Slovak star Martin Vaculik is pleased to have put his shoulder problems behind him after being forced out of last year’s FIM Speedway Grand Prix finale in Torun.

Vaculik suffered a broken collarbone and shoulder blade when he crashed at round six in Lublin on August 7 – forcing him out of the following two rounds in Malilla and Togliatti.

His season then ended prematurely when he damaged his other shoulder in a clash with Anders Thomsen at round 10 in Torun on October 1.

Despite staying on the bike, the impact forced Vaculik to withdraw from the rest of the double-header, with series reserve Jaimon Lidsey replacing him for round 11 the next day.

While the incident didn’t result in a crash, Vaculik says he later discovered that he made the right call in ending his weekend early.

He said: “Never in my life have I had a problem with my shoulders – I had never dislocated it or torn any ligaments.

“But when Anders hit me, I felt my shoulder go out and go back in a second.

“At that time, I had more to lose than I could gain in continuing to race. If someone had hit me or I crashed, the ligaments and muscles around the shoulder were not 100 percent. There was a big risk that my shoulder would come out completely and that was the problem.

“So I made the decision I didn’t want to risk it and continue to race the next day. At the end of the day, it was the best decision I could make.

“A couple of days after it happened, I had an MRI scan of the shoulder and ligaments, and one of the ligaments was half broken. So thank God I didn’t continue.

“Everything has healed together very well and my shoulder is in the same condition it was before. I am training completely normally for the new season. I do not feel any discomfort. It feels pretty good.”

Vaculik finished 12th in the Speedway GP World Championship with 54 points, meaning he needed a permanent wild card from the SGP Commission to retain his spot in the series.

His hopes of reaching the top six had already been ended by a hard fall in Lublin. “I broke my collarbone in so many places,” Vaculik said.

“I think it was five places or something like that. It was a very big one. When my doctor saw the scans for the first time, he said ‘okay, this will be hard work.’

“That collarbone had also been broken before, so it’s always a little bit complicated to fix. But I had a very good doctor and for him, nothing is impossible. We put it together no problem. I know people who have broken their collarbones five or six times, so this is normal for speedway. But I hope I won’t do it anymore.

“I also broke my shoulder blade in that crash and probably one or more of my ribs. It was pretty big. After a month or so, I came back and slowly, step by step and meeting by meeting, I came back better and better.”

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