“I feel I'm still not 100%” Fredrik Lindgren confesses.
The Swedish Speedway star is gearing up for round six of the Speedway Grand Prix in Cardiff, but the fact he is racing at all remains something of a minor miracle.
The 36-year-old veteran was struck down by Covid at the height of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, discovered he had suffered lung damage brought on by the disease.
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Nevertheless, he was ready to take part in this year’s SGP where he sits fifth in the standings after five races.
However, speaking to Eurosport ahead of the latest meeting at the Principality Stadium, Lindgren discussed a further health setback in the spring, but hopes he is over the worst of it.
“I'm a lot better than what I was a couple of weeks ago when I took a bit of a break,” he says. “And slowly, I'm taking it day by day, and slowly, it feels like I'm getting better. So it's positive.”
“I had a good winter, actually I was training hard. So I was a bit surprised when these problems occurred again, I think it was early June or the end of May, slowly getting worse and worse. And of course, it's having an impact.
“I wasn't able to train like I normally do. And I was out of breath during my race meetings. When you don't get the oxygen in your blood, everything stops functioning like it should, the brain stops working as it should. So of course, it's had a negative impact.”
Despite this, Lindgren is still optimistic about his chances this season. Although he sits 27 points behind championship leader Bartosz Zmarlik, he is encouraged by his third-place finishes in Warsaw and Teterow, and believes there is enough to be gained from the remaining five meetings to shake up the standings.
“It's been very up and down,” he says of his season so far. “Of course, I've had the two podiums, which I'm very glad I have had. But the rest of the meetings I haven't really been performing like I wanted to.
“It's been a very competitive year I feel. It's been a lot of guys mixing it. We have different winners from each round so far. And, you know, points wise it’s very close for a lot of riders.
“It's only been Zmarzlik really finding some consistency, and that's why he's on top at the moment. But the rest of us, we still have a lot of points to play for.
He added: “I’m looking to climb that table. We’re only halfway, there are still a lot of points to play for and I feel if I can find some good form from now, to the end of the year, I have a great chance to climb the table and clinch a medal.”

Fredrik Lindgren

Image credit: Other Agency

Due to the cancellation of the planned July 9 Grand Prix in Russia, the riders have had seven weeks between the fifth round in Gorzow and the upcoming meeting in Cardiff. For Lindgren, given his health struggles, the break was welcome.
“Well, for me, it was a bit of a blessing because I was dealing with my health issues and problems and I do feel better now. So it was a bit of a blessing for myself that we had that break and I feel like I'm finding a bit more form now and I'm positive going into the end part of the season.”
As the riders descend on the Welsh capital, a thrilling weekend of action is expected with a festival-like atmosphere inside and outside the stadium, and Lindgren is looking to soak it up as he eyes his first win of the season.
“Well, the track has been very different from year to year because it's a temporary built track,” he said. “But normally they get these indoor tracks pretty good nowadays and I really hope we see some good racing but most of all, a lot of fans and great atmosphere.
“I'm gonna try and suck that in and let that give me some extra energy.
“I'm going for the win. I go to every Grand Prix for the win. If I was able to win at Cardiff, that's one of the bigger ones and will be very special.”

‘Experience up front‘ - Lindgren holds it together for semi-final win

Aside from the pursuit of individual SGP glory, Sweden’s Speedway poster boy was also in action for his country recently at the Speedway of Nations in Vojens, Denmark
Lindgren captained his team to a third-place finish after narrowly losing the Grand Final qualifier to eventual winners Australia, but feels their display and a crop of talent coming through means that Sweden’s speedway future is in good hands.
“I feel there's some promise in the squad,” he suggested. “We have a couple of guys who are younger than me and showing in heats at the international level. You see Oliver Berntzon my team partner in Vojens was really flying and doing a great job.
“We have a couple of more guys coming through so hopefully for the Speedway World Cup next year when we're going to need some more riders we are going to be competitive.”
Watch the 2022 Speedway Grand Prix live and ad-free on discovery+ with live race action also on Eurosport 2.
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