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Humphrey Appleby

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Humphrey Appleby last won the day on August 12

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  1. Kaparna was a long standing team that raced in Gothenburg up until about 10 years ago, and there was also a track at Malmo. The Ullevi was for a long time though, the biggest stadium in Sweden if not the whole of Scandinavia, and could also accommodate a speedway track.
  2. I don't keep up with these things as much as I used to, but Finland appears to have six speedway tracks (Pori, Nokia, Hyvinkää, Haapajärvi, Seinäjoki and Tampere) running something like 15 scheduled meetings between themselves during 2018. I seem to recall there were 3 or 4 other tracks at some point, but no idea if they're still open. AFAIK, New Zealand now only has Western Springs, Moore Park and Oreti Park running solo speedway, although there are undoubtedly other oval dirt tracks that could run speedway. Don't think they run bike meetings more than once a month at each of these circuits, so let's say 18 meetings to be generous. California currently appears to have active tracks at Costa Mesa (11 meetings in 2018), Industry Racing (14), Auburn (6), Prairie City (6), Ventura (6), Santa Maria (3) and Perris (10). Victorville and Ridgecrest have also staged speedway in recent years, although didn't in 2018. So it would just about be fair to say that Finland and New Zealand have slightly more active tracks (9) combined than the 'non-speedway' nation of the US (with 7), but the US stages somewhat more meetings (at least 56). Of course, I haven't included ice racing tracks or meetings in Finland, but then there may still be speedway tracks running elsewhere in the US (I seem to recall that New York State and Ohio also had tracks running meetings at some point). But I'm not claiming that Finland and New Zealand aren't speedway countries, which clearly they are. I was taking issue with Philippe's absurd statement that the US isn't a speedway country when a substantial number of meetings get organised there, which are even run on semi-professional basis, and the country has a long track record of its riders and teams featuring prominently in World Championships (even managing to win 18 titles). If the claim is that a lack of geographical spread of tracks disqualifies a country from being a speedway one, well I'd say where are the tracks in large tracts of Poland, Sweden and Denmark?
  3. Which Finnish rider achieved national recognition in their own country then? For that matter, which Kiwi rider has been a household name since Ivan Mauger?
  4. Bizarre logic that NZ and Finland are speedway nations and the US is not. Speedway has been run in the US since the 60s at least, and there's probably still more tracks running more meetings than the other two countries put together. US speedway is mostly (if not entirely these days) based in California, but equally speedway in NZ is restricted to three fairly small areas nowadays. And how many world class speedway riders has Finland produced over the years compared to the US? Just admit that no-one is willing to stump up the asking price to run a GP in the US, and BSI doesn't think it worth taking the risk themselves.
  5. So nothing to do with sanctions then - glad we cleared that up. Funny also that One Sport managed to hold a round of the SEC in Russia, despite being a Polish company that would also be subject to sanctions if they applied. Stick to the facts, not fanciful storytelling - although that would be a first.
  6. I thought you previously said plenty of venues were interested in hosting a GP? With respect to a Russian GP, I expect the reality was that the asking price was more than the locals were prepared to pay, and/or there were pay-offs that needed to be made. BSI is a UK-registered company, and in any case, I don't think the sanctions apply to sports and entertainment whether UK/EU or US. The fact that IMG are operating a office in Moscow suggests it can't be an issue even for a US-owned company, and after all, England recently competed in a World Cup held there.
  7. Except it isn't the Speedway World Cup - it's a best pairs competition with an occasional Under 21 rider. Just call it the Speedway World Pairs (or Speedway World Triples if you like), then you won't contravene the trade description act.
  8. I'd say the World Cup is now totally overblown, and will be even worse with 48 teams. I think the expansion has very little to do with who has or hasn't won the World Cup - there's generally more competitive teams than there were, simply because the best players in each country will nowadays often play in the best leagues in the world. But there's actually only been one new winner in the past 20 years (Spain), which was hardly a minnow nation and arguably well overdue for a win.
  9. Humphrey Appleby

    Somerset Speedway.....

    An historical county, county borough, or modern ceremonial or preserved county? I'd think many speedway teams over the years would have been situated in county boroughs.
  10. Even more countries could put out one competitive rider, but at what point does it cease to become a team competition? Two riders is not a proper team competition in my book, however well it might have worked, and you also have the issue where 5 countries are sitting out each heat. The SWC was generally the best international competition over the years, and usually produced good racing. Absolutely ridiculous to be changing the format because one country happens to have a run of success. The Poles are far less dominant than Denmark were in the 80s, England/Britain were in the 70s, and Sweden were in the 60s, and they didn't radically change the World Team Cup format then. Did FIFA turn the World Cup into a 5-a-side competition after Brazil won it a few times?
  11. Shame about the 'stadium' or actually being near to anywhere.
  12. Humphrey Appleby

    The continuing decline of Speedway

    There's no point wringing one's hands about social changes and trying to turn back the clock - it's happened, and will continue to happen, and unless the entertainment adapts then it's not going to survive. I think stopped going to pubs for a variety of reasons unrelated to laziness. The sad reality is that despite all the claims about pubs having to diversity with food and satellite television and the like, most pubs were sustained by a hardcore of regular drinkers who now prefer to buy cheaper supermarket booze and watch on Sky on their own big screen televisions where they can smoke as well. The trend was already happening, but the smoking ban was the final nail in the coffin for a lot of pubs.
  13. Humphrey Appleby

    The continuing decline of Speedway

    Most sports would be in trouble - they're all reliant on television and sponsorship these days. Not least because as revenue increases, the competitors not unreasonably expect a significant percentage of it, and as you always have to have winners and losers in sport, it becomes an arms race to sign them. Cricket would have to substantially scale back its expenses, but still gets significantly better crowds than speedway, especially at international level. But the point is surely that cricket is able to pull in decent television and sponsorship deals, it still get good media coverage, and it has high-level support that speedway can only dream of.
  14. Humphrey Appleby

    The continuing decline of Speedway

    Cricket has its issues, but those issues pale into insignificance when compared with speedway. And despite appearing to be run by a bunch of old f**ts, it's always managed to revitalise itself - first with one day, then one afternoon and more recently T20 cricket - when interest appeared to be declining. And it certainly commands much better television and sponsorship deals than anything speedway can hope for.
  15. Humphrey Appleby

    The continuing decline of Speedway

    I'd have thought the combined danger of bikes potentially hitting a concrete lip at 70 mph as the shale shifted, or falling onto a rock hard surface on the fastest part of the circuit, would have had substantial safety issues.

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