PERHAPS the best way to move past the trauma of a high-speed crash is to ensure it’s so bad, you don’t remember any of it.

It may not have been Ulrich Ostergaard’s intention, but the fact he cannot recall even a second of the serious crash he was involved in last year that saw him suffer a broken wrist and a severe back injury and put him out for the majority of the season has ensured he goes into this season with not even a hint of hesitation or apprehension.

The Dane is more eager than most to get the new speedway season started.

This evening, Glasgow Tigers will begin their British Speedway Championship campaign with a home fixture against Newcastle Diamonds and Ostergaard admits that having been out of competitive action since last July, he is champing at the bit to get going.

“I’ve had quite a few accidents over the years and I’ve only ever had one that got in my head for a couple of months. Every other time, including this time, I’ve got straight back on the bike, or as soon as I was able to after regaining my fitness anyway,” the 40-year-old says.

“The secret is not to delay it; and the good thing about this most recent crash is I don’t remember a thing about it so that’s probably helpful.

“I’m feeling good and there’s no pain in my back.

“I’m looking forward to the season – it’s another big one for the Tigers.”
Ostergaard has been appointed captain of the seven-rider team for this season which does, he admits, put that little bit extra pressure on his shoulders.

He will be charged with getting the best out of his riders, which include Tom Brennan, who was part of the GB team that became world champions last year and the team’s number one rider, Craig Cook, who is known to be one of the very best riders in the league.

Tigers have made it to the play-offs on every occasion in the past seven years but have never managed to find that magic ingredient to ensure they emerge as league champions.

This season, Ostergaard believes his team have the perfect mix of youth and experience and there is little doubt in the Dane’s mind what the target is.

“We were runners-up last season so we definitely want to see if we can go one step further this year,” he says.

“We want to end up first rather than second.

“There’s so many factors that need to come together to win in speedway. Last year, we were doing really well but then I got injured and it was hard to find a replacement.

“And there’s so many teams so close together – last season, it came down to only a few points so there’s never one thing that decides who ends up on top.

“Of course, you need the right mentality and we’re going in feeling very positive and we’ll try to keep our momentum from last season going.”

That Ostergaard has made a career in speedway at all is down to a touch of fate.

With no family interest in motorsport, it was pure luck that at the age of 11, he saw an advert in his local newspaper in Odense, Denmark for a come-and-try session at the nearby speedway track.

From that day, Ostergaard’s future was set and he is now in twentieth season racing in the UK.

His most notable successes include a UK league title in 2006 with Peterborough Panthers, who he will ride in the Premiership for this season, as well as Four-Team Championships in 2017 and 2018 and a KO Cup, also with Peterborough, in 2017.

There had been discussions of a move to Glasgow for quite some time but it wasn’t until 2021 that a deal with Tigers was finally struck.

As one of the oldest racers in the league, it would be easy to assume Ostergaard’s best is behind him but he has, he reveals, more motivation than ever to show he still has what it takes to succeed.

“Proving I still have what it takes does motivate me quite lot,” he says.

“I’ll look at the young guys and think I know I’m a lot older than you but I can still do a job and I’m not going to just let them beat me.

“I’ve still got the hunger too.

“And when you’re supported by such a good team like we have at Tigers, it makes it very enjoyable.

“I love it here, the track is one of the best race tracks around and this is the kind of club you really want to be a part of. I was only here for about three months last season before I got injured but I really enjoyed those three months and so I want to take that into this season.”