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Action images of Speedway athlete Jaimon Lidsey during league racing action in Poland
NEWS

Jaimon Lidsey – A path less travelled

Mar 082022

For a small town of just over 30,000 people, Mildura sure does produce some talented motorcyclists. 

Jason Crump, three-time Speedway world champion. Leigh Adams, arguably the best rider never to win that title. Jason Lyons, a world cup winner. Josh Waters, British Superbike event winner. 

You can add Jaimon Lidsey, 2020 Speedway world under-21 champion, to that list. The Australian has followed in some pretty famous footsteps, but he’s trodden his own path. 

The convention for young Australian racers is to head over to England in their teens, set up in the UK, find a domestic team and prove their worth in the British leagues. If things go well, the speedway world opens up. If they don’t, the sanctuary of home beckons.

That’s why the story of Jaimon Lidsey catches the eye. Rather than head to the relative comfort of Britain, he packed his bag, picked up his passport and headed to mainland Europe. Poland, specifically.
 

“I didn’t really have much of a choice, to be honest! Like most Aussies, I planned to go to England and set up there but that year they changed the visa rules and I had to get into the top three of the Victorian state championships instead of the top four."

 

“I made the final and on the last lap I shed a chain and ended up in fourth place, so England was out of the equation, just like that. I had already signed a contract in Poland and it was either stay at home for another year or bite the bullet and go over there, so that’s what I did,” he said.

 

The prospect of packing up your life and heading to a land almost 9000 miles away is scary enough,  but adding in a significant language barrier and a lack of compatriots anywhere near you makes life even tougher, as Lidsey found out early on.

 

“It was scary, but I just wanted to ride my bike for a living and that was the only way I could do it. It was really tough in that first year, there is obviously a language barrier and to start with I could see people were talking behind my back in front of my face!"

 

“I got homesick but I was really lucky that my family was amazing, and my girlfriend came over during the season and got me through it. I was there to do a job and ride my bike, I needed to make it happen because I didn’t want to go home and go to work, so I just stuck it out."

 

“I had just turned 19 and I needed to be in Europe racing. That’s pretty old to start racing professionally, a lot of boys head over when they’re 15 or 16 so I didn’t want to lose another year. I just hoped it would pay off and it did, and I think I’ve laid a pathway for others now. There’s more than one way to do it.”

 

The qualities he showed off the track; bravery, determination, ambition, are very much qualities he shows on it too. His maiden European season was a huge success, and he quickly earned a reputation as one of the brightest talents in the sport.

 

In 2020, Lidsey scored 20 points from a possible 21 to win the world under-21 championship and, with that, vindication. 

 

He says: “I did better than I thought I would when I first came over, and better than a lot of people thought I’d do. Winning the world junior title was obviously a big moment, it showed that I was right to take the risk."

 

“Last year was hard, I struggled a bit. I had a lot of changes in my personal life and there was more pressure. I was an established rider and I just had a bit more on my shoulders, but I’m feeling good about this season and I’ve worked really hard to get back to where I should be."

 

“I have a good setup in Poland now. My girlfriend and my son are with me, we’ve got a house, we’re happy and we have no reason to change anything. I’ve learned a little bit of Polish and my young fella, Eddie, he’ll learn it from early and that’ll be cool."

 

“My girlfriend has been amazing, she had only been to Poland for a month before she decided to move over with me. She gave up her life back home so we could all be together as a family, she doesn’t care what she does, where she lives, what she lives in, as long as we’re all together she’s happy – I’m pretty lucky.”

 

Whilst Lidsey’s adopted home city of Leszno may not be Mildura, they share a lot in common. Speedway is, in both places, the beating heart, and one man brings that together more than any other, as Jaimon explains.

 

“Leigh (Adams) is still the king of Leszno! Even now, after all these years, the fans chant his name at the stadium and wherever you go they know who he is."

 

“He has always been a bit of a mentor figure to me, he’s helped from when I was 13/14 and he’s always been there to give me advice. He was the one who set me up with Unia Leszno, and I’m still in touch with him all the time."

 

“When I am home I go and see him a fair bit and we’ll have a coffee or a few beers, but when I’m in Poland he is like a God! It’s pretty cool that to me he’s a normal guy who I can call up and ask for advice, but honestly, you can’t compare anyone to him. He was just unreal, so, so good at what he did. I know we are from the same place and both have the Leszno connection but you can’t compare anyone to Leigh.”

 

It is possible, probably even likely, that young riders will one day talk of Lidsey in the same breath as his mentor. Even now, he is somewhat of a trailblazer for his compatriots.

 

“I think I probably have showed some of the other Aussie boys that there is a different way to do it. After I moved here you saw a few of us do the same and now there’s more Aussies living in Poland than before. I don’t really see myself as someone who has blazed a trail, I just did what I had to do at the time. If that’s inspired a few other young guys then even better.”

 

Lidsey, as his career so far has shown, is perhaps the embodiment of the mantra ‘he who dares wins’ and, it is that attitude that brought him into the Monster family.

 

“After I won the world title I thought bloody hell I need to capitalize on this! I wanted to try and get a big sponsor on board, I knew it was my chance to do it. I dropped Joe Parsons (Monster Energy director of special projects, EMEA) a DM on Instagram and he replied ‘I’ve been waiting for you to get in touch!’"

 

“Within two days we had a deal and within a week we’d signed contracts and I was a Monster athlete – it was pretty wild. When you’re a little kid you dream of being part of Monster, you see all the guys in motorsport who have worn the helmet and you dream of it being you one day, wearing the Monster cap and being part of it. It’s amazing really and I am desperate to be successful wearing the claw.”

 

Jaimon’s story to date is one of sacrifice and perseverance, of struggle and success. 

 

He’s already shown that there is no barrier he’s not willing to overcome, and if the door doesn’t open straight away, sometimes you just have to beat it down. If he says he’s desperate to be successful, you’d be foolish to bet against him.

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