This coming weekend will see the long overdue return of the FIM Trial World Championship to Sweden as the series visits the beautiful Scandinavian country for the first time since 2008. Whilst the paddock in general will be delighted to see this important stop back in the calendar, twenty-year-old Swedish rider Eddie Karlsson - Montesa will be even happier as he get his first taste of being able to compete in a home Trial Grand Prix.
The moment will be even more poignant for the highly popular young rider as he makes only his second outing on the World stage this season after having had to sit out the opening GP in Japan due to horrific facial injuries suffered during a training crash back in early April.
Karlsson under went a nine-hour operation, when ten titanium plates were screwed to his skull in order to repair the damage he incurred mainly to his nose and left eye socket. The talented Swedish rider lost six kilogrammes in just two weeks after the accident as his recovery process kept him bed bound. As brave as ever Eddie was back on a bike as soon as he got the OK from the doctors and competed in a round of the Swedish championship in his home town last month in order to be ready for his World Series return in the Czech Republic last weekend.
Typically upbeat and full of humour Karlsson spoke ahead of his debut at his home GP. “I am not sure what the Swedish girls will think about my new face, when they see me again!”
“Right now I would say I am about ninety percent recovered. The injuries to my face are OK now, although it looks like I will have to have another small operation to my eye later in the year, but my overall fitness isn't as good as it should be. I lost several weeks, the first in bed and then the others without the bike when it was impossible for me to train.”
“Anyway I am back now and am enjoying riding again. The Swedish championship race in my hometown was tough, as it was my first ride back and I put myself under a lot of pressure. Also I was a little scared of crashing again. But now it happened again, I crashed and survived so now I can make some more progress.”
“My father has made a metal bar that fits to the front of my helmet to help protect my face when I am training as my skull is still healing. It is OK, perhaps a little heavy, but maybe he will make a new version in titanium which will be lighter,” laughed Eddie. “I don’t need to return to the hospital for six months for the next big check up, so now I can focus fully again on Trial.”
“It feels great to have a Trial GP in Sweden again, after some years too, so I am both excited and nervous about this weekend. I hope I can ride at a good level and make a good result as I know that many friends and of course my family will be coming to support me.”
“I know the place quite well, in the past it has held national and European events. The terrain is quite similar to my training area at home, lots of big rocks inside our special Swedish forest. I think it will be a good Trial for all the riders, but I hope it is even better for me.”
Karlsson is a four times winner of his Swedish national championship, and captured the European title in 2013. Last season Eddie achieved his highest placing in the FIM Trial World Championship when he placed eighth on the second day of the opening GP in Australia, a feat he will look to match or better this weekend in front of his home fans.