Speedway

Rampant Chris Holder on Speedway and Chicken and chips!

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Its a long way from home for Chris Holder. You could ask yourself what a guy from Appin New South Wales Australia would be thinking by heading overseas to the wet and dreary weather of England and Europe.

For Chris Holder its an easy question to answer; Speedway and having a crack at the big time. To be more precise; Speedway Grand Prix.

With an infectious personality and a hairstyle to rival most A list celebrities Chris Holder is fastly becoming a noticed force in International Speedway.

What makes this story complete for me, is the fact that Chris is a down to earth genuine aussie larrikin that loves life and is getting closer to his A game not by being ruthless, but by enjoying life whilst engaged in a seriously tough sport.

A dominant team member in the UK for Poole Pirates, in Poland for Torun and Lejonen in Sweden, Chris now finds himself in his first year of SGP. Some are saying he has what it takes to go all the way. And if Round FIve in the SGP has shown, he is very close to his first podium win.

What you quickly find when talking to Chris is the ease in which the conversation flows. Happy to talk about his surprise win in his first u21 Australian title and then switch to his pitbike adventures in his mechanics shed to whipping and scrubbing playing Reflex on Xbox!

Speedway, for first time viewer can be chaotic at times, with no brakes, one gear and throttle pinned, it has been called madness, but to me, a motorsport lover, its poetry!

As we found out Chris has a schedule that would wear out the most seasoned traveller let alone an athlete that rides on the fine edge of chaos and glory. We caught up recently with "Chrispy" via Skype to find out who Chris Holder is on and off the bike.

FN: Hey Chris thanks for your today mate.

Chris: Thanks man great to chat with you.

FN: Back home, your from Appin NSW, what was it like to grow up there as a kid?

Chris: Its a great town you know it has a real bush town feel, but 10 minutes from the beach. So yeah, plenty of places to ride bikes and then have a surf. Dads a keen surfer, so when i get home we often head out for a wave.

FN: Were you born with Speedway or motorsport already in the family?

Chris: Yeah dad rode some speedway, motocross and flat track. He had me and Jim (brother James Holder) young so he then concentrated on being a dad from that point and supported us when we started riding. So yeah it was always around. Me and Jim started out sharing our first bike and gradually worked up to having our own. There is also my younger brother Jack who rides speedway and is into bmx. So we [the boys] get into it for sure.

FN: With all your success back home, was it always your goal to head overseas and tackle the big time, and tell us how the opportunity came about?
The results of a big off in round 5 of the SGP
Chris: To be honest, I didn't think I was good enough! I think I woke on the right side of the bed that morning [night of his first U21 final] and by that night had won my first U21 Australian Title. I was shocked and surprised. With that win it made some noise overseas and I was offered a ride but turned it down to keep my apprenticeship going. After winning it the following year the same international offer came up and this time I jumped at it.

FN: Now that you are actually there racing the big names in world speedway, does it feel like a bit of a dream?

Chris: Yeah it does. I started out in premier league in England and then went to Poland in the Elite League so I had a good apprenticeship so to speak in a few countries, different tracks, so it was a great learning curve for me.

I have been riding in England, Poland and Sweden for a few years now. I feel comfortable in the leagues and beating these guys. Speedway Grand Prix is alot more intense.adjusted. Tactics are important from the gate pick through to lines you are looking for as soon as you are on the chalk ready to go.

You are after the best start possible. You will see us kick into the surface and look for the best surface for grip. I can tell just by the look of the ground whether its the spot to be for maximum traction off the line.

Its nothing for you to be travelling every second day or so between countries racing, your diary must be a sea of black ink tell us a bit about your commitments between your teams and how much its costing you to fund all the pens you need for writing in dates (ha ha)

Lets just say i have a heap of pens from hotels! So I'm sweet with the pens! Seriously though, we could be riding on any given week 5 out of 7 days, the schedule is hectic sometimes for sure.

FN: Do you have a manager in the UK and Europe that manages things for you, or are you a one man brand?

Chris: Its pretty much all me mate. I have some great people helping out though. Basically I ride for 3 teams so its 3 separate contracts, various sponsors on each set team so its full on. I have 3 mechanics working with me, one in england, two in Poland. Poland is my base really with a workshop and track all together in the one location. It works out well for me there.

FN: Im sure theres a host of young kids watching you and coming up in the sport right now here in Australia and overseas, whats your advice as a pro rider to these young guys and girls aiming to follow in your footsteps?

Chris: If you want to come over and race here, the most important thing is to come to watch first. Start at the bottom and work up. Get your skills up before coming over. Its a massive step up from the events in Australia. I didn't jump straight to the top class right off the plane. I rode different classes in a few countries and got experience and worked up from there. And just as important have a great attitude, no one will be interested in working with you if you are up yourself and carry on.

FN: Known as a larrikin at times (your facebook comments can attest to this) when do you draw the line and switch into race mode? Can you give us an 'insiders look' at what your thought processes are?

Chris: Yeah I'm pretty cruisy really up until the 2 min siren! [laughs] Basically when I hit the track. The more fun I have the better things go for me. I'm not talking being over the top or partying. For me its important to have a life, have fun with mates, thats just how it works for me.

FN: You made note in an interview recently that you are loving the SGP. You mentioned how there is a lot more pressure there. Whats the main difference with SGP compared to other events?

Chris: You race a lot of the same the guys in local leagues. The main difference is there is a bigger picture to think about. We all race hard in the leagues but we know theres a grand prix down the road! So, theres a certain level you stay at without going too far. Because the SGP is the main goal for us.

FN: What sort of training regime/s are involved in Speedway riding?

Chris: I keep as fit as I can. For me, its important to have fun. I don't go out and get on it, its not like that but you have to eat well as a start and if there is an area I'm lacking or feel I need improvement on, I will be the first guy to work hard and rectify the problem.

FN: On your days off whats Chris Holder get up to? Ive seen a couple of indoor and outdoor pit bike vid clips?

Chris: Theres not many days off haha. When there is one, its pitbikes, surfing where possible, bit of Xbox and catching up with mates.

FN: Whats this I hear about Chicken and Chips, fave meal?

Chris: Mate in Poland I have a fave restaurant and the lady there has got it dialled when it comes to her chicken and chips! [laughs]

FN: When your kicking back with your feet up whats playing on the ipod, playstation or Xbox?

Chris: Ipod: Like the dance stuff if I'm in a party kinda mood, otherwise its pennywise and grinspoon. Reflex is awesome, Guitar Hero too. I go off on the drums on Guitar Hero [haha]

FN:You had a big off in round 5 of the SGP im sure you have been asked many times on how you are going with the injury but for the folks our here in Australia, hows it all progressing, not as bad as first thought?

Chris: Yeah its going well not broken which was great news. Theres a nice fluid build up and its black and blue and every colour in between! Its not going to hold me back.

FN: You have a bunch of sponsors on board, give em a shout out?

Chris: Rampant Clothing, Unifilter and Castrol Australia thanks to all those guys for the support its awesome.

FN: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today mate. We are looking forward to seeing you mix it with the worlds best at the next round of the SGP! Tear it up!

Chris: Yeah no worries i will get amongst em for sure, Thanks.

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