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Everything posted by Vince

  1. A fair percentage of tracks just aren't available Friday night (still time off work to get there) Saturday or Sunday. I took amateur to mean they wouldn't be paid, certainly Mr Snackette seems to be making the argument they should be paying to ride.
  2. I think you should probably read what is in my posts rather than what you think I'm saying. I shall repeat without the completely unnecessary large bold lettering and keep it as simple as I can for you. I don't do not get paid to ride because I do not ride Speedway. As I have said repeatedly just like your son I travel all over England and pay to race (in my case flat track). In Flat Track there is very rarely any prize money, if there was at 57 I wouldn't get a sniff at it. What is good though is that I only race weekends so can take a decent job and work around my sport. My son did used to ride NL Speedway and as I have said elsewhere I financed him for 4 years and it took me the same amount of time afterwards to recover financially. We did all our own work on the bikes including my doing his engines so money wasn't going to tuners or on unnecessary go faster bits or bling. What hit hardest by a long way was the travelling costs and time away from work. My son riding Speedway cost far more than for the two of us to ride MX as we were doing previously or the two of us to do flat track as we do now. For most of that 4 years he was on NL base rate with Newport and the normal travelling allowance but it still cost a lot of money to ride for a team. I agree that Speedway in the UK is living beyond it's means at the moment. I do not agree that you can have team Speedway without paying the riders because nobody in their right mind would pay to race in Berwick on a Saturday, Newcastle on Monday and Somerset Friday when they could ride as an amateur at their local track on a weekend. There is also the small matter of finding work that allows you to meet that schedule then make re-scheduled rain offs at short notice. For far less money you have your choice of motorcycle sports that allow you to travel as far as you want to, race in conditions or on tracks that you like and never be forced to ride anywhere. That is what your son does and what I do, we chose when and where we compete. Now I don't know your personal experience of finding the finances to ride Speedway but even when I was a youngster I ran out of money before I ran out of even my small talent. I have proven that I have a grasp of the realities so instead of trying to belittle my opinion let us know exactly what experience and figures you have to back up your case. I still say that if you run Speedway as an amateur sport you will have exactly an extension of what you have now in amateur Speedway. That is riders competing mostly with their local clubs in various ability classes as individuals. If you have team racing it is generally those same riders split into groups and while fun for them it is nothing like league racing. In the main it won't matter because not many will pay to watch it and the tracks won't be able to meet the costs. The costs of league Speedway have to be reduced or the income increased but it can no way survive if it doesn't at least go some way to covering the riders expenses.
  3. THEY MAKE THAT CHOICE ONLY BECAUSE THEY CAN AFFORD TO AS THEY GET PAID FOR IT. IF THEY DON'T GET PAID TEAM SPEEDWAY WILL DIE BECAUSE IF THEY CHOOSE TO RIDE AS AMATUERS THE WILL DO SO LOCALLY AT WEEKENDS. TEAM RACING IS WHAT MAKES SPEEDWAY SPECIAL, BEING AVAILABLE TO RIDE ANY DAY ANYWHERE IS WHAT MAKES A SPEEDWAY RIDER SO BLOODY SPECIAL! DOES WRITING IN LARGE BOLD CAPITALS MAKE EITHER OF OUR POINTS MORE RELEVANT? I too travel the length and breadth of the country racing, however it is completely my decision when and where I ride just like it is your sons and I'm not riding several times some weeks. That is why we pay to race and in my case there is no prize money at all. I too do so because I love the sport I choose to participate in. However that is nothing to do with why Speedway riders need at least some payment as I explained in my last post. What the sport can afford is a different matter but almost nobody would be ale to afford to ride league Speedway unpaid.
  4. Like myself nobody tells your son when and where he can race. Nobody fines him if he doesn't fancy riding that day. Nobody will force him to ride in conditions he thinks are dangerous. Nobody expects him to travel the length and breadth of the country often at little notice in order to race in the middle of the working week. No other motorsport is a genuine team sport and therefore Speedway riders are a special case because there are expectations put on them that aren't put on other racers.
  5. Vince

    Rye House & Lydde

    What you saw at Stoke is no way comparable to what you get with the DTRA meetings from what I hear from those who rode. I think when other people run flat track meetings it takes them a few goes to adapt, it did at Rye House and could well do so at Stoke. I thought you meant another organisation for flat track but for amateur Speedway there are a few clubs running now and they seem to do OK for entries. Again I'm not convinced that another organising body is needed (you would have to battle for the right to call it Speedway for starters) although I'm sure that if there was track time available another club wouldn't hurt.
  6. I like the NL although I think it used to be a roughly 50/50 mix of clubs using it to develop riders for their other team and stand alone clubs where now there are more stand alone clubs and that changes things. Traditionally the stand alone clubs need to win at home to pull a crowd and have paid their riders more while the development clubs paid base rate but offered better opportunities. I have to say though that doesn't apply to all clubs and Buxton are a big loss to the league because they can no longer afford to be competitive. The standard of NL racing is pretty high I think and compares well with the level of the old second division riders when I was younger in the 70's, the comments I've seen on here about wobblers are generally nonsense. The racing is like all Speedway some good, some poor and the odd great race. The right old hands are absolutely necessary as the kids need somebody to learn from in their own team and to chase from the opposition. Not all old hands are good at this but many are. I suspect that is true at the highest level but a bit further down I think travel and time off work is a bigger expense.
  7. Sam Hurst, only rode NL for Newport and Weymouth (well a bit of PL for Newport but out of his depth). Reasonable amount of talent and a good set of balls but lacked the dedication to make it any further.
  8. Easily said but if you want a career in Speedway you'll generally be starting out at 16 by the latest. Try telling any company and /or college that you want an apprenticeship but you need to be able to take random days off to travel to tracks at the other end of the country. I'll pop in this week on Tuesday until midday as have I have track A that night Wednesday in all day then I'm off all day Thursday to go to track B. Then next week I'm in except for Monday and Friday as I have track C&D. Come September you'll only be able to give a few hours notice trying to make up for rain off's and if things are going well getting some guest rides. Or you might need 3 weeks off for your broken collarbone or worse 8 weeks of with a leg. But it's Ok next year will be much the same! Speedway doesn't owe anybody a living but who is going to race league Speedway as an amateur when they can race at weekends only and might as well if they can't get near covering their costs? The only reason for tramping around the country riding for a team is the chance you'll make it to a good enough level to make some sort of living during the season then you can bust a gut doing overtime at labouring or whatever to make enough money to equip yourself for the next season. That is the reality for far more riders than make a decent year round living.
  9. If you go for amateur Speedway or even paying less than it costs to ride you will say goodbye to league Speedway. NL riders may do it when they are trying to get in a higher league but it doesn't take long to run out of money. I keep seeing that riders should have full time jobs and race Speedway like in the 'good old days'. Great idea but in todays job market just how many jobs can fit in with riders travelling on various days and taking spells out injured? In the past Speedway was a big enough sport that many employers would take on riders and make allowances for their sport because it gave them some involvement, these days most employers don't know what Speedway is. I know my lad went through a variety of jobs trying to find one that fitted and I had to completely change my career to cart him around for NL Speedway. We didn't pay anybody to work on his bikes as I did the motors but the travelling and time off work hit hard, took me as long to recover financially after he gave up as he was riding for. Also don't underestimate what riders could earn in the past, only last year Les Collins was telling me how when he first raced Speedway he could earn as much or more as a second half rider as he could as an apprentice. I used to work for Jimmy Squibb and he made a very nice living out of Speedway while being the equivalent of a third heat leader today I would guess.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!
  14. 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).
  15. 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.
  16. Ah! that explains a lot, my bad
  17. As he was in the U15's with my lad who is 29 I reckon you're 10 years out!
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. How long before somebody says that Hancock let him through in the first race because they have the same sponsor?
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.

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