The Russian rider signed by Peterborough Panthers and his passionate anti-war message

Vadim Tarasenko. PHOTO: PGE Ekstraliga.Vadim Tarasenko. PHOTO: PGE Ekstraliga.
Vadim Tarasenko. PHOTO: PGE Ekstraliga.
The Russian ace signed by Peterborough Panthers is a fierce critic of his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Vadim Tarasenko is expected to make his debut for Panthers in a Premiership clash at Belle Vue next Monday (June 19).

Tarasenko helped Russia win the bronze medal at the 2017 Speedway World Cup, but fell out with the Russian authorities and had his international licence suspended for his outspoken statements about his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

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On his Facebook page, he wrote: “I can’t think about anything else right now, but I just want everyone to live in peace.

“I don’t want a war! Let’s think about our children, including us! After all, everyone is a human and fights every day in life to make his family happy, no need to add! Please NO WAR!

“I can’t think of anything else now, I want everyone to live in peace and tranquillity! I don’t want a war. Let’s think about our children, about us too! Every day a person fights to keep his family happy, no need to add! NO TO WAR!”

Tarasenko was also banned from racing internationally by the FIM, motorcycling’s world governing body as they banned all Russian riders, including refusing to leg Artem defend his world title.

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Having lived in Poland for more than five years – he moved there in 2016 – he had been eligible to take out a Polish passport, but hadn’t done so despite living there, having a Polish wife and a daughter born in the country.

He explained he hadn’t thought it necessary to do so but began the process last year, claiming: “My priority was and is my family and that we are together. I would love to go back to speedway, because I have devoted my whole life to riding on two wheels.

“If I can compete as a Pole, I will certainly be happy about it, but these decisions are not those in which I decide.”

Even though he was banned from competition, he practiced regularly with his Grudziadz teammates, particularly helping the younger club members, to keep his hand in.

Tarasenko added: “I couldn’t compete, but I was on the motorcycle all the time. I knew I needed to be in the best shape I could be, if I got my Polish passport and was able to ride this year.”