GRAJCZONEK: BUSY IS BEST
Josh Grajczonek hopes a busier winter will leave him better prepared for 2019 after admitting he was left playing catch-up this year.
19 / 11 / 2018, 12:56
Aussie racer Josh Grajczonek hopes a busier winter will leave him better prepared for 2019 after admitting he was left playing catch-up this year.
The Poole Pirates skipper lifted the SGB Premiership trophy after overcoming a tough opening few months while he waited for his Polish First Division club Lodz’s new stadium to be finished.
With Grajczonek now racing on a Polish licence, he was unable to double up in the Championship.
Once I’m home, I need to keep riding, stay on the bike and be bike-fit. That was the biggest thing that let me down this year. When you’ve had three or four months off, you need to start all over again basically.
But the Aussie international’s form came good in the UK as Pirates stuck with him and his fixture list picked up in Poland.
Grajczonek admits being busy with Lodz and in Britain was a real help. He said “I practised out at Lodz every Thursday and Friday and then stayed there all weekend for the meeting on Sunday. Once I started doing that, that’s when it started picking up. When you get on a bike after riding three or four days in a row, you just don’t think about it. You get on it and ride it.
“But if you get on it after two weeks off, you think ‘maybe I should start with this; maybe I should start with that.’ You start second-guessing stuff.
“We had two weeks off between Poole’s play-off semis and I got offered a guest booking at Swindon. I said ‘yep, no worries.’ I needed to ride. Then I got an individual at Berwick.
“I don’t care about driving four and a half hours on a Saturday even though I had a meeting at Poole on the Monday. I needed to ride just to get to the tapes and get the gating gloves on.
“Once you start having two weeks off, that’s when you start thinking. You need to be on the bike. Once I was on the bike more, that’s when it started working for me.”
Grajczonek is keen to continue racing during the European off-season as the Aussie summer hots up.
He said: “I’m going to go back home and ride a lot more. Obviously I did a lot of meetings last year and I was pretty tired at the end of it. I just wanted a break. I probably had too long off the bike, though. I rode maybe four or five times.
“I think I need to keep going. Once I’m home, I need to keep riding, stay on the bike and be bike-fit. That was the biggest thing that let me down this year. When you’ve had three or four months off, you need to start all over again basically. So I’m going to try and do a few meetings back home.”
Despite his desire to race, Grajczonek admits he won’t be taking part in the Australian Championship series in January.
The Queensland-based racer, whose nearest national-title track Kurri Kurri is nearly 2,000km away, explained: “It’s very far for me to do the Aussies, so I’m not going to do them.
“It costs a lot of money and I’m home for a short amount of time, so I don’t want to be home away from my family for two or three weeks at a time. It cuts into the two and a half or three months you’re home.
“I’m fortunate enough that I’ve got some tracks within 40 minutes of me – Woodstock at Townsville and Pioneer Park in Ayr. That’s a phenomenal stadium now. The guy sold it and it got liquidated. But he bought it back off the bank and is putting a lot of money into it. He had his first meeting there recently and got 4,500-6,000 people.
“That goes to show the boys are keen to ride back home and I’ve had a few people ask me about where to get engines and who’s selling them. I think that’s good for us up north. We haven’t had that in the last few years.
“It’s not saying we’re forgotten, but a lot of the racing is down south. That’s where all the boys are based. For me, Nick Morris and Jake Allen, who are based in Queensland, it’s a long way for us to go and a lot of driving.
“It’s 30 hours for us to drive to the first round in Adelaide. Kurri Kurri is still 25 hours. It’s a lot of driving and stress.”
Grajczonek admits his last Aussie Championship experience didn’t end well. He said: “The last time we did it, I hit a massive pig on the way home and wrote my mate’s van off.
“I had to sit in a one-hotel town with one pub and one petrol station for 16 hours and wait for another mate to drive down with a car trailer to tow us home. I also got taken out in the first race, first heat. I got knocked out and thought ‘that’s enough. I’m not doing it.’”