Ahead of the Latvian FIM Speedway Grand Prix this weekend, Motorcycling Australia (MA) caught up with Australian Speedway ace, Chris Holder.
Speedway veteran Chris Holder has done it all. The highly decorated Speedway rider won the World Championship in 2012, as well as bagging no fewer than five Australian Championships. He first competed overseas in the United Kingdom (UK) for the Isle of Wight back in 2006, using bikes provided by Speedway megastar Jason Crump. Holder has been living in the UK ever since and has gone on to become a mainstay of the sport.
Holder’s start to the 2017 Speedway season hasn’t quite been what he would have wanted, as he currently resides in 12th position in the overall Speedway GP Championship standings. Holder sharing; “There’s a long way to go, so I’m looking forward to getting back up the top at some point! Obviously, to be a contender in the World Championship is the goal. I also want to do well with all my clubs in the leagues and to stay healthy!”
The next FIM Speedway GP is fast approaching with the Latvian Grand Prix and Holder is raring to go, Holder adding; “The series is the toughest and most competitive speedway series in the world. The world’s top 15 speedway riders will battle over 12 rounds. It’s an absolute honour to take part in the series, however, it’s also mentally demanding trying to put it all together, every two weeks against the best of the best.”
The life of a travelling Speedway competitor isn’t always glitz and glamour. Holder has had to do the hard yards to get where he is today. “It’s definitely not the dream everyone thinks it is! If we’re not racing, you can expect us to be in a van travelling, in a hotel, or at an airport. There is a lot of travelling involved that’s for sure. A lot of servo food as well unfortunately!” Passion for the sport is required and Holder exudes it.
The amount of travel is highlighted by Holder’s weekly schedule, which typically starts with a practice in Poland on the Saturday, then followed by a Polish league match Sunday. If Holder’s available on Monday, he’ll fly straight up to Sweden, do the Swedish league Tuesday night, fly back to England for Kings Lynn on the Wednesday. Then he will fly out on Friday morning for Speedway GP. Straight after the GP, its back in the van and heading to Poland for the Polish League match on Sunday. The process repeats on Monday, it all puts the hectic lifestyle in perspective.
Holder enjoys the thrill of the competition but also misses home in Australia. “I definitely miss the sunny days! I’m based in England so it’s pretty rare to see the sun! There are good days but it’s nowhere near as good as we have it back in Aus! Food is another is a big one and family of course!”
The single greatest motivating force in Holder’s life is his son, Max. Holder shared; “I want him to look up to me and be proud of his dad. He loves bikes and spending time with me. Everything I do is for him.”
Holder has encountered a number of strange experiences as a travelling Aussie in Europe, in particular his early days of travelling; “Nobody spoke English in Poland and I was just getting by with hand signals. That was always a battle! England seem to have warm drinks and cold food, they have it the wrong way round for sure!”
Finally, Holder has a message for all the Australian fans back home; ‘Please keep supporting us Aussies! We’re a long way from home and often feel like outsiders wherever we go. Your support means a lot and I can’t wait to come home to put on a show again in Melbourne!” He urged.
Catch Chris Holder compete at the Round 3 Latvian Speedway GP Sunday from 2:00 AM to 5:00 AM EST on Foxtel Channel 506.
To coincide with Holder’s 2017 Grand Prix campaign, MA is giving away a Speedway GP Marshal hat signed by none other than Chris Holder! For your chance to win, like the Australian Speedway Championship Facebook Page, comment below the relevant post describing your favourite Chris Holder Speedway moment and share the post to your page.