Martin Vaculik talks about his PGE Ekstraliga season, his SGP season and…food with speedwayekstraliga.pl. The Slovak has won the Best Foreign Rider award at the recent end of season Gala. This was one of his best years so far, not only in Poland.
speedwayekstraliga.pl: You had a great year. Finished the season 4th in the averages (2.319), your best effort since 2014 when you finished 3rd. You were also Stelmet Falubaz team leader, so was the medal with the team the only thing missing?
Martin Vaculik: Absolutely. Medal would be perfect and it’s the only thing that we have missed out on. I’m happy with my individual stats it was a very good year for me but obviously league is a team competition. I think Zielona Gora made tremendous progress comparing to the previous year. They had one foot in the Nice Pierwsza Liga, nearly got relegated becuase of Patryk Dudek’s injury. They had to work extremely hard to stay up in PGE Ektraliga. After this, thanks to the new man, Adam Golinski, who was very busy in the transfer window, the club’s new siginings made them favorites to reach the Playoffs. We made it happen. Looking back at where the club was and where it is now, we can see a big difference. We have also lost Nicki Pedersen just before the most important part of the season. It could have been different with him in the team. Overall I think the season was a success..
Did you feel the pressure was on your shoulders, especially after Nicki was out?
No I didn’t feel it. We have a very good squad, there is Patryk Dudek, Piotr Protasiewicz and Michael Jepsen Jensen We also added Martin Smolinski, who was in a difficult situation but did all he could to help us out. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, we were knocked out in the semis and couldn’t win the bronze medal either. We need to look at the positives and learn from the negatives.
Your Grand Prix campaign was also great. 5th place is your best achievement to date. Do you think this is the level your fans can expect from you in the PGE Ekstraliga and FIM SGP next year?
Each year I’m a different rider. But looking back from 2014 I have been pretty consistant. Grand Prix is a different kettle of fish, you have to mature to succeed. Maybe it needed to take a little longer in my case, but I am making progress. I want to be a World Champion one day and I’m doing all I can to achieve it. We are improving and that’s a positive. I feel my form is now stabilised, but sometimes I can have a bad day. This is sport and I’m happy with it. It also goes with PGE Ekstraliga, I appreciate the wins and all the losses I analise, learn a lesson and forget about them. What’s important is to eliminate all the mistakes and never do them again.
You have just completed your first season at STELMET Falubaz Zielona Gora. How did it go? You came to the team from their nearest neighbour TRULY.WORK Stal Gorzow also the enemy number 1. Have you had any worries about how the fans will react to you?
From the first days at the official team presentation, the reception was unbelievable. I remeber it being freezing cold, but the atmosphere was electric I felt so fired up by the supporters. All my previous worries and doubts have disappeared. The fans had no issues with me and all the team had an awesome support the whole year. I felt very well at Zielona Gora. I haven’t had such a great feeling for a long time. I felt this new fresh energy and was constantly motivated to race for my new team. I am glad I have made the move, it was possibly the best move in my carreer.
Both Speedway Grand Prix and PGE Ekstraliga attracts large crowds. If you look at the Warsaw round on PGE Narodowy or the Torun one on Motoarena, does that give you an extra motivation to give your best?
They are very special days for me. When I see all the crowds at Torun, Warsaw or Cardiff it’s like a dream come true. We feel like actors in this great show and we are doing our best to entertain the crowds. It works both ways as fans feed us with their spontaneous reactions to our racing. It is such a great feeling I cannot describe it with words.
There were rumours you were helping in team picking and tactics at some point. Can you see yourself as a team manager or a promoter in the future? Or perhaps a director or Mr president Martin Vaculik?
Myself as a manager or director? I sincerely hope that I’m far from that point in my life and that my racing has a lot of years left in me.
What are you planning right now, after the season? Holidays? Or are you planning next year already?
I am having a break I’m not really planning any specific winter training. I’m in constant training all year round to keep fit. I have rest days but I try to keep a 5 day training regime during the week. From December onwards I’ll be concentrating my efforts on the 2020 campaign. It will be a training regime with a personal trainer with a diet plan so it all should be working as a swiss watch. I will have a schedule for each day as to what and when to do so every hour is written down and I will know my day programme to the minute. We are going on a family holiday in November and after that I am having an ankle surgery. I have to have screws and plates removed from my foot that was broken a year ago. After that I will have two weeks of rehab and we can start winter prep for next year.
You have mentioned food before. How do you make sure your diet is maintained, are you watching what you eat? Rumour has it you can eat whatever you want, it has no effect on your weight…
I’m trying to stick to my dietary plan in about 90%. The remaining 10% is pizza and burgers. I love real burgers and have no issues with it. Usually I stay healthy and watch my food and only from time to time I let myself go and have a cheat day. That way I’m preventing my body from a healthy food overdose.
Do you want to see Martin and the rest of the best riders in the world on PGE Narodowy in Warsaw? You can buy tickets HERE