Gripping Stories Episode 6 - Speedway Races in Sweden

By Fabio Verhelst

Aug 07 2018

An image of narrator Rik van Gerwen learning about Speedway from four-time Speedway World Champion Greg Hancock

On a bike, you don’t just go from A to B. You float from story to story. There are gems to be found in every mile. Every bend. Every smile. With Gripping Stories, we aim to capture these moments and share them with the world.

Speedway is the most extreme form of yoga I’ve ever seen, and it’s very very Swedish.
Rik van Gerwen , Bridgestone motorcycle rider

Sweden is home to amazing forests, countless lakes, pop-up wildlife and incredibly strict speed limits. So, how do motorcyclists get their kicks? Speedway: a motorcycle sport where the bikes have one gear, no brakes and the racer must turn sideways while taking corners.

Rik van Gerwen wants to know what it takes to compete in a “world gone sideways,” and who better to show him the ropes than Greg Hancock, a four-time Speedway World Champion and captain to Team USA. Hancock is a renowned motorcycle racer, in other words, he’s the Valentino Rossi of Speedway racing. He started racing in the U.S. before moving to Europe to launch his career. Although he's enjoyed a long career, his love for Speedway keeps him competing today, often against racers that are half his age.

But with experience comes wisdom and Hancock is generous in sharing his knowledge in the art of drifting. He even trains up-and-coming racers at a local training track, including racer Luke Becker. Although Becker has to sit out due to an injury, van Gerwen is willing to give Speedway a go.

As he prepares for the ride, Hancock explains Speedway is not only challenging because of the way racers handle the bike; it's also the build of the bike that makes them hard to control. Between the bike frame, its tyres and use of methanol, van Gerwen compares riding a Speedway bike to wrestling a little dinosaur. He soon finds the recipe for success is to relax, move your weight and twist that throttle without hesitation.

We get to witness van Gerwen move from shaky turns to expert moves as he makes his way around the track. With every corner, we see billowing dust from his tyres, as he enjoys the slide.