David Bellego is the first Frenchman in TAURON SEC series. Even though he made a promising start, Bellego had some bad luck as he wasn't able to show his full potential due to an injury. In the last round of the Euro Championship, it can be hard for him to compete with this thought that chances to improve and move up in the general classification are small, but on the other hand he will have a chance to draw an attention of organizers and confirm that his place is among the Europe's top.
When we think about France, we get a lot of associations, including sport ones, but it's actually hard to find a person that would relate France with speedway. It's still quite an exotic area for this discipline, however it can be found in some places. One must remember that France has its own league running in time when Poland is usually covered in snow during winter. Plus, French riders tend to present themselves quite well in the Speedway of Nations series. Even though you can count speedway venues in France on one hand, there are still boys, who think of professional careers and these typical speedway countries are seen as a chance to develop. One of these boys is David Bellego. Where this love for speedway came from?
- When I was younger, I would race on motocross. It lasted more or less until I turned 14. My dad built me a track to practice. Surface was quite similar to the one used in grasstrack racing. In France, it's way more popular than speedway, but my dad has always been passionate about these two disciplines. I liked this form of rivalry and once I had noticed that I'd been doing pretty well, I decided to become a speedway rider. It's definitely a more professional sport and I was all about moving forward. That's how it all started. Then, I went to England to improve. I got to Glasgow, started working really hard to become the best I could ever be - Bellego says.
A rider, who's willing to race speedway professionally and dreams of competing with the world's top, and on the other hand - comes from a country, where it's not so popular, faces a huge challenge. It's not easy to imagine a scale of this project. These kind of riders usually draw attention of speedway community, because they give hope to spread geography of this sport. There's one condition, though. They have to show their talent and prove their aspirations walk along with solid skills. It takes willingness and engagement too. It's not a secret that process of learning speedway is a long and bumpy road, hiding lots of obstacles, not guaranteeing a happy ending of reaching the desired goal.
- It's hard to find good sponsors and gather right people around you. I cannnot blame anyone, though, because I was aware of how this may look like, but it didn't discourage me at all. I am proud of being French. I make my own way and work hard to get it better. Speedway is not an easy sport. People may think that you just make four laps and that's it, but it's not that easy as it looks. Things get complicated when you treat it seriously and have a strong will to develop. Then you start against way better riders, so this difficulty level automatically rises - Frenchman explains.
On a daily basis, in the Polish league - treated as the world's strongest one, David Bellego represent 3rd division team from Poznań, however it does not get him away from becoming a better rider. When he's under the tape with much more experienced riders, he's capable of having an equal fight or even defeating them. He has proved it in meetings like this year's SEC Challenge in Nagyhalasz, where he ended as second and got a direct promotion to the SEC series. He lost only with undefeatable on that day - Grigorii Laguta, leaving behind such experienced riders like Vaclav Milik, Michael Jepsen Jensen, Kacper Woryna, Adrian Miedziński or Andzejs Lebedevs. One can ask when in fact Frenchman felt that he's ready to compete with the world's top riders?
- It's really hard to say. In the beginning I was facing many obstacles. I didn't have enough money or a right staff around. I knew that you need to have as good equipment as you can find, to mean anything in this sport. Throughout recent years, I've been trying my best, investing a lot, making step by step and it paid off. Now wherever I appear, I'm really fast. I know what I'm capable of. In my opinion, key to success in today's speedway is in good starts. If you're not able to start well, it will be harder to keep on moving to the top. I hope my progress will be still visible.
David Bellego's idol is Leigh Adams - when he speaks about him, a smile quickly occurs and a spark in his eyes.
It looks like in his head, he's all about admiring Adams's talent and skills - Australian who never became the world champion, but is remembered as mister of speedway elegance, commited to the club's identity. So it's not a shock that someone like Adams is a perfect role model for a rider slowly opening big-time speedway gates. It's not easy for Bellego to tell what's the thing that impresses him the most when it comes to Australian rider. Definitely it would be his style of racing and red colour covering his tracksuit and bike. Now we know where so many red elements in Bellego's pits came from. Staring in Euro Championship lets Bellego meet other top riders as well. Does he look at them to copy some ideas or rather he's all about himself?
- I think that it's worth listening to the others, but in the same time, you need to be a good rider in your team. You can listen with one ear, but still you need your own mind. If you use any tips, you must know whether these solutions are right for you or maybe they should be modified. It's all a matter of learning, gathering experience. Of course you can learn from what you hear, but speedway is a very personal sport. You need to know what is best for you, because things that are working in your equipment, doesn't necessarily need to work with others' - Bellego says.
Rivalry in the Euro Championship let David Bellego visit beautiful and modern speedway venues, which are hard to find in France. This year, he had a chance to start at Motoarena, which was built only ten years ago and he was truly stunned. Therefore, visiting Śląski Stadium in Chorzów, can be even bigger experience. Frenchman will get a chance to start on a one-day track, which can be another big challenge for him. Does he have an idea how to get prepared to it?
- Not so much, actually. I haven't wondered it yet. We will have few practices and I hope it will get me feel more confident. Having good starts is crucial. It really means a lot to be part of the Euro Championship. It was one of my goals for this season, so I will do my best to race well.
Bellego can regret that this year's starts in TAURON SEC were limited due do an injury. If it wasn't for it, he could've had at least twice more heats and most importantly - more points in the overall classification. First round in Guestrow showed that Bellego can be a candidate to make a big surprise. Even though he was slightly late with starts, he was fighting hard on the distance and was able to overtake his rivals. Ultimately, he gathered eight points and got classified on ninth position. Surely, it could've been more, but quite a controversial exclusion in his last heat got him rid of a spot in the race-off heat and a chance to go through to the final heat of the night.
In the next rounds, he wasn't able to appease his appetite. Drama started in Toruń, during the second round of the series. Frenchman was getting things going step by step - in his first heat he was third, but after that he got his premiere heat win. In the third series of starts, however, he had a tumble, in which his collarbone got broken and made Bellego withdraw from this rivalry. Injury was serious enough to prevent him from starting in the third round of TAURON SEC in Vojens, taken two weeks later.
Right now, Bellego is classified on thirteenth position overall. Practically, he lost a chance to secure a spot for the next season, missing 17 points to the fifth position. However, he's far from underestimating his performance at Śląski Stadium, because it will be another chance to shine in such an international line up. There is no doubt that Frenchman wanted to have this start in Euro Championship as a big step towards an international career, but circumstances forced him to be a little more patient. Future is bright, though and Bellego is aware of being French rider, who's gone farthest, so he would like co contribute to developing speedway in his home country.
- There has never been any French rider at this level. I would like to encourage younger boys and I truly believe that in the future, more French riders will appear. Now they can watch and take example from my story. I got some great mechanics - together we work hard. It's also good to have Tomasz Bajerski nearby. It was a great idea to use his support. I'm really happy with him racing on every meeting with me, he's got a huge knowledge on this sport. I think that we have a really good team.