Hunter speedway ace Rohan Tungate shocked by coronavirus apathy in UK and Australia

Rohan Tungate
Rohan Tungate

By almost every measure Hunter speedway star Rohan Tungate deserves the title daredevil.

But after spending eight days in coronavirus lock down in Poland, the 2018 Australian Solo Speedway champion was alarmed at just how few precautions people in the UK and Australia were taking against the deadly virus.

Tungate arrived back in Australia last Monday and has been in self-isolation in a flat at his parent's Pelaw Main house since.

"It's good to be home, but it was a shock just how different the response was in England and Australia than in Poland where everyone had got behind what the government was suggesting," Tungate said.

"To be honest Poland felt a lot safer, but I think the message is starting to hit home with people in Australia and the UK that this really is serious.

"Watching what was happening from Poland, England's attitude to the risk was terrible and when I arrived in London I was blown away by how little had changed from normal. Unfortunately, it's caught up with them.

"Even in the supermarkets in Poland, there was no panic buying, people were looking after each other and doing the right thing."

And there was plenty of toilet paper.

"People were laughing about the rush on toilet paper in Australia and England," Tungate said.

"None one could quite figure out why you would stockpile toilet paper instead of food.

"If you don't have food, you don't need toilet paper."

Tungate said the stress on what to do had been enormous as he weighed up his options and sort to secure ongoing income for the team of mechanics he employs.

"I was in Poland in lock down, I pretty much stayed in doors for about eight days and then stuff started to get pretty wild," he said.

"They actually closed the border at the start of that time in Poland and they stopped all flights.

"All my flights to compete were cancelled.

"But then I heard there were flights from England to Poland, just to get people back to England and people back to Poland.

"There was a special flight with only about 10 people on it. It was the Friday and on the Sunday I flew out to Australia."

Tungate said a practice session on his bike at King's Lynn where he stayed with his English mechanic had been a saving grace in an incredibly tough and frustrating time.

"That was so nice as I hadn't done anything on the bike since I arrived in Europe," he said.

"It was pretty frustrating to go that far, spend all that money on equipment and not get one meeting in.

"It's hard at the moment, I can't see being able to ride for a long time.

"I've got to move on to something else at the moment to try and take my mind off it.

"I'm hoping I will be able to pick up a job. I'm a boiler maker by trade but I'd be happy to do anything to take my mind away from speedway."

Tungate has had no symptoms of coronavirus and has a week left of his self-isolation period.

"I haven't shown any symptoms, but I think after I get out of this two week's quarantine I'll probably go get tested just for everyone's sake that I may come in contact with. Particularly with my own family I can be more comfortable knowing that I can't pass anything on," he said.

"I know it could be hard as I'm not showing any symptoms but I have been overseas and it would be nice to be careful I guess."

As for going forward.

"It's important that everyone sticks by the rules and does the right thing and we'll be back to normal a lot quicker," Tungate said.

"I think people are starting to realise that now in Australia that it's pretty serious and now it's starting to affect everyone."

This story Daredevil speedway ace Tungate shocked by coranavirus apathy first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.