22 września 2021

Unfortunately National Development League is not very popular in the Polish media. In my opinion it is a big mistake. There is no shortage of exciting meetings and interesting characters in British third tier. Today we will get to know one of them better. Introducing Greg Blair.

The Scottish rider made his league debut in 2006, when he joined the Cleveland Bays team. At that time he was just 15 years old. The team from Middlesbrough competed in the Conference Shield, and he was racing alongside such riders as Jack Hargreaves. Greg Blair was quickly becoming the star of the team and his average was steadily increasing. It seemed that sooner or later he would be promoted to the Redcar Bears team. Unfortunately, on August 2, 2007, rider from Jedburgh was involved in a horrible crash. His motorcycle clung to his rival’s machine, and the rider flew over the fence. A serious injury brought his amazing season to an end.

Unfortunately, it was not the only injury in his career. In the following seasons, Greg Blair had to resign from many matches due to injuries. Probably many speedway riders would think that further starts are pointless after so many injuries, but the rider from Scotland always came back and left his heart on the track. Great performances in the third tier, allowed him to move up to Premier League. In 2009, he has joined Berwick Bandits team.

At the end of the 2011 season, however, Greg Blair made the decision to retire. It happened a few weeks after another crash in a National League match, against Stoke Potters. In an interview with Speedway Star, the Scot explained that after retiring from speedway he worked as a dry stone wall builder, and as a farmer. He is currently working in one of the largest UK’s independent tyre company.

In 2020, however, the Scottish speedway rider returned to the track and quickly decided that he wanted to return to league racing. At the end of February 2021, it was announced that Greg Blair was signed by the newly formed Berwick Bullets team, which joined the National Development League. Scottish speedway rider found himself in one team with riders such as Leon Flint and Kyle Bickley.

After a rather long introduction, let’s give the floor to our hero. How would you introduce yourself to Polish fans? – I would like to say to people who don’t know me, to have a look on my Instagram! I am a very outgoing person and I enjoy a good laugh. I don’t take life too serious. I am a speedway rider but at the same time I am a massive fan of speedway. I spend most of the nights watching old meetings on YouTube. I search for tips that can help my racing, but I also do it for my own entertainment. I have been involved in the sport since before I can remember so… yeah it’s my life and my passion!

As we have already mentioned, the Jedburgh speedway rider returns to the league racing in the new team – Berwick Bullets. Thus, the Scottish speedway rider will compete at Shielfield Park again, this time in the National Development League. How does it feel to be back on track after such a long break? – I was overjoyed to make a return to league racing again. Coming back in 2020 after nine years out, was a massive gamble for me. I had no idea if I was going to be able to ride the bike or not. Berwick joining the National League in 2021 was a massive stroke of luck for me. The track is only 40 minutes away from my home, so everything so far has fallen into place for me!

First two matches in the National Development League are already behind us. The team from Shielfield Park recorded one victory and one loss against Armadale Devils, and our guest scored 8 and 6 points, respectively. What did he feel before the start? Were there any stressful moments? – I cope with my nerves okay. To some people it may look slightly unprofessional, but I will just chat away with anyone, like someone from track staff or the medical personel. A simple chat about nonsense keeps me from overthinking things.

Speedway is a sport that is constantly evolving. Technical innovations as well as regulatory changes make the speedway sound and look different in comparison to a few years ago. What has changed over the last few years in opinion of Greg Blair? – Speedway has changed a fair bit, whether we talk about the bikes or the amount of training we need to do now. It is good to see these young lads in my team working so hard on their machines and their bodies to become the very best. I take my hat off to them! I have a very physical job and I have always kept myself quite fit, so it is more about being bike fit for myself. I am not saying that I don’t do any training at all, but with the work that I do, I don’t have to use the gym as much as the others!

What are the goals of the Berwick Bullets rider for the following months? – The only real goal, that I have set for this season, is to enjoy myself. I am not at the age where I will say that I want to become a British or World Champion. I want to race my bikes, entertain the fans and have fun. Sometimes setting a goal is working well for a person but if you don’t reach it, then you can put yourself down. To be honest I don’t want to put myself under pressure. I am here to have fun and I will stop riding when I will feel that it is not fun anymore.

Berwick Bullets team is making its debut in the National Development League. The team from Shielfield Park has assembled an interesting line-up that could become a force to be reckoned with. How does Greg Blair rate his team? – I think that the Bullets are ones to watch. There are a few riders that are already doing better than expected, and our team spirit is brilliant. Everyone gets on really well, and we can all have a laugh together. The management is really good. Those guys really know how to keep it positive, motivate us and keep us smiling at the same time. Nobody is alone in the team and when you have that kind of vibe – you win races. To sum up I do think we could go all the way this year and I am excited to see what will happen! I am very competitive so I want to win!

At the end of our interview, Greg Blair didn’t forget about his fans and sponsors. – I am thankful to all my sponsors and supporters. Without them all of this wouldn’t be possible.

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