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Lifestyle images of speedway star Tai Woffinden
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Tai Woffinden: Searching for Speed

Mar 042018

Two-time Speedway World Champion Tai Woffinden is too colourful to ever be forgotten, but it’s safe to say he’s had a low-key two years by his incredible standards. That’s despite finishing second and third overall in 2016 and 2017 respectively, which shows just how good the British shredder is.

We caught up with him to discuss his off-season, his life outside of Speedway and how he plans to get back on top in 2018…

"Speedway is my main priority in life after Faye and Riley and that won’t change."

First of all Tai, how’s your Winter been?

Well the first month after the season I was just working on my house, then on November 20th me and my wife, Faye had our first baby so life changed a bit! Since Riley was born I’ve just been doing normal dad things, helping Faye, spending time with Riley and just being normal. It’s been really nice, I’m lucky that I get the whole off-season to spend with her because they grow so quickly, especially when they’re first born, so it’s been cool to be around for that and to just do the normal stuff new parents do.

Since the New Year I’ve been focussing on my diet and fitness, starting to get ready for the season, and I’m feeling really good. I’m probably the fittest I’ve ever been so I’m in a good place.

Congratulations! Does having Riley change your outlook on Speedway at all?

Speedway is my main priority in life after Faye and Riley and that won’t change. Without Speedway, I wouldn’t have what I have now, I’m in a good position in life and that’s because of Speedway so it will always have my focus. It’s just my thing that I do, it always has been, I do Speedway and that’s what has got me where I am now – so I’m as focussed as always.

Tell us about your house project?

Last Summer I bought a six-bedroom farmhouse with 24 acres and 17 stables, but it wasn’t live-able so I had to work solidly last year to get it up to scratch for us to live in. We had to move straight into it because we sold the old house so I just worked every day to make sure we could live in it, my days off last year were riding Speedway! I’m finishing off the bathroom at the moment but once that’s done I’m downing tools for the season and I’ll start again when it’s over. It’s probably two years away from being totally finished, that’s to get to the stage where I can have people over for a barbecue. I like a challenge!

"In the World Championship, it’s all about who has the fastest engine to be honest. We’re all fit, healthy, we all have good teams behind us, nice bikes – it’s about who has the quickest motor and there’s no easy solution to that one."

Do you still have the same excitement before the start of the season as you have always had?

It’s still exciting yeah, but now it’s just waiting really. I was meant to get out and ride last week but the weather was too bad in Poland. I don’t have any equipment in the UK, I do all my testing abroad, so I have to wait for the tracks to thaw out now. I just want to get on with testing now really, I normally test throughout the most of March and then the season starts properly in April but to be honest it’s not really until after the first round of the World Championship that I get into the routine again.

Once I’ve got the first one out the way I feel like I’m into the season properly, I don’t really mind what happens at the first round because the guy who dominates the first round isn’t normally up there at the end so it’s just a case of riding my bike and getting back into the groove of things again.

What do you have to do to make the jump from the top three to being World Champion again?

In the World Championship, it’s all about who has the fastest engine to be honest. We’re all fit, healthy, we all have good teams behind us, nice bikes – it’s about who has the quickest motor and there’s no easy solution to that one. We probably all run the same set-up’s as each other, maybe one or two percent different, so you need to make sure your engine is the quickest.

You’ve basically got to just buy a load of different engines and test, test, test until you find the one. You can buy three identical engines and they’ll all be different so the only way to find the right one is to test them and work with them. In 2015 I started the season okay, then I bought an engine that worked and just went to the next level. It’s the same with Chris Holder in 2012, he had one that he rode everywhere and it worked so well for him, and Doyley (2017 World Champion Jason Doyle) got one last year that was just working so good. Unfortunately Speedway at the top level has become who has the fastest engine, so you’ve got to make sure it’s you.

I have the best team in the World Championship, my mechanics are next level, perfect. My fitness levels are great because I work my ass off, my logistical set-up is perfect – it’s just making sure I’ve got the best engines.

I changed a lot last year because it wasn’t working for me and it went well, but then I got a bit confused because I was riding something different to what I’ve ridden before and I made some mistakes. I’ll be testing all the engines I had last year and then at the end of March we’ll order some more in and work on them. We won’t stop until we find the right thing.

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