I’VE no idea what Chris Kerr is thinking as he lays in his hospital bed looking at the plaster on his broken leg – but it’s a reasonable bet that he might well have considered the wisdom of racing a motorbike with no brakes for a living.
One staggering thought that may not have crossed his mind is that American golf superstar Tiger Woods earned nearly $23m last year for the pretty much risk-free task of going for long walks while hitting a little ball into a series of holes with a stick.
And he raked in another $100m during that time through endorsements. Nice work if you can get it, eh? The word is that, by the end of 2010 he will have earned ONE BILLION dollars.
Meanwhile our Tiger, the unfortunate Chris, can only dream of such astronomical figures. Speedway riders, as we all know, are paid according to what they earn on the track. And his crash at Scunthorpe on Sunday means he won’t be seeing any shale at all – and therefore income – for a couple of months.
And as for endorsements – it’s not so long ago that Chris could be seen in the pages of the Evening Gazette and on gazettelive.co.uk putting out an appeal for sponsors. No hundred mill likely to appear in his bank account then.
Alright, golf is big business and always will be, but it’s at times like these that the outrageous chasm between the risk factor and financial gain in speedway is brought home to us. These guys put their lives on the line every time they go out to entertain us – and if you’ve ever found a speedway rider who’s never broken a bone I’ll find you fan who thinks the tactical double rule is a good idea.
The millionaire Mr Woods, meanwhile, might have a stiff shoulder the next day. I’ve played on my mate’s Wii – I know how he’ll feel.
So, not for the first time since this blog started, I find myself wishing a stricken rider a speedy recovery.
Adding to the whole sense of brutal unfairness is that Chris is a great rider who was on flying form – and he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.
So if there’s a collection for for him while he’s out, be sure to dig deep. And, if you see Tiger Woods, ask him to stick a few spare dollars in the bucket too. He won’t miss them.