The Danish Grandprix reserve and SES - Southern Jutland Elite Speedway - have been training intensively in Poland over the past month. Last week, however, Thomsen chose to follow the request of the Danish authorities and returned to Denmark. It was not without detours.
By Ib Søby
- On Thursday, March 12, I had planned to train in Ostrów, but there were reports that the Polish borders would be closed. I contacted my manager to find out how to adapt to the situation. On the way to Ostrow, my team and I stopped at a rest area and decided that my mechanics should immediately return to their families in Hungary. We drove straight to Poznan Airport, and they flew home, says Anders Thomsen.
After that, the 26-year-old Fynbo would drive directly to Denmark, but he soon found that there could be problems at the border between Poland and Germany.
- I heard there was a big queue at the borders, and decided to return to Gdansk. Fortunately, I got a lot of help from my manager Sandra Salman and her family, who got me a flight ticket from Gdansk to Copenhagen. It was unbelievable that we sent the plane, because we had only four passengers on board, says Anders Thomsen.
At the Lech Walesa airport he also met several members of the Swedish national team, led by Morgan Andersson, who rushed to Sweden.
Anders Thomsen believes that the coronavirus outbreak can have serious consequences for international speedway.
- This is a very unpleasant situation for our sport, because in rooms we do not meet at the stadiums. It doesn't look good financially either. Preparation of equipment, pay for mechanics and other necessary expenses are high costs, and the investments were primarily to be earned at the start of the league.
- On the other hand, I realize that many people are in a similar situation - or worse, and of course there are more important things in life than the speedway. I wish my team, speedway colleagues, fans and everyone involved a quick return to a normal lifestyle, ”says Anders Thomsen.
Over the past few days, Anders Thomsen has quarantined himself and trained physically, just as he has time to cultivate one of his major interests, namely fishing.
In addition to SES - Southern Jutland Elite Speedway, Anders Thomsen is on the first team in Polish Gorzow and Swedish Vestervik.
PZM awaits the virus situation
The worldwide pandemic has not yet hit Poland as badly as in Denmark, for example. Monday morning -16. March - 150 Polish infected and three deaths have been registered, but the chiefs of the Polish Motor Union PZM know that it is only a stuck deadline.
The Polish leagues should have been started in the first weekend of April, so the opening matches are already hanging on a very thin thread. Last week, PZM dictated a ban on all club activity until April 1.
The season preparations are under pressure, and with this the clubs finances are also challenged before a single heat has been run at all. Many of the club's sponsors are companies that will be hit hard and will have difficulty paying the clubs. The TV money and municipal grants that help carry the Polish leagues can lapse, or at best be postponed.
All of this contributes to squeezing the finances of individual drivers. It is already fragile after a long winter break, so if both the Polish and other leagues do not get started in April, the house of cards will start to topple in earnest.
- Speedway drivers are constantly traveling around Europe, so in the coming weeks we certainly cannot allow Polish members of PZM to participate in races in other countries, says PZM president Wojciech Stephniewski to the leading Polish speedway media Sportowy Fakty.
- Some suggest we start our leagues without an audience at the stadium, but that makes no sense. Speedway sports are for the public, not just for drivers and promoters. Then it is better to wait a few months and possibly start in June. In that case, we can still achieve some kind of full season, says Stephniewski.
In recent days, there has been heated debate in the Polish speedway environment that drivers Maciej Janowski and Przemyslaw Pawlicki recently flew to Las Vegas in the US to follow the female Polish MMA fighter Johanna Jedrzeczyk who lost a World Cup match against Chinese Weili Zhang on Saturday the 8. March.
Immediately after the US tour, both riders participated in training sessions and various club events.
This past weekend in England, the traditional season opener Ben Fund Bonanza was chosen - a race that raises funds for injured speedway drivers - but here, Danish Hans Andersen and Ulrich Østergaard refrained from participating.
The race was won by British Daniel King.
On Tuesday, British speedway organizers will meet BSPA.