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HOLDER MISSED SON AS HE BIDS TO GET HOME

Aussie star Jack Holder admits his struggle to get home prompted him to turn down a Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Final call-up.

29 / 10 / 2020, 19:25

Aussie star Jack Holder admits his struggle to get home prompted him to turn down a Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Final call-up.

Roos boss Mark Lemon revealed that he was keen to name the in-form star in his senior pair alongside Jason Doyle for the Lublin event on October 17.

Holder’s selection would have been no surprise after he played a pivotal role in Gorzow’s charge to the PGE Ekstraliga play-off final. He also topped the Polish First Division averages as he led Torun back into the top division as champions.

I wanted to go home and as people know, it’s not as easy as booking a flight. I have had about four cancel on me and I want to get home to my family and girlfriend.

Jack Holder

But Lemon says Holder rebuffed the chance to race and he drafted in national champion Max Fricke in his place.

The Sheffield signing admits he didn’t accept the call-up as he bids to return to Australia at the earliest opportunity.

With the coronavirus pandemic cancelling scores of flights and the Australian authorities placing strict limits on the number of incoming international travellers per day, this is proving no easy task.

Holder, who is still in the UK, said: “It was my decision. I obviously didn’t want to do it. I wanted to go home and as people know, it’s not as easy as booking a flight. I have had about four cancel on me and I want to get home to my family and girlfriend.

“I had booked some flights prior to even getting the call-up. I had one cancel on me on Monday. I had hoped to be going on Wednesday. I had one for October 21. That got cancelled as well.

“I have just been booking and I’ve had my name down with any travel agency – if they had a flight the next day, I was going no matter what.”

Holder admits a series of flight cancellations have left him considerably out of pocket while he awaits refunds.

He said: “They were all £2,000 each. They have all been cancelled and they say we’ll get a refund, but that can take up to six months.  You are just spending money on more flights and they get cancelled. It’s pretty heartbreaking, but hopefully I get it back.”

While many foreign riders relocated to Poland for their summer season, Holder admits life has been tougher for the Aussies.

He said: “We have been away since March. There have been a few people from different countries who did the same sort of thing and just stayed in Poland. They are missing their families too, but they can fly two hours home and see them. We are across the other side of the world. It’s quite difficult for us. Once I had my mind set that I was trying everything to get home, that was it.”

When Holder eventually does make it back Down Under, he’s not looking forward to the two-week stay in quarantine that awaits him.

He said: “We are in Australia, but we are locked in a room. That’s less time to spend with your family. You want to get home and go straight home. Instead, we have to spend two weeks in a room, talking to ourselves.

“We have to pay our own way for the quarantine too – it’s £1,600. It’s not government-funded.”

It was suggested in the Polish media that Holder turned down the Monster Energy SON event after being overlooked for Australia’s GP Challenge spot, which was handed to Fricke after he won the Aussie title in January.

Holder, who finished second in the national championship, feels he should have been handed the opportunity after hitting form this summer.

He said: “He has been given three chances now. He got the SGP wild card too, so Lemo wasted a spot for that GP Challenge.

“Jacob Thorssell was Swedish champion, but Oliver Berntzon was the form rider. It was a weaker field for the GP Challenge and he got through.

“At the end of the day, Max got a wild card for next year. I am quite angry about it, but that’s the way it is. I will definitely make sure I win the Australian Championship next time.”

With January’s Aussie Championship postponed until November or December 2021, this year’s top four Fricke, Holder, Rohan Tungate and Chris Holder look set to be handed Australia’s places in the FIM Speedway Grand Prix qualifying rounds.

It’s a chance Jack is determined to take. He said: “If they go off last year’s result, then 100 percent I will be doing them. I’ll be making that GP Challenge and getting my own SGP spot hopefully.”

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