Per Jonsson was a special guest of honour during the Torun’s round of the Tauron SEC. He is regarded as a true Torun legend as he rode for the local club since 1991 up until his unfortunate accident in 1994. He is wheelchair bound. As he came to visit his old stomping ground back in July we had a chat about his health and his thoughts about Poland but also about the Slaski Stadium, the state of the Swedish speedway and last but not least his countryman’s Antonio Lindbeack’s chances in this years SEC.
Hi, how are you? How are you feeling?
Now everything is OK. I feel good, but I had some issues lately and had to spend some time in a hospital’s bed. Luckily everything is back to normal. Life is beautiful and I want to enjoy it.
How is your health looking like now? Are you still thinking about any new methods or treatments?
I’m not sure what the future is going to bring but for this moment I don’t think there is much more that can be done to improve my condition. It is what it is and I have to deal with it. The most important thing is that I feel good every day.
What does your day look like when you’re back home in Sweden? What do you do?
Recently I wasn’t able to do much as I was in a hospital, so I had to postpone my working commitments. Before that I was in the automobile business, I was a spare parts dealer.
Do you like coming back to Poland? Torun in particular?
Absolutely. It’s always nice to be coming back here. Torun has a special place in my heart. All the people here, that I keep meeting, my friends and fans are great, they make me want to come back.
How do you feel about coming to Motoarena? You had a large input in getting this stadium built.
I’m not going to deny it, it’s a great feeling to be able to return here and it’s a great pleasure for me. I’m always ready if the club needs me, they can always count on me. I feel privileged every time I get invited back and get a chance to visit. I have to admit, time flies past when I’m over in Torun.
In many people’s opinion, we have one of the most beautiful speedway stadiums in Torun. We also have another legendary stadium making a comeback to racing, the Slaski Stadium. Do you think it’s a good idea?
Definitely yes. There is no doubt about it. This way speedway as a sport shows its potential of being a big spectator sport and making it’s way onto bigger arenas. In my opinion a temporary track can produce some great racing if it’s built properly, even on a stadium that does not host speedway regularly.
Was the track on Slaski properly built?
I remember that the old original track was well laid down. There were many racing lines. When I was younger and at the beginning of my racing career I always wanted to get to know many different tracks with different specifications. I wanted to know as much as possible about them. Going back to Slaski track, the one built last year had no major issues. I also had an input in getting its geometry sorted and helped with the design.
The old Slaski Stadium wasn’t very fortunate to Swedes. They never seem to do well on it. Any ideas why?
To be honest, I don’t know myself. You would have to ask the riders themselves.
What can you say about the domestic scene? How is speedway in Sweden? Not many Swedes fighting for medals nowadays
It is a serious problem from our perspective. We don’t bring up too many top class riders. Young riders gradually go up the ranks but have no access to top level of racing in the best clubs at the young age. Time goes by but they are not racing as much as they would like to. This is essential for them at their age, so we have to do something about this.
Can you see a chance for the Young Swedes to be ruling the speedway World’s scene anytime soon?
I’m sure it won’t be easy. If I’m honest it does not look good for the future.
We are talking just before one of the SEC rounds so I’ll ask about Antonio Lindbeack who is Sweden’s only representative. What do you say about his performances so far?
Antonio is very talented but his problem is inconsistency. If you want to win the biggest speedway meetings and championships, like SEC you have to ride well in all the rounds. Antonio should be more consistent in getting the points.
When you look at speedway as a whole, its position and what it means as a discipline, what do you see?
When I think about it, I start having serious worries. Some countries do not produce enough good riders to the world. Poland is playing the first fiddle in bringing the young riders up, because they spent a lot of time and effort with the juniors. Maybe they will be the future of the sport, but we have to remember it’s a lengthy process that takes a lot of time. We all have to realise that.