‘How are you?’ One of our most-used phrases can actually be such an annoying question when asked all the time, especially when you know you’re absolutely fine.
Lewis Kerr has a spring in his step and a smile on his face, so the answer should be obvious. The King’s Lynn Stars rider is back racing after a second career-threatening crash in three years but being pigeon-holed as a comeback king is not a role he relishes.
Granted, given the scale of his injuries it is difficult for people to forget. In 2015 he was left in a coma with a bleed on his brain after an accident chasing the dream he has pursued from the age of 11.
Many would have said enough is enough, but not the Poultec Stars’ hometown hero.
Lady Luck deserted him again last season as Kerr got forced wide and flew feet first into a crash, shattering several bones in both legs.
Despite being confined to a wheelchair, he could not stay away and was a regular presence around the pits as the club pushed for honours.
Now he is back to try to get that quest for silverware over the line and is adamant he does so without any hangover.
“I have only really had the two injuries, it is just that they have been big ones,” said Kerr. “I am not injury-prone. “People think ‘is he going to be okay?’, thinking about the mental side of coming back from injury but I have always been the total opposite. I don’t think about that.
“It is difficult because neither of the big injuries have been my fault. I got knocked off both times, which made it much harder to take but you cannot dwell on that.
“A lot of hard work went in over the winter and I have come back with a carefree attitude. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed this sport more than ever before and it seems to be working. It has been a really good start for me. The odd meeting has not gone to plan but that’s speedway.
“I am feeling good on the bike and enjoying it. “It helps winning races in the Championship (with Eastbourne), taking that into my Premiership meetings and I think King’s Lynn is only going to get better for me.
“I am in the main body of the team and that’s where I want to be. I am so glad to be back racing for the club.”
It has been a mixed start to the campaign for the Stars but a typically-upbeat Kerr reckons the best is to come.
“I think we are in for a good season. We have put together another solid team and if Kasper and Tofty are flying at reserve we will be well away,” he added.
“It is still early. We’ve only had three home meetings so there is plenty more to come.
“Everyone knows each other and gets on and that really helps when it comes to getting good form together. Peter (Shroeck, stand-in team manager) is a great guy, very positive. He has put plenty of life into it after coming into a difficult situation. He’s done really well.”
Cook and Lambert rise to challenge
Craig Cook and Robert Lambert are just five races away from booking their places in the world’s elite after a fine night in Glasgow.
New King’s Lynn star Cook romped to a 15-point maximum to win the Grand Prix Qualifier at Ashfield while Lambert dropped only three points to finish fourth.
Both go into the Grand Prix Challenge in Croatia later this year in an attempt to go full-time into the GP series.
Cook said: “It was always going to be a tough night. I’m delighted the way it went. I had to make a few passes. But I managed to get the results I needed. I’ve made no secret of the fact I want my place back in the Grand Prix series. That’s my goal for this season. I’m halfway there now.”
Cook passed Hans Andersen in the opening race and was unstoppable thereafter.
Lambert was his usual swashbuckling self and was unlucky not to finish in the top three. He won his opening two races but lost out to Pontus Aspgren before being shut-out by former team-mate Niels-Kristian Iversen. Lambert secured his qualifying place by finishing second behind Cook in a crucial Heat 20.
Former Stars ace Iversen finished runner-up.
Lambert said: “I’m happy to have come through and now can focus on the next one.”
Stars aim for home rule to climb table
Poultec Stars boss Peter Schroeck is looking forward to a run of home meetings – starting against Ipswich on Monday (7.30pm).
With meetings against the Suffolk team, Belle Vue, Swindon and Poole scheduled for the next four Mondays, Schroek is confident his septet can start to turn their fortunes round and launch a run for a top-four spot.
He took great encouragement from their trip to Swindon last Thursday, where they were defeated 50-40 by Alun Rossiter’s Robins but, arguably, denied a deserved bonus point.
Schroeck said: “We’ve got a few home meetings coming up now, and Swindon is a tough place to go to.
“The track is brand new, and it took the Robins a while to get dialled in. We weren’t just going to go there first time and show them how it is done.
“But we were there or thereabouts, and when we next visit I’m sure we can be a bit more lucky.”
A final heat maximum denied the Stars any points in Wiltshire.
The Stars held their own for large parts of the match, but 5-1s in heats 11 and 15 helped the hosts leapfrog King’s Lynn into sixth in the table.
Missing Lewis Kerr through injury, Schroek called in Italian Nico Covatti to guest and he scored paid-11.
An unfortunate mechanical failure for Proctor in heat 10 signalled the start of the Stars’ downfall.
A shared race was required in heat 15 to salvage a point but Doyle and Batchelor paired up for a Robins maximum.
Stars at Swindon: R Lambert 11, Covatti 9+2, Cook 7+1, Proctor 6, Jorgensen 5+2, Palm Toft 2+1, S Lambert 0.