“There’s been an accident – dad didn’t make it”
“There’s been an accident – dad didn’t make it”
The star driver Rikard N Skoglund lost his father when he was 16 years old.
– I miss him every day, says Skoglund.
For Expressen, the 34-year-old talks about his father’s fatal accident, his love for his partner Lina and son William – and when he trained football with a future superstar.
Rikard N Skoglund is out on a Norrland tour.
He has left Oviken’s race track, next to Storsjön four miles south of Östersund.
Now he is on his way in the car to Skellefteå in Västerbotten. The next day, he turns south again and stops in Medelpad to compete at Bergsåker just outside Sundsvall. The next stop will be Eskilstuna in Sörmland.
Before the week is over, the successful driver will take the car north again and land in Hälsingland. It is about V75 on Hagmyren outside Hudiksvall.
– There will be some miles in the car, says Rickard N Skoglund.
Now he has taken a break to buy food after the road in the Norrland forests.
There was a time when he drove the car 14,000 miles a year.
One lap around the world is 4,000 miles – then you understand that the 34-year-old spends X number of hours in the car every year.
– But of course I don’t drive as much now that the new rule came in. That’s around 10,000 miles a year, says Skoglund.
The new rule has affected the drivers who run the most races in Sweden.
A coachman cannot now drive on two trotting tracks on the same day if the distance between the tracks is longer than 22 miles.
– It has been a big adjustment, but I think it works well, says Skoglund.
Rikard N is the fifth generation in the Skoglund family to do trotting.
By the way, N stands for Nils.
This is a beautiful story that stretches back several 100 years.
– It was clear early on what I would do as an adult. Trotting and horses have always been a great passion, says Rikard N.
It’s like in the Skoglund blood.
But as a little boy at home in Sundsvall, there were still other sports that attracted.
– I played football with Giffarna Sundsvall and in Sund. I remember that there was a guy two years younger who trained with us. He was very good. He had talent.
The youngster was Emil Forsberg who later made his debut in GIF Sundsvall’s A team as a 17-year-old and flew on to Malmö FF before being signed to RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga in 2015.
Today, he is one of Swedish football’s biggest stars.
– I have played against a number of guys who were very good at football, says Rikard N Skoglund.
He talks about talents such as Linus Hallenius, Kevin Walker and Robert Lundström, who all played Allsvenskan football.
– I thought football was fun, but there was never anyone at home who said anything when I came home and had scored two goals in a match, says Rikard N. It was only trotting and horses that applied at our house.
Travet was number one in the family that lived next to the track in Bergsåker.
– I couldn’t change that with my football. It was a natural choice that I stopped playing to invest everything in the sport of trotting.
He trained at Wågen’s trotting high school and then worked as an apprentice with Jan-Olov Persson at Hagmyren before continuing to Åke Svanstedt.
In 2009, he won his first victory on the V75 with Vildvitter, which he co-owned.
Father Anders passed away in a car accident
Rikard N Skoglund became a professional coach in 2011.
– My father Anders was a trotting trainer and a popular horse man. I learned a lot from him when I was young, says Rikard N Skoglund.
The 34-year-old gets emotional.
He gets sad when he talks about his beloved father Anders.
Rikard N was only 16 and his little brother Robert 14 when father Anders died in a car accident.
– We were in Hoting on the summer trot. Dad and his friend would go home to Sundsvall with our ponies and pick up big horses.
– I should also have been in the car, but I stayed in Hoting. We lived in a caravan.
At night Rikard N and his brother Robert were woken up by mother Eva and uncle Lars.
– I saw immediately that there was something wrong when they came in. Mother said that “there has been an accident and father did not make it”.
It has been 18 years, but Rikard N Skoglund still finds it difficult to talk about the fatal accident.
– Dad didn’t have a seat belt on, if he had he would have been fine. His friend was wearing a seat belt and survived.
The car that Anders Skoglund was traveling in had a puncture and went off the road and onto a meadow.
– Dad went straight out through the sunroof, says Rikard N Skoglund.
The pains are still there.
The wounds will never heal.
Life changed in a few terrifying seconds.
Everything was just taken away from me. When Dad died, I became a different person. Security disappeared, I had to stake out my future myself.
– Mother and father had been separated for ten years when father died, but they were still close friends. It was very tough for mother Eva, both emotionally and financially. It was not obvious that we would be able to afford for me to start at Wågen’s trotting gymnasium, says Rikard N Skoglund.
The jockey and professional trainer has worn his father Anders’ date of birth on his helmet since the accident.
– It has been a way of honoring father, he says.
But since April it says William on the star driver’s helmet.
William was born on April 16 this year.
– It was a nice way to move on in life by removing dad’s date of birth and writing William’s name there. But of course dad will always be with me through life. I miss him a lot, says Rikard N Skoglund.
What is it like to be a father?
– It is a completely new world that has opened up. Being a dad is awesome. I wonder why I didn’t become one sooner.
What is it like to be away from your son when you are out competing so much?
– Of course it feels harder now to go on the road, but it is my job to be a coachman. William has nevertheless been involved in several courses already. I hope that he will be the sixth generation of Skoglunds who work with trotting horses. But for me, he can be whatever he wants, but if he chooses to keep trotting, I will help him.
Love: “Means everything to me”
Rikard N Skoglund’s partner’s name is Lina.
– She is the same age as me. We first met in Hoting in 2009 but got together later in the summer when the Sundsvall Open Trot was decided, says Rikard N.
Lina is from Jämtland and Brunflo. She comes, just like her partner, from a horse family.
– Lina means everything to me. We have been camping together for so many years now. We know each other well and have a deep relationship. She is the one I lean on when the wind blows the hardest.
How do you see 2023 so far?
– It didn’t start so well. I didn’t get to drive as many horses. It was heavy. I have driven the second most races in recent years after Ulf Ohlsson and also won the second most races of all.
What was the cause?
– The rule change with a maximum of 22 miles between two courses during one day obviously affected some. In addition, it is now very crowded at the top. There are many talented drivers in Sweden.
Rikard N Skoglund tells us that he does not have a big trainer behind him, but works for several trainers and owners.
– I drove a lot for Robert Bergh when he moved to Åby and had a branch in Bergsåker. Now that he has moved home to Sundsvall, there will of course be fewer sit-ins.
Skoglund has established himself at the top.
In 2019 and 2020, he brought in over SEK 25 million. In 2021, he was listed for SEK 20.7 million.
Last season, the driver landed 13.8 million kroner – but then you should know that he drove significantly fewer races than the year before. Almost 450 pieces.
– I think this year didn’t start so well, but now it has loosened up, says Skoglund. It feels like I’m back on the winning track.
You just have to agree.
He soon passed SEK 10.6 million.
How are you as a driver?
– Others will have to answer that, but I’m probably quite good at getting horses up to speed. I’ve driven a lot of hard-to-drive cold bloods since I was a little lad. I have learned to drive fast while helping the horse to stay at a trot.
Rikard N Skoglund says that he rarely gets fined during the races.
– I am particularly proud that year after year I am included in the nicest league.
What does that mean?
– I am one of the drivers who run the most races without being fined for urging the horse.
In 2019, he sold Wolmsta Gård in Sundsvall and moved to Killinge just outside Sigtuna.
There was a big reason for the move.
The proximity to the tracks in southern Sweden.
It was a move 35 miles south.
– I enjoy myself very well. We live nicely, I hang out by the pool or on our outdoor terrace during the summer months.
What do you do when you’re not training horses and running races?
– I like sports. I watch sports every day. I also go for runs if I’m not hanging out with William. He means a lot to me.
The favorite team in football is Giffarna Sundsvall and in the SHL it is Timrå IK that applies.
– I usually try to see my teams live a couple of times. Otherwise, it will mostly be on TV.
Rikard N Skoglund has finished his jaw.
The interview with Expressen is over.
Now he will drive on towards Skellefteå.
It is a journey of just over 50 miles straight up into the forests of Norrland.
– Traveling between the country’s trotting tracks is part of my job, says Rikard N Skoglund.
RIKARD N SKOGLUND LIKES TO EAT A BIT OF MEAT
Name: Rikard N Skoglund.
Born: 26 June 1989 in Sundsvall.
Lives: Killinge just outside Sigtuna.
Family: Lina, partner. Son William, 4 months.
Occupation: Trotting driver.
Eats: “A good piece of meat, preferably beef fillet”.
Drinks: “Water, but preferably a glass of red wine or a large strong one with meat.
Reads: “The American writer Stephen King. I also listen to podcasts. By the way, I recently read Ali’s autobiography, he is an icon”.
Watching: Sports documentaries.
Main achievements: Has won over 1200 races. Some highlights are Derby mare 2019, Grosser Preis von Deutschland 2019, Axel Jensen’s Minneslopp, Svampen 2020 and Prix Readly Express 2023 and the E3 final for mares 2023.
Favorite soccer team: “Giffarna Sundsvall and Chelsea, two blue teams that play in the same color as my suit.”
Favorite team in ice hockey: Timrå IK.
Results as a driver in 2023: 626 starts. 78 wins, 74 second places, 56 third places