whether they are in Sweden, Austria or Poland. I don’t see much difference in them, unless of course they are well prepared.
You mentioned your country. What’s the deal with training there?
Unfortunately, since we have global warming, there are no competitions in Austria.It’s hard to talk about any training. We have to look for other places to ride.
You won the European Championship at the age of 55. Does age matter in this sport?
Let me think about it… Probably not, but physical preparation is very important, and the older a person is, the more he has to take care of it. However, this is nothing new, in any motorsport you need to be very active every day to be able to start successfully later.
Have you ever had a moment when you said to yourself – enough is enough, you have to end your career?
Of course, many times.
The answer is that I am still in the sport.
How does your family feel about it?
They feel these moments of doubt much more often than I do. However, as you can see, it has little effect on me. When I retire is written in the stars. Speedway on ice is simply my passion. Besides, I work full-time at ÖBB (Österreichische Bundesbahnen – it’s the national railway company in Austria).
2022 was a lucky year for you because you became European Champion, but you were unlucky in the World Championship. Couldn’t go to Togliatti due to a visa problem. It must have been very depressing because you had a good chance of a podium.
What can I say, unfortunately, politics decided it. I had to come to terms with it. I felt a great sense of anger and disappointment. But the worst thing for me was watching other people drive.
What do you think about Poles? Are we like Austrians?
I don’t see big differences. However, if I had to point out a Polish trait, I have to admit that Poles are very hospitable. If we are on the subject of character traits, describe yourself in three words. Impossible does not exist! It’s all me.
Do you have New Year’s resolutions?
Yes. Always one and the same. Be healthy.
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)