Newcastle Diamonds should win the league, says Ludovic Lindgren

His criticism of Newcastle Diamonds' promoters show Ludovic Lindgren is not one to pull his punches, and he insists they should win the Premier League

Newcastle Diamonds' Ludwig Lindgren adjusts his bike
Newcastle Diamonds' Ludwig Lindgren adjusts his bike

English may not be Ludvig Lindgren’s first language, but Newcastle Diamonds’ No.1 rider leaves you in no doubt as to what he is thinking.

When your job is riding around a dirt track on a motorbike with one gear and no brakes, there is little scope for beating about the bush.

The Diamonds, the Swedish speedway star claims, should win this season’s Premier League and although Workington Comets will be one of their main rivals, this weekend’s season-opener will have little bearing on that.

On and off the field, the 33-year-old believes the Diamonds ought to do better.

“I expect us to win the league,” he says, matter-of-factly. “There’s nothing else I personally want to win more. I’ve been here since 2012 and we’ve come close to winning the league without doing it. The whole team want to do that and we’re strong enough to do that. We have a solid team from one to seven.” Newcastle’s season starts in Cumbria tomorrow with the first leg of the Ian Thomas Shield. The return is at Brough Park 24 hours later. It is a chance to get the measure of one of the league’s strongest sides, but no more.

“Workington look quite strong but they think they’re better than they are,” says Lindgren. “I think they’ll believe they’ve won the meeting beforehand so we can maybe catch them out.

“Peterborough are another team to look out for but overall it’s quite a solid league. There’s some special home tracks and some good riders. It’s a lot harder and a lot better racing than many people think. The standard of Premier League racing is almost a high as the Elite League.

“To be a reserve in the Elite League is almost the same as being in the Premier League. It’s definitely a high-class league. It (this weekend’s tie) doesn’t mean anything, really. What it does mean is we get back into competitive speedway. It’s good to get back the feel of starting alongside three other riders.”

Lindgren (pictured below) was speaking at a media day to launch the 2014-15 season. Pushing the sport is something else he feels strongly about.

“I think it’s up to the promoters,” he said. “I call myself a speedway rider because I ride speedway but they call themselves promoters and I don’t think they promote enough. I’m not saying they’re doing a bad job or anything. I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t be the right man.

“But people don’t have enough knowledge of the team. The neighbours know we’re here but that’s about it. If you go into town and ask people if they know about the speedway, they don’t. If they could do a bit more promotion – I don’t know 100% how it is but all over the world more needs to be done. It’s a family-friendly sport.

“I try to do everything I can. If I’m free I go into the schools. When I sign a contract with a club they can ask me to do much more because I want to promote the sport. You can always promote it more, just like I can always ride better.”

Lindgren claims, “I don’t pretend to have the answers,” but he seems to have a few.

“They have to do it professionally,” he says. “You can’t break for an hour because if you have small kids they can’t stay up too late. I’m not saying they need to move them forward, but they maybe need to shorten the meets for the fans because it’s an entertainment for them.

“The riders need to know that as well. A lot of them think more about themselves than the fans but they’re going to get more sponsors if they put on more of a show.

“We need tracks which give less home advantage and more entertainment.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer