Swedish star Magnus Zetterstrom is dreaming of a Cardiff medal after being handed an eleventh-hour call-up for the FIM Doodson British Speedway Grand Prix at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
The 39-year-old, who qualified as first reserve for this year’s series at the GP Challenge in Vojens last August, takes Russian international Artem Laguta’s place in the meeting.
The Czestochowa and Valsarna man has been forced to miss out after failing to secure a UK visa in time to ride.
Zetterstrom’s hard-working mechanics are in the middle of an epic 2,000-mile journey to carry bikes and equipment from his Swedish base in Eskilstuna to Cardiff via his Polish workshop in Gdansk, where the remainder of his kit is stored.
Having moved heaven and earth to take his place in the Millennium Stadium line-up, Zetterstrom is determined to ensure his team’s efforts are rewarded with one of the biggest results of his career.
He said: “I’m really happy to be there because it’s the biggest Grand Prix and it’s the one you want to win as a rider.
“I will go in and give it 110 percent as I always do. Then we will see how far that takes me.
“It would be a dream come true if I reach the final or get to the podium. Maybe I’d start to think about finishing my career if that happens!”
Zetterstrom raced full-time in the World Championship last year and went into the biggest season of his career taking the SGP meetings far more seriously.
But given that his night out in the Welsh capital could be his sole Grand Prix outing of 2011, Zetterstrom is determined to enjoy the occasion.
He added: “I will go into this meeting relaxed and I won’t put any pressure on myself. The only pressure I will put on myself is to do as well as I can.
“If that means I’m last, I get to the semis or the final, only time will tell. As long as I know I’ve done everything I could do, I’ll be happy.
“It’s a strong line-up, but I’ve been there before and it’s not going to be a shock to me to ride in the Grand Prix. It will be a buzz for me to be there in Cardiff. It will be awesome to stand in front of around 45,000 fans. It will be amazing.”
Zetterstrom is already a Poole Pirates legend and gained his reputation as one of the club’s greatest ever entertainers with his famous John Travolta-style victory dance.
The Swedish international did not bring it on to the SGP stage in 2010 and was determined to keep his serious head on. But he is ready to throw some shapes if he takes the chequered flag on Saturday night.
“I don’t think I did the dance last year,” he said. “Then it was more serious. But this time I can afford to do the dance in front of the crowd and I hope the crowd dances with me as well.”