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brianbuck

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brianbuck last won the day on October 28 2014

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  1. brianbuck

    Birmingham Brummies 2019

    Now that the dust seems to have settled a bit on this business, I'd like to put forward some of my own observations. I'm not trying to blame anyone and nor am I trying to defend anyone - just giving my own thoughts on an unfortunate matter which I agree, has been damaging for speedway as well as for Birmingham. Speedway is not like football in which a club can field a seriously weakened team and still get a draw or even fluke a win by packing their defence and playing in a negative way. Speedway matches have to be competitive and for this to be the case, the competing teams need to be reasonably balanced. If the meeting had gone ahead last Wednesday, then Birmingham would have been obliged to track a team which had no chance of making a competitive match of it, so to postpone it made economic sense. Those who suggest that the BSPA should take "action" should realise that matches are postponed and re-arranged quite frequently (albeit usually with a bit more notice than this one!) - and that Birmingham and Eastbourne had agreed a re-staging date BEFORE the announcement of the cancellation was made, so no rules were broken in that respect. I agree that to come up with a fictitious reason for the postponement was unwise, and is probably now regretted, but I don't think this was done with the intention of hoodwinking the supporters who are well able to put two and two together - more as a wish to provide the media with a plausible reason. This situation is not unique - it has been done before and it will be done again. I'm not saying I like it - I don't, but to a point I can understand the reasoning. Last season, Poole postponed one of their home matches in exactly the same circumstances, and made no secret of their reason for doing this. They did it "honestly" as some have suggested, and likewise, they and their opponents had agreed an alternative staging date before the call-off was announced, but this did not prevent or lessen the volley of internet criticism which came their way. The rules say that a guest or rider-replacement cannot be used for a missing rider if he has not previously ridden for you. This is fair enough and would have been applied in this instance (although by splitting hairs) it could be argued that Adam Ellis HAS previously ridden for Birmingham, and the question has been asked (but not answered) as to why this rule was not applied to Wolverhampton who have been missing Nick Morris all season and who has never yet ridden in their colours? Birmingham have had a rough time of it so far this season and most will agree that the team has looked fragile, so if there is to be a case of turning a blind eye to the rule to help out a struggling club in a meeting which to all intents and purposes is a dead rubber, then surely this should have been the one? I don't expect many to agree with me on this, and I really don't mind that - but I thought I'd set down my two-pennorth!
  2. brianbuck

    Brummies v Eagles 1.5.19

    It seems that GA and myself are being "challenged" to respond to the earlier post, si can I say that I am not and never have been, involved in any way in the administration or the operation of the Birmingham forum. I am a regular poster on this, but nothing more. I have no problem at all with anyone having differing opinions to myself - or in them airing them! I do know the people who run the forum though.They are genuine, fair-minded people and have never banned anyone for their views - only when their comments are either offensive or personal - and this seems to be the norm with all club's supporters' forums. The Brummies performance last Wednesday was deplorable - it doesn't require an expect to recognise that, and it is also clear that much better performances will be required if the team is to make any impression at all this season. Having said this though, we have had, discounting the opening meeting with Wolverhampton, which none of us expected to win, two home meetings, both against what I feel are a couple of the League's stronger clubs, one of which produced a narrow defeat from what the majority of supporters agree was a creditable effort, and one pretty awful showing last Wednesday, so it is hardly fair to rubbish the whole team on the strength of just two matches? Personally, I think the make up of our team is very fragile and that we will need all seven of our team to at least ride to form if we are going to register a few wins, but I'm prepared to give all the riders a reasonable chance so whilst there will be a few ready to throw in the towel after two meetings, I hope the majority will do likewise.If that's "blinkered" or "towing the management line" then so be it!
  3. Could Workington survive as a National League club? Eastbourne and Birmingham were able to keep afloat by doing this, but for Lakeside, it was a disaster. Workington's geographical position might make such a move more of a gamble, and supporters living in the vicinity can probably give a more accurate opinion about this than I can - but if Workington's average crowds last season were around the 500 mark, and they could maintain this kind of level, this would be perhaps, a feasible option?
  4. brianbuck

    RACE COMMENTARY?

    Ian Jones at Wolverhampton shouts his way through the last lap of most of the races at Monmore - and it is really irritating. With the noise of the bikes and a very loud PA it is virtually impossible to make out what he is saying, so the whole operation is totally pointless. Peter York used to do something similar at Coventry, and even if it were audible, where is the sense in telling people in the crowd something that they can see perfectly well for themselves? If speedway tracks were a mile in circumference there might be a case for it, but not when the whole of the race is visible to everyone.
  5. brianbuck

    Birmingham v Leicester

    Most people on this site seem to be sympathising with the Birmingham management on this - which I think is reasonable. All the weather forecasts predicted heavy rain, (some said torrential), hail, thunder and lighting plus a sharp drop in temperature. All of this did come, but only in very short bursts, and in hindsight, conditions would have been quite decent had the meeting gone ahead. It isn't the first time that a meeting has been called off on the strength of a poor weather prediction which then proved to be inaccurate, and it won't be the last.
  6. brianbuck

    Birmingham Brummies 2019

    The potential banana skin is of course that whatever alternative land might be found, it will still have to secure planning permission which in a City the size of Birmingham is always going to be difficult.
  7. brianbuck

    Birmingham Brummies 2019

    Thank you for the kind compliment. All kinds of history has a fascination for me and the City of Birmingham has a remarkable speedway history with racing having taken place at six different venues in the City plus a one-off test trial at a seventh venue. Sadly, only two of these stadia (Perry Barr and Bordesley Green) are still in existence, with the much maligned Bordesley Green track now having a tarmac surface which seems to rule out speedway ever re-appearing there again in the future. Perry Barr seems safe from the developers until at least 2023 (I wouldn't bank on the safety of the covenant which I know from past experience, is not foolproof) but one of Tony Mole's last acts of his time in charge was to extract an undertaking from the City Council that if the stadium site was to be included in a future re-development programme, an alternative venue for speedway and greyhound racing would be provided. Where such an alternative venue would be, I have no idea - but the Council do own the Bordesley Green site and there is more than sufficient unused land there to construct a speedway circuit - so perhaps?
  8. brianbuck

    Birmingham Brummies 2019

    It's a nice thought, but back in the old days, Birchfield Harriers were always obstructive towards the speedway despite the Brummies being a major source of income for them. Speedway could and should have been back there from 1961 onwards but the Harriers put forward every conceivable reason to refuse to do a deal - even when the would be promoters Doug Ellis and Phil Hart offered to pay the rates for them (which the Harriers claimed had been tripled by the Council.) The new Alexander is a beautiful stadium, but I for one, wouldn't like to have to be beholden to Birchfield Harriers in the way that we were in the 1950's. One of their favourite tricks was to suddenly hold an athletics meeting on a Saturday afternoon (when the speedway race night was Saturdays) and then deliberately drag it out so that there was not enough time to prepare the track properly for speedway.
  9. brianbuck

    Birmingham Brummies 2019

    It's unfair to criticize the GRA over bar prices at Perry Barr. They also think that these are too high but they have no option but to charge what their London masters say that they have to charge. The GRA now only operates Belle Vue and Perry Barr as has been said, but they are not an independent organisation - they are owned by a larger London group called RCP, but as far as Perry Barr is concerned, the GRA management and staff have been more than helpful and co-operative towards the speedway club in every respect. Perry Barr Stadium is owned by the City Council but leased to the GRA. Part of the grandstand is a Grade 2 listed building and there is a covenant on the stadium which states that it must be used only as a sports venue. The stadium was a gift to the City made by Lord Alexander in 1888, and it's original name was The Alexander Stadium and was the domain of Birchfield Harriers Athletic Club until the late 1970's when the City Council constructed their present home - originally styled "The New Alexander Stadium." The Council planned to sell the old stadium to Sainsburys at the time, but were prevented from doing this because the Alexander family would not agree to lifting the covenant. The old stadium, then derelict, was leased to The Perry Barr Greyhound Club in 1985, and the Greyhound Club was sold to the GRA in 2002. The original speedway/Athletics track was 402 yards slightly shorter than Belle Vue (Hyde Road) and Norwich but very similar in shape to both of them. The new dog track constructed in 1986, covered the home straight and the two bends of the old speedway circuit, but extended further over what used to be concrete terracing on the back straight, and the new speedway track, laid in 2007, inside the dog track of course, was of a very similar shape to the original although with much shorter straights. For anyone with an interest in local history, at the high point of the rear of the central part of the grandstand can be seen the leaping deer emblem of Birchfield Harriers surmounted by the club's motto "Fleet and Free." Here endeth the history lesson!!!
  10. brianbuck

    Rider replacement

    I have never liked rider-replacement - but it is infinitely preferable to guest riders, and both have become easy options in a variety of circumstances which would never be tolerated in any other well-run professional sport. The excuse of "not enough riders" just doesn't wash - the promoters themselves have created this situation by allowing so many riders to ride for more than one team - a thoughtlessly pointless rule which has delivered no benefits whatsoever and has only created a scenario of some riders being able to double their earnings at the expense of fellow riders whom they have denied the chance to earn anything at all. So many riders now seem to consider it a God-given right that they can ride for two teams so there is absolutely no chance of this daft and embarrassing rule ever being rescinded - the riders just wouldn't stand for it. Apart from 30 or so riders being deprived of a team place because 30 of their colleagues MUST have two teams, the knock-on effect has been to force the better National League riders to stay in the National League instead of progressing upwards as should be the case. Understandably, many of them will take the view that why should they not pick up more cash from scoring a dozen or more points per meeting as a National League rider when the alternative is only scoring 2/3 and earning peanuts in a higher league and always being in danger of the chop at the same time? Perhaps one day (the day that will convince me that the age of miracles has not passed) speedway will re-structure itself with properly defined teams in each division, and one man-one-team, with promoters forced to develop their own extra riders for use when a team man in injured, with no guests and no rider-replacement. Every other sport does this - and supporters accept that injuries and loss of form are all part and parcel of their particular sport - so why should promoters think that speedway must be so different?
  11. brianbuck

    Swindon Stadium

    Can't see why people should be getting so paranoid about this. Birmingham's track was laid down from scratch in 8 days in 2007. Swindon only have one bend to re-shape so I can see no reason why the track shouldn't be ready and bedded in, for the start of the season.
  12. brianbuck

    Swindon Stadium

    Does anyone remember Swindon's experiment with an "Esso" shaped track in (I think) 1958? The track manager then was a former rider Alf Elliott who had a theory that a track should be "Esso" shaped to reflect a rider's natural racing line. There was a lot of publicity in the speedway press at the time but I never managed to get to see a meeting on the track, although I remember reading that several riders were unhappy with the new shape at the opening meeting on it, and the idea seemed to be quickly dropped as the track had reverted to its original shape well before the end of that season.
  13. brianbuck

    John Chaplin

    Very sad to hear of John Chaplin's passing. He was, like myself, a lifelong Birmingham supporter, but his reporting was always impartial and his many speedway books were always interesting reading. He and I both rode for the same Cycle Speedway club - Birmingham Lions (who in more recent years changed its name to Sandwell). I started riding in 1953 when I was 13 when John was one of the leading riders in the club, but as a beginner, I was in awe of the senior club members and didn't really get to know him then. Later on, through our mutual love of all things "Brummies" we became good friends. I knew that he was battling against a very painful illness, but didn't realise that the end was so close. John will be sorely missed by not just those who knew him personally, but by everyone connected with speedway. Rest in the peace of the Lord John - and thank you for your friendship.
  14. brianbuck

    Sell me your team to Support

    It's clear from these comments that regardless of tracks, it's really the people who most matter. I've followed my beloved Brummies for the last 66 years and I know that speedway people are the best people in the world, so whichever team you decide to follow, enjoy a great season.
  15. brianbuck

    Riders Who Never Made It?

    Then again, there were riders who came to this country on the backs of reports suggesting that they would go on to great things but faded away without ever making any kind of impact. Remember Arthur Malm at Edinburgh, Otto Holoubek at Ipswich, Mark Cherry at Birmingham, or from further back, Bill Jemison also at Birmingham. Pretty sure that there were plenty more like these.
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