Theo Pijper may be counting down the days to his Testimonial speedway meeting at Armadale in a fortnight, but the experienced Dutchman is also preparing to extend his career in the Premier League this season after being thrown an unexpected lifeline by Scunthorpe Scorpions.
The former Edinburgh Monarchs skipper was contemplating moving his family to Holland this summer after he failed to find a team berth during the winter.
Resigned to the fact that his Testimonial salute could perhaps bring down the curtain on a UK career which began in 2002, Pijper, who won championship gold with Monarchs in 2003, last week clinched a short term deal with Scunthorpe as a replacement for their Aussie ace Ryan Douglas, who is not fit enough to begin the 2015 campaign for the English outfit.
Pijper, 35, admitted: “It came out of the blue. I was at home when I got a text message from promoter Rob Godfrey asking if I would be interested in riding for them. I phoned him back and after a short discussion we tied up a deal.
“It has come along at just the right time. I had no team place and it was looking as if my testimonial at Armadale would be the only racing I would do in Britain this year. Me and my wife and our children were thinking of moving back to Holland because I have plenty of racing going on there.
“We are also expecting a new baby in July which was something else to think about, but it all kind of fits in now. I can do two months of racing for Scunthorpe and if they don’t need me after that, we can think about moving abroad again.
“It’s all a mad rush because I had nothing ready and trying to organise my testimonial means things are pretty hectic at the moment.”
Pijper added: “I’m going to be pretty busy this season because I’m back in the World Longtrack Championship and I’ve got some international meetings as well.”
Pijper may be considered something of an ‘elder statesman’ but insists he has no plans to retire. “As long as my body lets me and I can continue to keep up with the top boys,” he said. “I’m quite happy to carry on. But if I start to sink down to the bottom then I might have to think about packing up.”