• Talk Speedway

Palovaara Looking Forward To A Big Year

By Graham Muncie @therealmuncie

While all eyes in World Speedway have been on Poland so far this year as they continue their league seasons somewhat unabated by the effects of the COVID -19 outbreak there will be more for fans to enjoy as the Swedish Elitserien roars into action next week (Tuesday 11th August). One man who is desperate to get back up and running is well known on UK shores especially to fans of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle, Victor Palovaara.

Palovaara like most riders was put in the unenviable position of needing to decide whether just to write off 2020 as far as race action was concerned but the Karlstad born racer says that never crossed his mind, “I’ve been focusing on riding all along, I never had any doubt that as soon as the chance came to race that is what I would do. I have been working but only for a few days.

"I had sorted out a job for after the speedway season so when everything was cancelled I phoned them and said I could start early as they has asked me to start in the spring but I said I couldn’t do that. Then when we were all set to head to Poland to practice we found out the season wouldn’t be starting so I called them to see if I could start as I needed to earn some money but all of their work was cancelled as well so there has only been a little bit. So I am really happy the league is about to start and it will be really good to get going.”

Palovaara has been readying himself for the league campaign to start with numerous practice sessions and was a participant in the recent Swedish final won by Jacob Thorssell. For Palovaara if you will forgive the football analogy it was definitely a game of two halves as he tallied 3 last places before turning his night around with 5 points from his last two races albeit this coming to late to bother the top end of the standings. The former Glasgow man laying the blame for this solely at his own feet “I wanted to start the season really good, over the winter I did more work than I have ever done before on my fitness and also the mental side of things and I went into the meeting thinking I could win it, that was my aim. I think I put to much pressure on myself and reacted the wrong way.

"I tensed up and did not ride properly. My first race I locked up then I had 2 more bad races, the problem was not my bike or the track or anything it was me. I sorted myself out and finished well so I am happy with that at least.”

For a rider who has normally been busy each summer travelling all over Europe to meetings the lack of action will come as a big difference but this is something that Palovaara already had in mind as he looked to move his career forward this year. “My plan for this year was just to do Sweden anyway, I had turned down a couple of offers in the UK as my plan was to concentrate on doing well in Sweden and then try and get a team in Poland.

"I had also planned to do the European Championship qualifiers but of course they were cancelled. It will be different as it is only the top league. The restrictions mean we are only allowed 50 fans or something in although some clubs can get more in as they have turned their VIP areas into restaurants which means you can have more people in there as long as they are distanced. The facilities aren’t there to do that in the Allsvenkan league (Sweden’s second tier) so that means they can’t run as they can’t afford no fans.”

While we won’t see the likeable Swede on these shores this year Palovaara is happy that there is the opportunity for fans to see the Swedish action on TV saying “I have a lot of friends in the UK and hopefully they will watch it on TV, Swedish speedway has maybe been on the way down the last few years so hopefully it will give it a boost and then we can get back to normal next year and I’ll get back to the UK to see people.”

Photo: The late great Ron MacNeil