King's Lynn Stars skipper shares secrets of life on shale
King’s Lynn Stars skipper Lewis Kerr has shared some of the secrets of life on the road as a speedway rider.
Here, the Lynn News documents a typical away race-day with the Dersingham ace at the recent Peter Craven Memorial meeting.
He said: “It went as normal although I didn’t work that day because I had an 11.30am start. The night before I’d have a carbohydrate meal to load up for the next day, and then have a good breakfast.
“I went to my workshop to do a double-check on my bikes and got on the road. Usually I take plenty of water on board, for hydration. I’ll eat in the van between midday and 1pm. Normally I will get there first, as I was for the British Final.”
Kerr takes us through his pre-meeting routine: “Pretty much I will take headphones but on that day I didn’t have my headphones with me. I have my own routine so things were still as normal in my head.
“I get changed half an hour before we start the meeting and then do my stretches 20 to 30 minutes beforehand in order to get my heart-rate up.”
As a means of entering ‘the zone’ some riders will sit in a corner with no disturbances, but not Kerr.
“No, I’m not silent. I’m happy to talk to anyone,” he remarked. “In my own head I have weird ways of getting into the zone. There are a lot of psychological tricks and things that get me into that bubble.
“I’ve used it a lot more in my meetings this year, for example at Belle Vue. For my headspace, calm would be good and it gets you more relaxed and into a certain feeling.
“I listen to a lot of things, like Anthony Middleton’s (Channel 4 TV series SAS: Who Dares Wins) audiobook about getting into a bubble.
“It sounds really weird but it gets you into that right frame of mind.”
His machine is ready to go, with Kerr adding: “I’ve got good mechanics, so I just sit on the bike and check if all the controls are tight; nothing out of the ordinary.”
Post-meeting goes like this: “The easy thing is riding the bike while travelling is always tiring. As soon as the meeting is done I get some food and sleep. One of the mechanics, who lives in Banbury and we give him a lift, he’ll normally do all the driving.
“Even when I was riding for Glasgow, unless you’ve got Newcastle the next day, we’d go straight home and be back at 4am.”
You will usually find in a typical dressing-room a football player with a pre-match ritual like putting on their right-hand shin pad or boot first. But Kerr is not one for following superstition.
“Some riders put on one sock first but I don’t do anything like that,” the former motocross racer said.
“I just warm up one side of my body first, for example I do the left arm first, then that side of my body; then the other side.”
Superstitions are not a topic for shale sport discussion, it seems.
Kerr, who numbers Lakeside Hammers, Somerset Rebels, Poole Pirates, Ipswich Witches and Newcastle Diamonds among his former clubs and finished his 2020 season with 10 points at the Peter Craven Memorial at Belle Vue, added: “I don’t know if riders really talk about it.
“The bit about putting on the same sock, I’ve heard that before, but I can’t think of any more.”