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DukesGreg

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DukesGreg last won the day on August 16 2013

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About DukesGreg

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  • Birthday 03/04/1969

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  1. Some very interesting points on here. I appreciate (as the guy said earlier) that age isn't relevant when it comes to speedway and an opinion, but having followed the sport for 45 years then I do believe that I can give a decent opinion of the merits of Cardiff, even though it does have it's down points. Speedway in the UK is pretty much on its knees. Many of us can remember the halcyon days of the 70's and 80's in the UK... when the British League was the global 'jewel in the crown' of speedway... the place to ride to be competitive... and a time which we probably all took for granted and never expected things to change. Back then... everyone in speedway pretty much EXPECTED that it would be a 'given' that we had a great venue here to house the 'World Final.' We took that as a given right. And there was also an expectancy that the British speedway public will fill the place easily. We had the old Empire Stadium at Wembley. We then had Odsal... then... we didn't. The 'masses' went to watch speedway weekly. My father used to go to watch Odsal in the late 1940's... he had some old programmes from meetings... in the 'pre tv' era. Weekly there was 30,000 people watching meetings back then! The sport was huge. Fast forward to the state of affairs with our beloved sport today... and it really IS on its knees. I am struggling to work out how clubs actually stay afloat. And how small amount of clubs there is. It is bare bones speedway. I have followed Halifax, Bradford.... both now closed. If you have track to support now... it's isn't a 'right' or a 'given,' then it is TRULY a gift from the Gods! Sheffield is where is go to watch now... almost 40 miles each way from my house! Bradford used to be 8 miles away... and my all time beloved club, Halifax... 16 miles! Now... 35 plus!!! THIS is how bad things are. Now if you had shown me today's state of affairs in the 80's, with a crystal ball. Or fetched me forward in a time machine... and showed me the absolute state of affairs in the domestic leagues.... THEN... this weekend... had taken me to Cardiff, and showed me that we actually have a stadium in the UK.. where FORTY thousand people will travel to, to watch not a 'one off final,' but Grand Prix meeting (not as special IMHO), at a venue with a roof on it so that you KNOW it's not gonna be rained off... then I wouldn't actually believe that the whole Cardiff experience was a "thing." I would marvel about it! I wouldn't actually be able to get my head around that this STILL existed. Cardiff still being with us... in a country where speedway is becoming almost defunct... is pretty much the biggest oasis imaginable... and in the world's largest desert. I know that it has it's faults. Processional racing (not hardly a rarity in speedway... if we are being honest)... but yeah... yesterday's meeting was pretty much a gate fest. Hotel prices aren't cheap in the city (that is Capitalism rearing it's head.... why sell a room for £50 when you can sell it for 5 x that amount). Geography also for some isn't so great.... agreed. But for sure... if you look at the actual state of speedway right now here.. it is on it's knees. So the speedway GP at Cardiff... whatever it's faults... IS a miracle and a Godsend. We need to get our nostalgic heads out of our boots and appreciate it is as a thing / concept. I agree that walk up ticket prices on the day of £50 is a disgrace. Why price late comers out when they could sell them at £20 and recoup money and get more people in the stadium? False and stupid econony! But in general... you can make the Cardiff experience reasonably inexpensive if you are up for it, with a little effort. I treated my sister to her tickets this year. 2 tickets were say £42 plus booking fees. Which were reasonable. A pound here or there. It can cost a couple of hundred quid to see some bands at an Arena these days. So £42 for tickets, I booked parking via a website at an Ibis only 15 mins walk from the stadium. That was only £8. So £50. Programme.... £10. We share it. £60. So £60 for the basics for two adults for the actual meeting / parking / programme. The rest are expenses. We drive from Leeds. My motor guzzles a little... so used £76 worth of diesel for the round trip of 500 miles. Yes... that is a long drive to do on the day... but the buzz of having a day out pretty much carries me along. We set off early and stop off on the way (using the Starbucks near Ross on Wye.. which was drive through only this year). So fuel (rather than hotel), tickets, parking, for two people: £136 or £68 each. How much would it cost to go to a gig or see a football match? All of this to watch a largely attended event of a sport we love in the middle of a struggling era in our sport. I personally think that we are LUCKY to have Cardiff. VERY lucky. Yeah... the racing may have been shocking this year. And I appreciate that people would rather see a track like the NSS at Belle Vue house such an event. I get it... I truly do. But it just isn't happening. Even with bolt on stands... once we remove the whole Cardiff experience... we could lose it forever. And tragically... life isn't about mixing and matching. We can't have a track like the NSS in a place like Cardiff. It's indoor on a pitch. And that's not criticism to those sentiments above.. I long for better racing.. desperately! I truly do. But life is all about 'what if's,' and sadly, that is all they are. Even if we could make the NSS at 20k seater stadium... how would that help? People go to Cardiff annually... families. We are trying to promote the sport. Kids go there. Imagine the disappointment for kids if we take a 40k event and slash it by two into a 20 / 15k event (my figures are just examples and not real). People would be let down and miss out hugely. And again... all of this planning for a meeting at a city which is hardly famed for it's sunshine? Speedway is pretty much fortunate to have the NSS. But it was never gonna be a big stadium. Tracks get no support. So yeah... it is a great racing track... but really... just the fact that the NSS even exists is pretty much a miracle! We are NOW a minority sport. Sadly. Rose tinted spectacles off time. It would be absolute domestic speedway suicide to dump off Cardiff and move it to absolutely ANYwhere. It really would. I would love the thought of a 'second GP' here some place... a "European GP." Or whatever, at another venue. I would be up for that concept. 100 percent. But the British GP at Cardiff really is something that we are ridiculously LUCKY to have. The sport here is critical / not stable.. and is on 'life support' right now. And yeah... bongo cams and presenters may be a bit tacky / trash (I am not having a dig at any poster here above... I totally agree :D) but for all of the little things that annoy... we rock up there once a year knowing that our money isn't wasted on a rain off, and knowing that we will probably be served up 'follow my leader processional racing' : pretty much how speedway is in general, if we are to be honest with ourselves.... and if we remove the romantic ideal that we often have of it. It has it's massive faults... but really, it's pretty much a great thing.
  2. DukesGreg

    Cardiff Gp

    Lucky enough to go for the fifth year in succession.... and as an event, it was up there with the rest. Racing, as always with Cardiff, was CLOSE enough and fast and furious... always tight, if not big on overtaking. Great to see Wuffy take the points... gutted to see him not take the win, but if anyone is going to gatecrash the Tai-to-win show, I would say, hand on heart, that it may as well be Grin. As at least you go away with a smile on your face for the winner. Cardiff IS a great speedway venue, track issues aside last year, you know that you are going to turn up and see a speedway meeting with the roof being on! It is a great spectacle, is a pumped up and exciting event with a noisy crowd, and it is great how Cardiff embraces the sport on this weekend. Interesting points Philip Rising, I know that you are absolutely a true speedway fan, however, you genuinely (and of course understandably) see the weekend through the eyes of somebody who visits the GP in a 'journalistic bubble.' No offence meant by that, but of course your weekend is more than likely 'expense free,' within reason. You travel at your leisure, get time off work (as your work IS speedway), no doubt have the hotel bill etc. covered within the parameters of your job, free entry, deductable travel expenses etc. so for you it is simply a matter of turning up and 'enjoying' the event. Again, I appreciate that fact, not your fault, is how it is. As a paying punter who travels down every year from Leeds with my young daughter, it is NOT so simple. Cardiff has always been known to be a bit of a shambles regarding the hotel / crowd ratio for ANY major sporting event, harking back to early days when they hosted the FA Cup Final etc. What this does is gives them, carte blanche, the opportunity to extract as much money as possible from personal pockets of the average fan who travels. I don't blame the hotels, it is how it is. Capitalism has brought the variable hotel tariff: 40k people descending on a city not much bigger than Wakefield gives them a huge possibility to line their pockets. The fact is though.. your average fan DOES pay with their own cash. It is not a business / work trip for all. I wouldn't swap Cardiff with London for any other reason than this. I have to drive down, watch the meeting without having a pint, and drive back to Leeds (500 miles approx) in a day due to being 'priced out' of the opportunity to stop over. I set off at 0815 yesterday, and got back at 0100. Tired. It is a lot of driving and a huge effort. Worth it? Absolutely, but I still have to do the whole 'hit-it-in-a-day' experience.. or wouldn't be able to go. London would offer more. It, AND surrounding areas, such as Harrow and all sorts of places wouldn't see hotels and B & B's extorting money due to it being sold out to saturation point... whereas Cardiff DOES. London also has the wonderful transport system. So the whole thing IS difficult for the fan who pays for every step of the way. LOVE the venue, but always wished that it could be that LITTLE bit easier on somebody like me, travelling without the money to hand over a small fortune to stay over. If I lived in Bristol or Gloucester, perhaps wouldn't be so bad! Greg. PS I think that the Fanzone should move back to the street. The street felt a little sad this year, with the whole thing being moved to near the train station. Bit of an odd one too for Cardiff as a city. People could come down on the train, see the Fanzone, go to the stadium, watch the meeting, leave, get on the train and go home WITHOUT actually seeing anything of the city. Not really a good tourism angle, keeping the Station / Fanzone / Stadium all within 300 yards of each other.
  3. DukesGreg

    Tai Woffinden

    A wonderful achievement and many congratulations to the lad. Brilliant! Kerching!
  4. DukesGreg

    Stockholm Gp September 21st

    Hope Gollob is okay... that's a pretty bad injury on a big vertebrae. The central nervous system runs all the way down the middle of the spine, any movement in there isn't good at all, fingers crossed that he gets sorted out and makes a full recovery. Fingers crossed for Tai also, the last thing he will have wanted was to collide with Gollob, he is leading the title race and simply needs steady points on the board. Sad to see these injuries, these temporary indoor tracks, although a source of good 'hemmed in volume' for atmosphere, don't appear to be safe one bit. Rain-proof, yes, but after the Cardiff "will it - won't it?" farce, I'd rather see us have an alternative venue where you can actually get real racing on a real track.
  5. Having seen his arm retract back on impact, I still genuinely find this very hard to believe Philip. However, we can only go on statements that are put out by certain parties the time. I still feel that he is very much more injured than anyone is officially letting on. Fingers crossed for the lad, either way.
  6. Let's be honest here too, there are some great riders in this field, and Tai was leading the chase in spite of being injured and riding through the barrier himself this year. I will have no qualms or 'what ifs' about him being crowned World Champion. Points wise, he's there anywhere... he has scored more GP points at this moment this year than any other rider on earth. Now if he'd have been 20 behind.....
  7. What's all this treatment by Red Bull nonsense then?? Having repeatedly studied the slo-mo of the crash from the inside angle, I am now officially stunned that this "Is he, isn't he" charade has gone on this long! He ISN'T!!! Can Red Bull take arms that have been completely bent the wrong way at the elbow (it went completely backwards on his impact on the floor!!!), and legs that have also behaved in a similar fashion, remove them, cure a break(s), sort out the massive ligament damage / swelling / etc. and have you up and twisting the throttle in 5 days???? If the Emil crash is what my eyes have led me to believe... (sometimes riders can have bad crashes and rag-doll and be quite okay... but this one was something else!), then I'd expect him to have months and months off... perhaps a year... before he can ride... if he ever can again. If you told me that was him finished, I wouldn't be surprised. That arm was bad enough alone... it could be damaged beyond repair forever. Red Bull Red Schmull!!!! If they've sorted this out in under a week, we should kidnap their people and put the cancer and AIDS scenario in front of them. Or take them 3 little fishes and 5 loaves of bread.... sort out global hunger....
  8. Very good points indeed, they are all racing that many times a week now, zipping from league to league and pinging across the continent, the GP has become even more of a 'man, fitness and machine' concept than ever before. It's turned into a season long war of attrition. Not just about riding well, but keeping every plate spinning for the duration. As Tai proved with his collarbone. You can think all is lost, but by getting up and kicking on, even when in pain, you can get points on the board that matter towards your total.
  9. Even if Emil doesn't ride, anything can happen. Tai is also prone to injuries due to the fact that his also a spectacular rider, who never gives up. I've seen so much in speedway, fingers crossed that Tai can see out the three GP's, and that Emil can contest them. It's a funny old game. This also. Woffinden has taken the lead in this GP series with a broken collarbone, and had reigned Emil in. I think it was Tai's for the taking anyway. If Tai does win it, like this, let history show that he was leading the GP series anyway, from behind, having rode with a broken collarbone that he gained in a meeting where he would have secured a lot more points anyway.
  10. Just goes to show us how our perceptions differ. I think that blue is simply riding straight (with a lead on the rider in white) and that white is flipping onto him. Not that I am disagreeing with you, just demonstrating that a still can be 'six of one, half a dozen of the other' when we all look at photographs. Hope that any injuries heal quickly.
  11. Better to support your team and have a speedway there, regardless of how the season goes on the track. I was brought up going to Halifax, and of course have no team of my own to follow. Better to have occasional smatterings of mediocrity, than to have nothing there to watch at all.
  12. It seems Mitchell Davey has a broken leg... and as Romans Lovechild says... an absolutely horrific accident. I'm not kidding when I say that he was LUCKY to escape with a broken leg. Best of wishes to him, and his recover. I still shudder now thinking of the crash.
  13. DukesGreg

    Ricky Ashworth - Best Wishes

    Best wishes to Ricky, hope that he makes a speedy recovery.
  14. Very entertaining meeting (I work every other Thursday, thanks to the weather Gods I got to a meet!), sunshine speedway and a very entertaining meeting with some good racing. Was concerned after heat one when Lawson registered a coconut, but he was great after that, and Sheffield definitely needed it, with the Diamonds well on the gas. Roynon was tentative (understandably), but showed his class once out in front. It'll come for him, he's just had a bad time of it lately. Lewis Kerr looked VERY good for the Diamonds from reserve, I think that he is a good prospect, and one to watch. Thankfully Ludwig Lindgren wasn't too beaten up after his crash, he was wellying in coming into that 3rd bend... good to see him up. As for Heat 15? Was an awesome (a much overused word normally!) ride by Hall... to secure the win on the night he just needed to break their pairing up, but once he was in second he seemed to just breeze into contention for the lead... and a great rounding by him to take the chequered flag. Probably not enough on aggregate for a progression... however, not fussed here. When you pay your cash on the door at speedway, you hope that you will be entertained. Shame it's not like this every week, good night, good racing, great sport.
  15. DukesGreg

    Bradford To Return ?

    I was in the centre last year, visiting Lister and Horsfall for a watch warranty issue / repair. It's actually quite a nice little city centre, so you probably didn't land on the full lot mate.
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