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Everything posted by Vince

  1. Vince

    Rye House & Lydde

    If you mean dirt track/ flat track in the UK it is run by the Dirt Track Riders Association and is a long way from being in a mess. Affiliated to the MCF the DTRA has gone from strength to strength since it took over and is the most friendly club I have ever been involved with in 47 years of competition motorcycling. While it is run strictly in accordance with the regulations the overall feel is very laid back and if the organisers can do anything to help you they will. There is also the summer and winter series at Rye House which has an even more relaxed feel about it with less entrants. I don't think any more events would attract enough riders to be able to operate and can't imagine a less formal or looser set could be possible.
  2. Vince

    Rye House & Lydde

    The AMA Championship was divided into separate disciplines many decades ago so flat track is ridden by specialists. The Flat track championship now consists of two classes Twins (the top guys) and Singles (still pro class riders but a step down from the top 20 or so). The events are split into miles, half miles, short track and TT (right hand turn and a jump). In the UK we run what would be their short track and a TT, there is one bigger track that isn't quite a half mile but the average speed for the top boys is still 80mph. It's right to say that what you see here isn't much like the mile or half miles you see from the USA. Your view of UK Flat Track also appears to be a bit out of date, it has evolved and developed a great deal in the past few years and the standard of riding has improved a huge amount since the first meeting I saw in 2007. The top riders that day wouldn't get near a final if they rode to the same standard now. Flat Track in the USA appears to be regaining some popularity but it's a long way from the crowd and income levels of it's heyday, very comparable to Speedway in the UK in many ways. In the UK and some other parts of Europe it is most definitely a growing participant sport which attracts good press coverage and some good sponsorship for a sport it's size. I think it will grow a fair bit more in the UK and only 2 or 3 of the 7 British Championship rounds this year will be held on Speedway tracks. I still don't think it will become much of a spectator sport although the Pro Class in particular throws up some very good racing and with 12 riders on a Speedway track there's generally going to be someone battling. There are a lot of classes though and just too many races to attract casual spectators I think. Some thought has gone into it so that you can usually watch just the Saturday evening programme with fewer races at a good level. As for the idea that the top British riders are at novice level compared to the US that is also out of date. Young Oliver Brindley was one of our best riders and has now spent two years racing in the USA and been on the podium in the singles class. That means he is among the top 10%, maybe better, over there and there are a couple of others in the UK can give him a run for his money. So the standard isn't as high but it certainly isn't novice level.
  3. Vince

    Rye House & Lydde

    Flat track has grown substantially in Europe and especially in the UK which has a thriving British championship with some foreign riders featuring at all the rounds. The European Championship has so far built slowly but with some riders now investing more money into the sport I expect that to grow a bit too. The fact that so many star Moto GP riders use flat track for training and that is filtering down to all levels of road racing is helping a great deal in Europe where Road racing is motorcycle racing to the majority. However I can't see Flat Track here or in mainland Europe getting to draw decent crowds, not even close to Speedway levels here. For that to happen you'd need the road racers to be taking part all season and that just isn't going to be allowed to happen because of the risk of injury. I think it will grow in the respect of more riders but can't see it growing much in spectator attendance.
  4. Vince

    Rye House & Lydde

    Anybody who gives a toss about Speedway should as every time we use a track it's much needed money going into the sport. Rye House for one still has Speedway riders learning their craft there but the track would be closed if it weren't for flat track for sure. Secondly there is quite a crossover between riders going from one sport to the other, it works both ways. Thirdly a high percentage of those who go racing flat track end up as spectators at Speedway meetings and many become fans. Finally it's blokes racing motorbikes which is always good!
  5. Vince

    Rye House & Lydde

    It is possible to obtain insurance for motorsport events and practice sessions without being affiliated to an organisation. Generally you will still have to meet the same standards as those used by the ACU or whoever and it is usually cheaper and easier to be affiliated. However it is possible with much filling out of forms, risk assessments and setting of agreed standards. You've not lived until you have tried to write a risk assessment for the various obstacles on a MX track At the end of the day it is a public liability insurance covering the organiser against claims. Riders getting injured at a practice session affiliated or not would only have a claim if the organiser is negligent which would apply in any circumstances. Injury insurance for the riders will only normally be if they are licence holders and that body supplies insurance cover or carry their own insurance (if you don't you are mad whether a licence holder or not).
  6. Vince

    Rev Limiters

    Starting technique is interesting. I spent most of my life believing that the slicker the start the less revs you used in order to get grip. Then Neil Street spent a half hour teaching my son and I'd been doing it wrong most of my life. Basically the idea was that the less grip, the more revs and although you might lose a fraction in the first couple of yards once the wheel caught up you more than gained it back. All very counter intuitive but as ever Streety was spot on as Sam went instantly from a poor gater to a decent one.
  7. Ah! that explains a lot, my bad
  8. As he was in the U15's with my lad who is 29 I reckon you're 10 years out!
  9. Vince

    Rev Limiters

    The soft limiter cutting in first would be like a fairly minor misfire so you should have plenty of warning. Every other off road bike has rev limiters including our flat track bikes, because we have less tyre grip though it's a fair bit different and we would usually gear to hit the limiter twice a lap at the ends of the straights on Speedway tracks. As pointed out though the Speedway limiter is to be set so high that it won't come into play once away from the gate.
  10. Vince

    Rev Limiters

    I like the idea of rev limiters being introduced, would like to see the limit dropped a bit each year as in the end it could phase out the super short stroke motors that are on such a knife edge for set up. In my opinion the long stroke motors worked more safely on a bigger variety of surfaces. They recommend a soft limiter kicking in before the hard limit which should reduce the risk of the limiter picking up unwanted grip. In reality its no different to gearing the bike right now, under gear it and it over revs and loses power, you would just gear the bike to suit the limiter. None of it will apply unless the limit is reduced in the future anyway so the worst that can happen at the set limit is not over revving on the start (or in the pits!) which can only extend engine life. Think you'll find there is quite a lot of throttle variation on the gate from decent riders to suit the conditions even if it doesn't look like it.
  11. Vince

    Newport Speedway (Wales)

    Tim Stone at the track on a race day and away from the track was two completely different people. For sure the stadium was his baby and he wasn't going to let anybody else play with it but given that following years of working all over the world on really good money only to put it all (and some) into the stadium you can see why. No matter what the fans stood to lose he had literally everything he had at risk. Nobody could ever accuse him of being a people person on race day! However he'd been a fan, had a go at riding Speedway then been a mechanic for years so by the time you took his promoting experience into account he had as good an understanding of the sport as anybody and far more knowledge than most of his critics. Away from the track he was one of the funniest people you could ever meet with a never ending list of stories told in the most deadpan style followed by his loud belly laugh. A very decent bloke who always dealt with Sam fairly and honestly. The few months before he died he would be on the phone for hours chatting about how to get other revenue streams for the stadium and there were some deals already in the pipeline that I am convinced would have subsidised the Speedway for years to come. He'd finally got to the stage where he wanted a life away from the stadium as well. His detractors were always saying he had to speculate to accumulate but given what happened after his death when just about everything the fans asked for was put in place I would say he was proved right that a tight budget was the way to see Speedway continue in Newport. Whatever else the Mallets did they did improve the track and facilities and spend a lot of money on riders to build a winning team but it didn't work financially. I can't imagine the bridge would have made much difference although it would have saved a few quid on the wages bill.
  12. Loads of pre war motorcycle engines had 4 valve heads. Neil Street told me that prior to leaving home to come to the UK he knew little about engines but during the weeks on board ship he continually stripped and rebuilt his speedway bike to fully grasp how it all worked. Certainly he was a highly skilled engineer if self taught and understood every nuance of a Speedway engine. In the early part of this century he had absolutely no doubt that he could manufacture an engine that would be both faster and more reliable than either the GM or Jawa and having spent many hours talking engines with him I never doubted it. He saw no point in doing it because he said any ideas he had would just be pinched by others and he would get nothing out of it, he never told me how he would go about it though . Max Richards had a Wal Phillips laydown JAP over his place a couple of years ago, can't remember what year it was but either 40's or early 50's I think. I have a photo somewhere I'll look out. For what it's worth I'm pretty sure that Jack Parker, Peter Craven and Co would have been able to ride a modern bike at the highest level and am equally sure that Tai Woffinden, Greg Hancock etc would have been top riders on a Douglas, Rudge, JAP or 2v Jawa. I do think many people massively underestimate the skills needed by modern riders.
  13. How long before somebody says that Hancock let him through in the first race because they have the same sponsor?
  14. I'd bet Scott Nicholls would say that Tai Woffinden is a better rider than he was at his peak. Of the names mentioned that I have seen ride I can only think of Peter Collins and Michael Lee having any claim to be better (never saw Peter craven or those who came before him so can't offer a sensible opinion). Peter Collins had fantastic skills and was very exciting to watch, like Tai his gating was inconsistent but I would say Tai is a little better. He could pass anywhere on the track, generally on the outside but where I think Tai shades it is in his ability to produce the big ride when the pressure is really on. Michael Lee had a huge natural talent to ride a bike fast, quite probably more natural talent than Tai. However with his work ethic at the time of his peak he would not have stood a chance in todays Speedway where a fitness regime is such an important part of being truly world class. I apologise if I've taken this thread off at a tangent and made it about Tai Woffinden.
  15. No not now, so because it is more difficult to win over a series of events rather than just about qualify then win one meeting there are a smaller number of realistic title contenders. However given that any one of those 15 or 16 riders can realistically win a GP that also means that if it were a one off final any one of them would have been capable of winning it. I don't remember a one off final in the years I've been following Speedway (about 50) that had that many realistically potential winners. 3 of those riders have the same sponsor but are in no way a team where the season starts with 2 helping the other you continually saying it doesn't make it any less nonsense. Towards the very final rounds it is possible that one might make it a little easier for the other if it were about winning a championship. However no more so than some of the other lads, who are part of the same National or domestic teams, or any others who are good friends. Certainly it was no secret that on one-off World Final night bungs and favours would be used to help secure an extra point or two. In fact I know of a rider who took part in a 50's final knowing he had no hope of winning telling me that he went there with the sole aim of making as much money as possible.
  16. I would say that genuine title contenders for 2019 are Woffinden, Zmarzlik, Lindgren, Janowski and Hancock possibly Dudek. Any one of the 15 regulars and as proved in the past some of the wildcards could win a GP. That means that at any round there are at least 15 riders who could have won an old style World Championship where one exceptional night was good enough. That's a very strong field better than any of the one off World Finals I attended. I don't know what you were watching as I thought the series was very good this year with only a couple of not so good meetings and the tension around the title there until the final meeting. The racing at most of the Gp's was miles better than any final I ever saw at Wembley too.
  17. My son once beat Tai fair and square, unfortunately because of the GP system he isn't recognised as the worlds greatest rider at this time. I can assure you that is the reason and it is nothing to do with him thinking he was billy big balls way too early and not working hard enough to even get out of the NL.....and not having the talent Tai has in his little finger.....bloody GP's he would have been world champion in the 70's
  18. The one thing I know for certain is that when I first went to Speedway as a young kid in either 1967 or 68 there was no shortage of people to tell you how much better it was in the old days or how much better the riders and bikes were! I have no problem with opinions but surely they should be based on some knowledge and when I see modern day riders disparaged as all they have to do is hold the throttle wide open and hang on it does bite. The bikes have changed and so have the tracks but a modern bike drives as hard on a slick track as an old one did in deep dirt. Anybody who thinks decent modern riders don't use fantastic throttle control to go fast doesn't pay enough attention to what is going on.
  19. Ah! Another top class meeting remembered for the entertaining racing.
  20. I look forward to your demonstration of just how easy it is. A bit of dirt on the track!! It was a mess.
  21. After watching that video just remember he would only have been an average rider in the days when every race was fantastic and the riders so much more skilled on engines that lasted 10 seasons before servicing and were all exactly equal because nobody tuned them, also winning one meeting was so much harder than scoring the most points over a series . He's lucky to be around when Speedway is such an easy sport to win.
  22. The GP finds the best, most consistent rider over the course of a season on a variety of tracks and in varying conditions, I can't see a better way of producing a true World Champion. Some of the old World Finals were great and dramatic but everybody forgets those that were crap.
  23. No point because they will kill their speed and he'll ride around them, seems he is the only one can stay quite so tight and still carry speed down the straight.
  24. I couldn't disagree more. Even if the cut back was his only first turn move he has lots of versions of it. He can go in deeper than just about anybody else and still make the turn back, his best skill for me though is when off an outside gate and he cuts back early but still manages to get drive down the straight, I have never seen anybody else do that near as well. However he can also make decent gates and from gate 1 can control the other riders without any dives to the fence, just moving enough to take their run away. Also from gate 1 he can stay tight and still lead down the back straight against the worlds best riders. As I say in 50 years he is the best rider I have ever seen through turns one and two on the first lap. There is no way that he would have been an average rider in any era. It's a bit like when everybody used to say that Maugers only skill was gating, it might have been the way he won many of his races but he could do everything else as good as the best too.
  25. Who do you think is missing from the current series that could win a Championship. On the other hand under the old system you could have a potential winner out of the World Championship in the first round. I went to some of the Wembley finals and while they were great occasions there was a deal of luck involved with gate positions let alone mechanical problems or injuries and don't ever forget it was possible to buy points off those who had a bad night toward the end of the meeting.. Great events but not the best way to find the worlds best rider that year in my opinion. One other thing to remember was that Wembley World finals didn't produce much in the way of great racing, certainly in these days of instant comment they would be slaughtered as race meetings.

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