Charles Wright Interview
In an interview with Ryan Nassau, conducted before the 2020 season was curtailed, Charles Wright gives us his thoughts on 2019 and the Bears.
Q: When the 2020 season gets underway you will be lining up for your local team the Belle Vue ‘Bikeright Aces’ alongside the Agila Bears, how do you believe that cutting down on the travelling time between tracks will help you take your career to the next level?
A: Obviously it’s massively important for myself, the less travelling I do means I can get more sleep which in turn will give me more energy. Over the course of a season having as much energy as possible is huge as it gives me the opportunity to perform at my best.
Q: Your 2019 season was extremely impressive, Becoming number 1 with your Premiership side, helping the Bears win their first ever silverware, becoming the British champion and riding in front of 50,000 fans at the Cardiff SGP. At Cardiff you gained 5 points from your 5 rides, were you happy with your points total or did you feel you could’ve gained a semi-final spot by picking up a win in one of your last two rides?
A: Obviously gaining 5 points against the top riders in the world was a great effort but the way it was going at the start of the meeting there was no reason why I couldn’t make the semi final. It doesn’t bother me who I’m up against, I just ride my own race. I didn’t let the occasion get the better of me as I just treat it as another meeting. I am proud of scoring 5 points but it was a shame not to get to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, my gating let me down towards the end of the meeting, if you don’t gate against these boys you’ve had it!
Q: As we have already discussed the 2019 season was a landmark one for you in your career but what was THE highlight and why?
A: Obviously winning the British final has to be the highlight but that got me to Cardiff racing my heroes in front of 50,000 people. Riding at Cardiff was a dream come true and nobody can ever take that away from me.
Q: As all Bears fans know you love riding the boards and flying around the outside of your opponents, how did you develop this fearless style?
A: I’ve always been one to give 100% to the finish line and I never quit. Riding the boards came naturally to me, I have quite an aggressive style and it’s a thrill flying around the outside of someone. I love sticking it in the dirt as I’m confident that I’m going to come out the other side in a better position. Having a lot of confidence and natural fitness helps, some riders struggle with confidence and earlier in my career I also struggled for confidence but now I have it in abundance.
Q: At the end of the 2017 season your average was a solid 7.47 and at the end of last season you averaged a massive 9.59, how have you managed to increase your average by more than 2 points and in your three stints as a bear what do you regard as your best performance and why?
A: I was always a 2nd or 3rd heat leader but now I am an out and out number 1. As I’ve already mentioned it’s all about confidence, once you start beating the big names in the big heats your confidence builds. Last year was not just a great one for myself it was a fantastic one for Redcar Speedway, it was a real change and a real buzz around the club. Keeping 5 riders from last season is fantastic, I know everyone and I get on with everyone and that is vital. I’m just desperate to get started and hopefully we can get going soon. My highlight for the Bears has to be winning the cup at Newcastle.
Q: After a long but successful season the Bears finally picked up their first piece of major silverware with a KO cup victory over the Newcastle Diamonds, just how special was it for the Bears to have so many fans in attendance making it like a home meeting?
A: I think we had a bigger crowd than Newcastle, we swamped their stadium and that was massive. When the fans are behind you it gives you that extra 10% and it made a great night even more special.
Q: When the Diamonds levelled it up on aggregate did you have any worries?
A: Yeah, there’s always that worry but the key was Jordan (Stewart) winning that heat 14 which took the pressure slightly off me and Erik (Riss) but we still had to split the Diamonds. Everyone contributed but Jordan’s heat 14 win just released the pressure from everyone’s shoulders
Q: You and Jordan are very close, do you try to guide him and help him improve as a speedway rider?
A: Me and Jordan are really close and he’s my apprentice. He reminds me a lot of myself at his age but it’s just about building that confidence. I try to guide him and get it into his head that he can’t turn up to tracks with the mindset that he doesn’t like the track because if you think like that you aren’t going to perform on the night. I told him before that heat 14 he needed to hit that first corner in the lead and twist that throttle a little more. He came in after that heat and said “it’s quite easy this isn’t it”. We went to Berwick and he got 3 last places and he said “I’ve got gate 1 next and it’s done nothing”. I had a bit of a go at him and I told him if you want to get to that corner first you will, anyway, he made the gate, cleared off and won. At a younger age sometimes you don’t have the confidence but that’s where I am trying to help him. Speedway is partly a mental game and if he has the belief in himself he can really push on and go to the next level.
Q: As we’ve already touched upon you’ve had 3 stints with the Bears spanning 4 seasons so far, what is it about this great club that keeps bringing you back you Teesside?
A: Redcar is like a family club to me. Ben, Jade and Jamie (Duffill, Mudgway and Swales) are fantastic to work with. When you turn up to the stadium everything is always immaculate. The way I’m treated is fantastic and I just cannot see myself riding anywhere else. I’m good friends with Ben and we speak regularly. The fans are great, they support you no matter whether you come first or last and Redcar feels like home to me. I just don’t want to ride anywhere else.