Junior formations in the 2020 season will be a massive unknown. It’s a tough choice to point out teams that will lead from the front. Lack of true superstars among the juniors will be a massive chance for all those youngsters dreaming of PGE Ekstraliga glory. One of those riders is Wiktor Jasinski. 19 year old from Gorzow could be a remedy to the struggles of his truly.work Stal Gorzow team. We have talked to this young motocross rider about the transition and similarities to speedway, his hopes of first league points and how he plans to combine racing and his college studies in his final year.
We will start with a question that a lot of people asks and will be asking you. Why did it take you so long to come and give speedway a go?
To be honest I could start much earlier. I wanted to join in 2013 as I was riding motocross already, but my mom didn’t want me to do both at the same time. As you know, to join in and start riding speedway, you need consent from your parents and, as this was an issue, I have stayed in motocross. Not long ago I have finished my age category so I thought this might be the time to start something else. I had strong encouragement from Piotr Paluch and Bartosz Zmarzlik so I gave it a go and loved it. My moto season ended in April and since then I rode speedway only, quickly got my license and started riding in the Polish Under 18 Team Championships.
You must have had offers to come and try all the time. You are from Gorzow after all, speedway is like a religion over here…
Exactly, this is the most popular sport in the area. Many people had high hopes I will finally come and give it a go and become a speedway rider.
How was it with your sponsors, were they keen on the move, did they follow you?
Some of them are motocross brands so those deals will run out at the end of this year. Others are happy for me, like Shoei, I will still be riding in their helmets. Speedway has more media exposure in the country. When I finally made my decision I was given a van from a company called Busrent, so I could travel to all the junior meetings. Almost everybody joined in and really wanted to help me out.
You’re not the first who made the transition from motocross to speedway. Even Tomasz Gollob started out this way. Were there any common factors in both sports that made that any easier for you?
The most important thing is that they are both contact sports and you race other people. In motocross, sometimes you race 40 others. In speedway there is 4 so I had no issues or fears of that proximity to other racers. I was simply used to that. Obviously I am familiar to high speed and bike control is also similar.
Any bad habits that you had problems with?
Yes, a few things. I kept grabbing the clutch during the race so I kept falling on the bends but we made quick amends. I also had to get to know and to understand the bikes.
Who is in your team? Are your parents taking main roles?
In motocross I already had a team but speedway is so much different I didn’t want to move it as it was as I wanted something new, a fresh blood. You are right, my parents are behind it all but I also have my younger sister in the pits. She was spannering for me at practice sessions, the rest of the crew are club mechanics. We will build a proper team for the next season, I want it to look like we know what we are doing.
In your first ever race you beat Aleks Rydlewski. Was this a sign that you have made a good choice?
I remember that first race at Leszno. I didn’t know what to expect. I got in the mix at the gate and then realised I’ve left somebody behind. I thought, “This is great!”. I managed to get a point and I suddenly thought I can mix it in with riders that have been riding for a while and are more experienced than me. It was a great feeling to show my fighting spirit as a complete novice.
Lately you have managed to beat Wiktor Lampart who will be one of the leading juniors in the forthcoming season. Do you not regret that it doesn’t leave you much time to learn your craft as a junior?
Since April I started to learn it all very quick. At the end of August I was racing against Wiktor, Robert Chmiel and other more experienced juniors who have been racing for a while. I still have two years left as a junior so I reckon I still have time to learn. I wouldn’t want to end my career after coming out of the junior category. I know what I can do, I’m not afraid of hard work. I will be trying hard to get the best out of me so I get interest from the best teams.
You are a truly.work Stal Gorzow rider but the club has had a few problems recently in their junior formation. Rafal Karczmarz cannot be guaranteed his position and Mateusz Bartkowiak recently had an injury so there is uncertainty on how he will fit in. Do you see this as a chance for yourself to break into the team?
To make the team, this is my goal for early next season. Obviously it will not be easy, we have a new signing, Kamil Nowacki who is very fast. We also have Alan Sczotka with some Ekstraliga matches under his belt already. So there is five of us and only two team spots to fill. I am only interested in those number 6 and 7 slots, 14 and 15. I’ll do all I have in me to be the clubs main junior. I have showed already i can rival Kamil Nowacki, although Mateusz is still ahead of me, but I am hot on his heels. As for Rafal, nobody knows. We will know more about the team spot selection after the transfer window.
You have mentioned that it was Bartosz Zmarzlik who persuaded you to speedway. Is he your idol, are you dreaming to have him as a race partner?
I wouldn’t say he’s my idol, but definitely a rider I look up to and try to learn from the most. We have been meeting at motocross quite frequently and indeed he always encouraged me to take up speedway. Now we’re in the same club and we’re practicing together. He does helps us juniors a lot, always tells us what we’re doing wrong and how to improve things. It might not be as much as Tomasz Gollob used to do for him but it definitely makes a difference. He’s a great team player and wants us all to succeed.
If you don’t see Bartosz Zmarzlik as an idol, maybe there is another rider?
I would like to write my own history book so I try not to idolize one particular rider too much. For sure I respect all the riders and the work they all put in and sacrifices they all make, but I don’t have an idol as such.
Dead season ahead of us, a winter break in your case means back to school. You were born in 2000 so you have your GSCE exams next year?
I am still in education. I have my final exams in my technical studies in May 2020. This will have to fit in with my speedway plans and me making the team. I really hope I can kill two birds with one stone.
Technical studies. Does that mean you prefer your physics to your literature?
I am studying car engineering but I thought about continuing my education after that. I was always curious about coaching so wouldn’t mind getting some qualifications or something to do with physiotherapy. Sport fascinates me as a whole so I will be going in that direction. In the past I used to combine doing motocross and swimming, now I do speedway and motocross. I always wanted to know a little bit more about how to prepare your body to train at a high level and maybe relay that knowledge to others.
When you race motocross and speedway and you have competed in swimming in the past, it must have affected your school attendance. How do the teachers treat a professional athlete?
They got used to it, but I am always making sure to catch up on my studies so I can be up to date with both sport and education.
Let’s get back to speedway. Imagine we’re calling you at the same time next year. Where do you see yourself?
I haven’t even thought of that. I hope to have had a couple, if not more, race wins in the league. I hope to get on the score chart in most matches. I am ambitious so I don’t wish to see any last places. This will be my first full season, as I only started to race in the middle of this past season. I know it will be hard to start winning straight away but I hope I’ll make a good impression and I won’t be giving any points away.
Interviewed by BARTOSZ RABENDA