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Lifestyle images of Monster's 2018 Speedway GP riders

Tai Woffinden – Chasing Immortality

Jul 192018

Tai Woffinden is a family man now. When he’s not sending his 500c, no-brakes, no gears speedway bike at 70mph on tracks around Europe, he’s doing the same things any new dad does.

He changes nappies, he plays with toys, he watches cartoons – all the things you’d expect from a man with a nine-month old baby. But while some new parents endure sleepless nights and chaos, there’s a serenity to Woffinden’s life that is allowing him to get the best out of himself on track.

Tai is leading the Speedway Grand Prix series by 11 points after four rounds and heads into this weekend’s British Grand Prix as the man to beat. He’s racing as well as he ever has, marrying his frightening speed with incredible consistency and not letting up.

It hasn’t always been this way. Tai was one of Speedway’s great enigma’s for a spell during his late teens and early twenties; prodigiously talented, charmingly precocious but, for a time, frustratingly wasteful.

Then it all came together; a surprise world title win in 2013 was followed by fourth the following year, before he claimed his second title in 2015, and he has since added a silver and a bronze medal to his trophy room.

Five years, four top-three finishes, two titles – it’s impressive. But that’s not enough for the British-born, Australia-raised 28-year-old, because his sights aren’t set on achieving what us mere mortals would think is impressive.

His sights are set on history, on the type of achievements that have put Michael Schumacher, Valentino Rossi and Ricky Carmichael into a club all on their own. Tai is chasing sporting immortality.

“I want to win as many titles as I can, I don’t have a number where I’d sit and think ‘right, I’ve done it – I’m happy with that’, I just want to keep winning.


“I have two now, and that’s awesome, but my focus is on number three. And if I win a third, I’ll start thinking about a fourth, then it’ll be a fifth – that’s just how I am. You look at the best sportsmen ever, they’re guys who win four, five, six world titles in whatever it is they’re doing. I want to be one of them.”


Despite having won the world championship twice before, many observers believe the 2018 Tai Woffinden is the best version of himself there’s ever been and the numbers back that up, but what does the man himself think?


He says: “I don’t know whether this is the best I’ve ever ridden, it probably is but I guess it’s hard to say. I feel really good, not just in my racing but in my life. Everything is perfect, I have a beautiful wife, we’ve got an amazing healthy, happy little girl and I’m really settled.


“My daughter, Rylee, is great and she’s the happiest little girl. She sleeps really well and my wife Faye is so good with letting me get some rest when I need it. The night before I race Faye will always get up with Rylee in the middle of the night so I can get a proper sleep – but I make up for it when I’m not racing!


“It’s hard being away from the girls but they come with me sometimes and it’s great to have them around, they’ve been to a couple of the GP’s and it’s nice. Obviously I’m away a lot during the season but then I get the whole winter at home where I can spend every day and night with her so it works both ways.”

“My guys are amazing, they work so hard and my bikes are always on point.


“When you walk down the paddock, I know that my bikes stand out and it’s good to know that. We’re a team and we’ve been together for a while now so everything works like clockwork, the boys know exactly what they’re doing and we’ve got a great setup. Without them I couldn’t do what I do so they need to take a lot of credit – it’s a team effort.”


Tai’s next race sees him take centre stage in front of 50,000 British fans who are desperate to see their hero win his home race for the first time, but he knows the bigger picture is the most important thing and that means it’s points, not prizes, that matter the most.


“Obviously I want to win the British GP, it would be awesome to win in front of my home fans but ultimately I want to be the world champion again and I have to score big points to do that. I could score 12 points and win the GP or 20 points and not win it and I know which one I’d take, because one of them is going to help me win the world title the most.


“The reception I get at Cardiff is unreal, when they call your name out and the place goes nuts it’s one of the best feelings you can imagine and I would love to win for all the fans. There haven’t been many British winners there so it’d be cool to do it but as long as I score points I’m happy – I’m working towards a bigger goal and that’s my only focus.”