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International team speeds into Fast Fridays

Riders share experience in racing
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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The USA will take on the world Friday night at the Fast Friday’s Speedway. The five riders representing the international team, joined by Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway owner Dave Joiner, took some time Thursday to share what compelled them to come to Auburn to race. The international team is made up of Martin Smolinski of Germany, Robert Koschiecha of Poland, Geziegorz Walasek of Poland, Lewis Bridger of England, Cameron Woodward of Australia and Alex Marcucci of the USA. They will blast off against team USA made up of 2011 AMA National Speedway Champion Billy Janniro, Tommy Hedden, Fast Fridays point leader Bart Bast, Bob Hicks, Bryan Yarrow and Bobby Schwartz. According to Joiner, the USA team has won for the past few years, but this lot of international riders may have what it takes to beat them. Q: What made you want to come to Auburn to race? A: Smolinski- “It’s a different lifestyle here. We have some good rules, but it’s more relaxed here. We like to race and it’s just fun to race here. Q: What are some of the differences compared to racing in Europe? A: Smolinski- “It’s (the track) just a bit smaller. You just have to turn a bit early and it’s harder to pass people.” Q: Who is the rider to beat on the USA team? A: Woodward- “Janniro. He is one of the big targets.” Q: Where do you race back home? A: Woodward- “I race with Lewis in England for the Eastbourne Eagles and we just had the league finals on Monday, so this is like our hangover.” Bridger- “I race for Eastbourne with Cameron and we ride together quite a lot. We ride one of the smaller tracks in the whole of England. My whole goal of the season is to get enough money for next season and maybe buy myself a car at the end and have enough to go on holiday to America in the winter. This is like ticks on the box for that.” Q: What do you do during the season to get ready for big races? A: Bridger- “I don’t get a chance to practice really because we have so many meetings (races) during the year. I try to stay fit, maybe do some cycling.” Smolinski- “I would say the same. There is not time for us it just meeting to meeting to meeting.” Q: How did you get into speedway racing and have you always wanted to make it a career? A: Woodward- “Yeah, I suppose from the time I was 13 years old. I sort of got good at it pretty quick. I played baseball and croquet, but the speed appealed to me a lot more and there is no running.” Lewis- “I started motocross at 5 or 6. My garage got broken into and everything got stolen and we had to go to speedway. I became second in the whole of England only to Tommy Sail. I didn’t do motocross for seven years and only just tried it again this last year. I can’t do any other job. We get opportunity like this (racing in the USA). You wouldn’t get that in any other job.” Koschiecha- “My father is a racer. My first time racing wasn’t until 15 years old. My parents are familiar with the sport and know it’s a deadly sport, so they really didn’t want me to race. It was a hard thing to start because my mom was scared.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.