Personal trainer, Papa Luckman, is the first trainer in the UK to provide sports specific training for Speedway racers.
The adrenaline pumping sport means the riders have to be in top physical and mental shape in order to navigate the course and control their bikes.
Papa Luckman, 46, has developed what he believes is the first free fitness programme with specific sessions aimed to get the heart rate at the same rate as it would be when riding, His training helps the body cope with the physical demands through developing lean muscle mass to increase physical strength needed. Sports Specific Training also develops mental strength to cope with the stress of riding at 70mph with no brakes. It also helps the body cope better with crashes and injury recovery.
He said, “ I analysed the demands placed on a Speedway rider and design Sports Specific training session to simulate a typical race meeting. If you want to be a sprinter you train to run fast, if you want to improve your performance on a Speedway bike you train for 4-5 one minute races in the right Heart Rate Zones. A speedway race starts with a 2-minute time allowance siren for riders to be up at the starting line. A rides heart rate will increase. To simulate this, I get riders to perform various exercise to raise the heart rate. The race then starts and rider perform high intensity exercises to get their heart rates to their max. At the end of a race, riders return to the pits, so to calm everything down low intensity exercises are completed to recover.
Unlike other motorcycle sports, Speedway bikes have NO BRAKES with 4 riders racing around an oval dirt track at speeds of up to 70mph in one minute. Speedway bikes are powered by a 500cc engines that runs off methanol. The art of Speedway is to powerslide around the bends going anti clockwise around the track, only turning left. Bikes accelerate of the start line faster than a Formula 1 car…….it is a dangerous adrenaline filled sport in which he says, "the only skill you need is to be able to twist the throttle and a big set of……"
He first became involved with the sport when he was 11 years old, my dad took him to a World Semi Final at Odsal Stadium, home of Bradford Dukes. He said, "I asked my dad if it was dangerous and he said that it can be. On the first race and all four riders crashed into the first end. In those days there was no safety air fences……I have loved the sport ever since. It is a fantastic vehicle to develop interpersonal skills no matter what the sport it. Speedway is a tough and dangerous sport so riding a bike with no brakes gives you that extra edge.".
When he was 15 years he contacted Newcastle Diamonds to ask for a trail, he didn’t have a bike so he didn’t get a trail. But he attended a few Speedway schools in his '20’s and bought his first bike to take part in amateur meetings.
He said, "I got my first opportunity to ride for the Isle of Wight Wizards in the Southern Development League. I am also part of Connor Kings and Cooper Rushden’s Team spanning for them at race meetings. My 11-year-old boy, Charlie attended Barry Bishops My First Skid sessions starting on an electric bike when he was 4. He is now riding a 150cc and racing in the Dirt Track Events Series with ambitions to race with the British Youth riders next year. He has had massive confidence issues with his starts but since he attended a British Youth Training Academy in February 2022, he has come on leaps and bounds and was awarded most improved rider of the day"
At the start of the pandemic I started doing free online fitness train for work colleagues and friends on Zoom which is now formally known as Papa Luckman Fitness. I saw a social media post for a young rider called Cooper Rushen preparing for the season. I offered to do 1 on1 training with him to develop his fitness and develop his strength for his riding.
After running through a few sessions with Cooper he invited 15 of his fellow British Youth Riders to the sessions every Saturday morning and we continued with the sessions for 8 weeks. In 2022 I set up a 3 month Pre Season Speedway Sports Specific Training Programme to really put the riders through their paces. In February 2022 I was invited to a British Youth Training Academy where I took 25 British Youth Riders through a session to get them warmed up for a day of practise"
His ambition is to train some of the top riders in the UK Leagues and then his sessions to Poland where Speedway is their national sport. In addition, he has launched his first global fitness bootcamps, with the first one taking place in September in Cyprus.
He said, “Sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and go somewhere entirely different so you can focus on the task in hand. My bootcamps enable you to do just that, giving yourself breathing space from your usual routine to concentrate on yourself. I will improve your mind set, body and soul over the four days, showing you how to break bad habits and create a new, healthier lifestyle so you can start living the life you love."
JAMES LUCKM AN