WOFFINDEN: NEW ERA, SAME DREAM

PAUL BURBIDGE

Triple Speedway GP world champion Tai Woffinden has Tony Rickardsson and Ivan Mauger’s record haul of six world titles in his sights as he races into a new era of speedway in Croatia this Saturday.

The new era of Speedway GP begins in Croatia, and since the series last visited the country 10 years ago in 2012, Woffinden has racked up three world titles to become Great Britain’s most successful speedway rider.

After winning his first title in 2013, he sat around a table with fellow champions Greg Hancock, Jason Crump, Nicki Pedersen and Chris Holder ahead of the 2014 FIM New Zealand Speedway GP in Auckland, and revealed that he harboured ambitions of chasing down Rickardsson and Mauger’s joint-record haul of six world championships.

Eight years may have passed since then, but Woffinden insists those ambitions still burn bright. He said: “Look at it from my point of view. At that point, I had won my first – where do I go next? What motivates me to be successful? When I have won everything there is to win, where do you set that boundary?

“Whether I achieve it or not is a different story. But I don’t mind saying it because I believe in my ability and I know what I can do. Probably 80 percent of people in the world don’t have my mindset. They won’t be able to fathom how I can say that. It’s hard to explain.”

Speedway GP ambassador Rickardsson knows all about becoming a serial winner, having matched six-time World Final winner Ivan Mauger’s title record in 2005. Now Woffinden would love to follow in his tyre treads.

He said: “He probably has a very similar mentality to me. Tony is probably the one I would look at to gauge myself against because Ivan Mauger raced a long time ago. Ivan didn’t win his first world title until he was 28. I know it was quite late on. By that point, I had already got three in the bag.

“I remember when I said that I wanted to be the greatest of all time, people gave me so much stick for it, especially in Poland.

“But those people giving me stick are probably happy living where they live and working 9-5. They probably haven’t got the motivation to do anything.

“I always strive to be the best and I don’t mind saying it. I don’t care what people think.

“I still enjoy riding my bike. I love every single aspect of it. I am looking forward to seeing what I can achieve.”

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