At the end of September, for the second time in a row, speedway is going to visit modernised Śląski Stadium. Legendary "Cauldron of Witches" will once again become the arena of TAURON SEC Final Round. One of the key elements of this event is a well-prepared and safe track, which can provide a top-notch show. Karol Lejman, CEO of One Sport - company responsible for organizing the Euro Championship, gives us an inside look on details of setting a one-day track, reasons of coming back to Chorzów and more.
When was this decision made that in 2019, once again, you're coming to Chorzów?
In fact, it was right after the last year's meeting. We just knew that we have to continue this project. We had made a lot of investments in equipment necessary to organize this type of event, so it would actually be unreasonable, if we decided otherwise. We had known that if last year's event would go well, we will approach to this project in a long-term way and organize events at the Śląski Stadium for a longer period of time. We found out that thanks to our commitment and support of some people it is definitely possible. Talks about this year's meeting didn't take long. We had sealed the deal with stadium's authorities quickly and then we were only waiting for calendar confirmation. It was obvious for us willing to go back here.
This means that Śląski Stadium will be included in your calendar permanently?
Right now, it's hard to tell. We don't look to the future that far. We have to wait and see how things will settle. We're surely coming this year and I hope that once again, it'll be a great success. We strongly believe that we will be able to go on with this project in Chorzów. That's our goal for upcoming years. Śląski Stadium is a great venue for this sport. In the past, many speedway events have been hosted here. Now, we want to bring it back. We care about having this Chorzów round in our calendar for as long as possible.
Is this expansion to the big stadiums a factor of direction of speedway's development?
Definitely, but I wouldn't say it's the only direction of progress. I think that way more important is to spread the geography of this sport. In my opinion, the biggest speedway's sorrow in a global way is limiting to less and less amount of countries. That is something that needs to be worked on. Of course, we have to organize events in places, where speedway gains some big attention, but what we've also been trying to do it to reach places we can help develop and make a step forward.
Is Chorzów one of these?
That's even out of discussion, but I'm also thinking about a great SEC Challenge 2019, held in Nagyhalasz (Hungary). We are very curious about this venue's future, because definitely it has a big potential. We have to say straight away that not always you can guarantee fantastic sport emotions on one-day tracks. It comes from many different factors, but we really care about this meeting and will do everything to make them the best possible. I think that these kind of events are the ones we really need. Thanks to them, we can witness an unique speedway show and present size of this discipline.
Track at the Śląski Stadium will be the same as in the last year?
It will be slightly changed. We are going to spread straights, because we felt last year's were too narrow and didn't give too many options with racing lines. We also plan to lift the corners even more - we know that banking should be bigger, which will make the outside part of the track more accesible to the riders. We hope it will guarantee more fight on the distance and make the whole meeting more interesting.
How do you get down to building a speedway track at the Śląski Stadium?
First thing to do is to secure an athletics track. We have to keep it out of any damage or getting it dirty. At the Narodowy Stadium in Warsaw, basin is made of concrete, and in Chorzów, we step into tartan. This brings a huge risk and is an enormous challenge for us. We hold a huge responsibility. Luckily, last year, we were able to do it without any bigger problems, so we do know how should it look like. After that, we start preparing outside bands, make a curb and put a surface. We're bringing over six thousand tons of material, which needs to be set and equalled properly and then got ready for racing.
Have there been any phones for advices to Ole Olsen, who builds one-day tracks for Grand Prix series?
No, we were doing it on our own. We had a concept, drawn from beginning to an end, so there was no need to contact anyone from the outside. Preparing this track at Śląski Stadium was broken into prime factors. Every step was written down, one by one and thanks to that, we knew what we had to do. We did this homework right and kept the whole process controlled at its every stage. We checked if it was fine and if any problems had occured, we would analyze them together and tried to fight a right solution.
Are you willing to compete with one-day tracks which we watch in the Grand Prix series?
No, absolutely not. Each track has to be most importantly safe and by the way guarantee a good show. It doesn't matter which way you get there. I think they're all similar, because acually not much can change in the preparation process. There's no sense of messing around, because track has to be confirmed and get the license. We definitely don't look at any others. We focus on the fact to make our events an attendance and sport sucess. There's nothing like an arms race or comparing to others. We care about speedway to be developed and attract fans to the stadiums. We look on our shoes only and that's what matters.
Are you also planning to organize events on artificial trakcs in other countries?
It's hard to see it this way. The fact that we have experience and organized a meeting at a one-day track in Chorzów, doesn't mean that now, we can do the same in Sweden, Germany, Great Britain or any other country, and just pick a chosen stadium. It's not that easy, because not everywhere, you have such a big demand on speedway like f.e. in Chorzów. I think that we feel this market quite well and can recognize where this demand appears. Currently, we're not planning to organize events on artificial tracks in other countries, because we know how it looks like. Maybe one day, it will change, so we have to wait what future brings. It's pointless to make such far plans right now.
So you had to have an absolute certainty that it's worth coming to Chorzów.
We were attracted by Śląski Stadium's magic. It's an unique place for Polish speedway, because right here, one of the biggest successes were celebrated, like the first World Champion title reached by Jerzy Szczakiel. I think that still, in this place, there's a speedway heart beating. Last year, we were able to enjoy speedway with 30 thousand fans, which none of the other Polish venues could have provided. We found out that speedway in Chorzów is still really needed and we want to be a part of it as long as it's possible,
What can we wish before this year's event in Chorzów?
Good weather, I guess. We don't need anything else to be happy. In this case, it's probably the only factor, which we cannot fully predict. With all the other things - we're calm. Many can be predicted and get prepared to. We would need a lot of sun, to achieve everything accordingly to our vision and plan. Great final of TAURON Speedway Euro Championship - 28th of September 2019, Śląski Stadium (Chorzów / Poland). Tickets start from 19 PLN and can be purchased via eBilet.pl