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RobMcCaffery

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About RobMcCaffery

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    Rob McCaffery

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    Unlike many on this forum I'm rather interested in speedway, actually ;-)

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  1. Race Nights

    It's one Friday, and a response to the Poles taking Easter Monday. Of course it makes sense to use it as an alternative. Surely even the speedway market won't be confused by one week's variation from the regular schedule? Why race on Tuesday night when you can race on a holiday?
  2. Race Nights

    When it was announced that Swindon would be allowed to race on certain Thursdays the phrase "protected Thursdays" was used, suggesting that these would be nights when only they could run to avoid clashes with SGBC meetings. There's so few fixtures in the SGBC this year that it would seem an easy job to have frequent missing Thursdays such is the wretched state of the Championship schedule this year.
  3. OAP concessions, why?

    SCB's thin veneer of intelligence is once more stripped away by his rancid and repugnant ageism. It's a familiar argument - "I know a pensioner who's well-off so every one of them must be." It's as intellectually and morally bankrupt as "All these foreigners are taking our jobs". I do wonder if he's got a problem with his parents or other elderly relatives, given the sick bitterness and prejudice he continually shows to the elderly. In another recent thread he came up with what were superficially intelligent comments about the way forward but which were invalidated by his comment "Stop pandering to the old, they'll be dead soon", or words to that effect. I'll leave you to consider for a moment just how repugnant that is. Don't be taken in by someone who is obsessed withe speedway rule book and averages. It doesn't make them intelligent, merely fixated. I had to correct him ages ago when he was spouting this regulation and that to point out that he was completely ignoring the key part of the rule book, the supplementary regulations which are issued during a season and regularly amend those rules., I remember SCB complaining about the car park at a certain track on the basis that it was damaging his very expensive car. Lovely chap. I'd park mine outside ;-) If people were singled out for such abuse on the grounds of race, gender or sexuality they would be rightly condemned by most reasonable people in society and in many cases prosecuted. So why is ageism allowed? Speedway may have an age profile that could do with reducing. The SCB's of this world would achieve that by making the sport hostile to the elderly and forcing them out on the basis that the young and 'cool' (i.e. his own perception of himself) are put off by the sight of geriatrics viciously sitting down because they can't stand up for two hours and callously drinking hot drinks from a flask because they know that the stuff on sale at the track is awful quality and overpriced. Shame on them! It's not the elderly that are the problem, it's the shallow, ignorant outlook of certain people at the other end of the age spectrum. Still, there's one consolation, given the modern trend to despise the old by the time he gets to be in that age group life's going to be pretty appalling for him. Yes I have attacked the poster, and I have not one iota of apology for doing this. I've posted some strong views on here over the years but they have all been based on a deep love of and concern for the sport, and not my ego. I had my brief spell in the spotlight and I can tell you I am much, much happier sitting quietly in the shadows now. When I see SCB's posts I see raw ego. I worked with a few TV technicians like him in the past and you would sometimes get those who developed appalling arrogance through working in the industry. I thought I'd seen the worst.......until now. I remember years back Sittingbourne getting their only away Conference League win at Newport. Almost everyone on the BSF were congratulating the then Crusaders on finally getting a win. One kid wasn't though. He went through every decision made in the match, every pass and incident, desperately trying to prove that the Kent side hadn't deserved their win. Ever since then I've been waiting for SCB to grow up. Seems like I've got a longer to go. Still, I'll probably be dead first, eh? Rob McCaffery - aged 60 and expecting the basic state pension only, if that when I can finally afford to retire. You see, instead of building up a career I spent too much time with speedway. I'm now partially disabled so have to have a seat at a track even if it's a folding one which SCB so despises. After 46 years of course I don't deserve a small concession on the admission in my advancing old age.....It would be nice to be able to enjoy the sport in my final years without having to put up with prejudice from this shallow clown.
  4. THINGS DON'T CHANGE

    Well, it's been a few years since I received my Honours Degree in Economic History - 38 years this summer (Liverpool if you ask - great pubs plus proximity to the far more essential 'schools' at Belle Vue and Ellesmere Port), but I'd say most sports show distinct inelasticity of demand given the huge rise in prices that it and other sports have got away with over, say those 38 years. Assessing such inelasticity of course is dependent on the reasons for the decline in purchasers of the product, price or quality of supply. There I knew some of it might come in useful one day.... Do not make me resort to econometrics ;-)
  5. Bt Sport Coverage

    As others have said Eurosport certainly isn't free, it's just included in the cheaper packages. Sacrificing quality but still having it on a pay TV channel and one that has shown scant regard for speedway even after it has agreed a deal to show it is not progress. In the UK BT's highest viewing figures reach above 1.5 million, for football of course and that is a high, not an average. However Eurosport's best is around 1 million, and that is for the whole of Europe. It may be cheaper but despite its Olympic deals and significant financial backing (Discovery) after nearly 30 years it's still very much a minority service. I do wonder if those wanting speedway on Eurosport are those who already have it as part of their Sky package but won't pay extra for BT.....
  6. Bt Sport Coverage

    Yes, let's lose a quality production, expertly presented by an experienced presenter with a solid speedway pedigree and programmes shown consistently as advertised and matches covered reliably and complete. Let's go for a service that can't be relied on to show matches reliably in a regular time slot and often delays coverage until late at night, often cutting out heats and whose basic presentation leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. It's also a station that rarely actually covers the meetings themselves, relying on taking the World Feed from BSI when they showed the Grand Prixs and simply took a feed from CMore when they showed Swedish speedway. The only speedway they've covered themselves has been the OneSport SEC and Pairs events. Yes, let's go from quality to third-rate and unreliable.....
  7. Why 2 Leagues

    It's fascinating to see the cynicism of Premiership fans here, and quite simply breathtaking arrogance that they are superior beings whose needs must be met. The second division was shafted by such arrogance in the nineties and you can understand a certain wariness now. In some ways you can draw parallels with the National League/Provincial League in the sixties when the dying NL acted as if it had the right to force Wolverhampton to join them. Their arrogance failed and the merged league that brought so much success was forged on the second tier's terms. The same is needed today but our 'elite' promoters and fans won't accept that, crying 'watered down' and demanding everyone spend money they haven't got like they do. A merger will only come after a genuine crisis. We're not quite there yet. Perhaps an acceptance that we're all just one small sport fighting for survival might be a starting point, and an understanding that just because your team is in the top division it doesn't make the management and fans some superior race.....
  8. THINGS DON'T CHANGE

    Those are convenient years HT. In 1971 there were 36 professional tracks. In 2018 you can only get to 28 by including amateur NL tracks. In 1957 there were 11 professional tracks. Things HAVE changed.
  9. THINGS DON'T CHANGE

    I was talking of 1981 and did mention Penhall. Carter & Gundersen was one heat out of 20. Jessup's Jubilee clip was an incident but didn't exactly 'make' the meeting, although it affected the outcome. Things happened but there wasn't a great deal of excellent racing, as ever at Wembley, bar Penhall's remarkable riding. That's what astonished people - good racing at Wembley! Sadly it was only a handful of heats. Yes it was the last Wembley World Final. How exactly did that make it a great meeting? Apart from ITV, KM Video filmed the meeting and when I joined them the following year this was one of the first meetings I wanted to watch. I soon learned that memory can play tricks. People remember the Penhall races but there was little else to enthuse over, unless you like bike failures...
  10. THINGS DON'T CHANGE

    Poland and the SGPs were yet to wreak their havoc. The weaknesses were already there, it's just that we were still the best payers. The 81 World Final is rather over-rated and relied almost totally on Penhall's brilliance. Those other stars were support players.
  11. THINGS DON'T CHANGE

    Well, I have seen 46 years of almost continual decline, in terms of support and numbers of professional tracks and the riding talent employed in the country. While this last point, as I have argued many times in the past is not as vital as many would think, it is a reality. To say that because the sport is still here then it's always been like this does seem rather odd logic. I have never claimed that "The sky is falling in" and predicted British speedway's doom. I am fully convinced that it will always survive at least in a semi-professional or amateur form, say today's Championship or NL level but I have had my severe doubts about sustainability at the fully professional level for many years, and certainly since its loss of Saturdays and now Fridays too. Outside speedway my academic background and my consuming interest still is in aspects of economic and social history. I study history in many forms, both through books and magazines and by video. I occasionally also visit source material when I can. I think I am in a fairly good position to be able to judge how aspects of society change over time. I certainly don't subscribe to the view that the past was automatically better. I'd like to think that despite having enjoyed many things in the past I am not in possession of 'rose-tinted glasses'. I do not lament lost youth. However, I do know what I enjoy and have enjoyed, and equally the reverse. I have seen wonderful things arrive such as the very technology that allows me to make this posting. I have equally seen matters develop that appal me such as the rise of social selfishness and erosion of basic human respect and consideration. I have no doubt whatsoever that British speedway has declined appallingly in that near half-century, mainly due to the impact of SGPs and Poland. I didn't see the disaster years of the 1950s but I did start about six years after the 1960s revival brought about by the creation of the BL. Off the top of my head there were about 36 professional tracks in the top two divisions in my first year, 1971. Now we have just over half that number. Nobody can suggest that is anything but a disaster, despite the existence of the theoretically amateur NL. In 1971 there were seven first division tracks running on Saturdays, over a third of the league. These included Wembley, the old Belle Vue, Coventry, Cradley and Halifax. All are gone. Outside London it could be argued the backbone of the sport has been lost. We have lost all speedway in London as well. No, things are far worse than they were in 1971. As for racing, that is subjective but while I feel domestically that racing has picked up slightly in recent seasons, viewing my videos of the 1980s I have no doubt that racing has declined, principally through the decline of outside passing. For years I watched racers take the brave challenge of opening the throttle and going for the outside pass only to be let down by cheaply-prepared or maintained tracks that failed to give them the grip to reward their bravery. There is still some. but not enough, and if a speedway lover like me sees this, what do you think the attitude of the casual supporters is. Id'd ask them if most hadn't voted with their feet. In Poland and the SGPs I feel the racing has recovered to the standard I once knew here, but feel that is a product of expenditure on tracks and incentives for the riders. Here though neither exists significantly enough. Just by bringing back GP riders you won't get GP racing without money. Yes people have warned speedway about its foolishness continually for years and have been ignored. I'd suggest that many who did have long-since found other things to occupy them. Claiming that just because the sport survives these messages are invalidated does nobody any good, neither the sport or contributor. The biggest problem with people or sports involved in a negative spiral is to convince them they haven't got a problem, whether they be a drunk or a sport that's lost its way. Speedway should be grateful that some still care enough to put over reasoned and constructive criticism. Certainly it does little to encourage such loyalty and carries on in its own complacent way, occasionally telling supporters off for not attending..... The fact that Philip can justifiably level the same allegations 36 years later is not a failing of his.
  12. THINGS DON'T CHANGE

    Quite, Philip. I dare say these wise words are still dismissed as 'troublemaking' by those in power. Promoters are capable, in most cases, of running a speedway track, often against all the odds and many pour in time and money to keep tracks going, but all that good work seems to drift away on the wind once they act together as the BSPA. It would almost be a kindness to put control in independent hands. Sadly the sport, even after 90 years is still not mature enough to do this, or more crucially accept the decisions taken by an independent controller or body. Short-sighted pragmatism rules and certain riders exploit it to the full. Your comments about rider commitments are at the heart of the current crisis. Riding in Britain for too many is just something to do while waiting to make big money in Poland. Of course you don't do anything to risk that, such as putting full effort into racing. People rightly praise the quality of commitment of riders in the GPs and Poland. Sadly it's unrealistic to expect similar commitment in races, or even turning up here, when the pickings are so poor. Compromise after compromise erodes integrity. Adding in a disregard for the paying customer by promoters and riders creates the current toxic situation. The problem is, I should be angry, but all I can really feel is pity.
  13. Kings Lynn 2018..

    No, it's about having teams of relatively equal strength so that you don't have a race to financial extinction for those who cannot compete economically. It's a case of not having the insanity of paying highly expensive 'star' riders blasting round half a lap in front and taking home more than the total attendance money. Sadly too many fans hide behind the "watered down" mantra that totally fails to realise that the sport in Britain is a brown ale sport trying to live off champagne. Yes, there was a day when we could afford the top talent but those costs have been disastrously escalated by the money being paid in Poland and riders' expectations soaring as a result. The bubble will burst but for now Britain has to find a way to survive until then and if it does not then find a way to survive. Having fans that see that the quality of racing is vastly more important that the quality of names in a sport like ours might help. At this level it's all about putting on meetings that will attract and entertain new crowds, not provide them with uncompetitive meetings but telling them,"Who cares, that's Tai Woffinden half a lap ahead of Jason Doyle". Most would say "Who the hell are they and why is there no action?". British speedway's situation cannot be simplistically laid entirely at the BSPA's door. The competition of Poland and the Grand Prixs have battered British speedway which never stood a chance. When the sport here tries to do something to survive it would be useful if these posturing 'supporters' actually demonstrated that support by dropping this damaging "watered down" rubbish, but then that would ask for a view of the bigger picture that too many cannot or will not even begin to try. This will be my 47th season in the sport and in those years I have watched speedway and often worked in it all levels from World Finals to training tracks. Thankfully I've learned that I was just as likely to see a decent speedway race at Iwade as I would be at Cardiff of Wembley. I would have missed so much joy if I had stupidly stuck to the "I don't DO second division" or "It's watered down" approach. In most sports the greater the talent the greater the entertainment, but that doesn't work in racing unless you have the enormous hype budget of F1. I adore the sight of a match being won by a rider bravely taking the outside line to win on the line and I don't care what his name or reputation is....
  14. I've already recounted the story of a former speedway promoter handing out the fivers to his stock car racers so won't bore the forum with a repeat. I had to get involved in stock car racing (banger racing is popular but often minor aspect of the sport, depending on location) in the early 80s and it was clear that crowds were quite superb for it, despite the lack of media coverage, and respect from the outside world. I'd go to speedway tracks and see them full for the car racing : Belle Vue, Coventry, Long Eaton for example. Even the smaller,. more remote locations like Aycliffe, Taunton, St Austell and Newton Abbot had crowds that would have been the envy of speeday promotions, even then. Speedway is torn apart by some for lack of credibility yet I lost count of the number of World Finals I would meet in oval car racing. It seemed every promoting group had its own World Championship for its various formulae, although at the higher levels BriSCA and Spedeworth managed to keep their world finals unique. Okay, so crowds were higher and costs lower, despite often 50-60 cars racing, many of which cost five figures to put on track. By contrast some other 'Banger' meetings featured cars dragged off the scrapheap, only to return after a few crashes. One other key difference from speedway was the lack of foreign racers. In fact in the cheaper formulae such as 'Stock Rods' or 'Saloon Stock Cars', outside championship events the drivers would all come from roughly a 40-50 mile radius. Even the 'World Finals' would often include just a handful of foreign racers, a few from the Dutch tracks and drivers from South Africa or Australasia imported for the event to drive loaned cars built to a different formula than their cars back home. As you can imagine the World Champions tended to be British..... So we have a sport with limited credibility, little international competition, almost zero media coverage, but with minimal costs attracting huge crowds. Why? I expect much of the crowd just wet to watch crashes and ignored the race order, nigh-on impossible to follow without lap charts and a commentator with access to them (I certainly didn't). The public didn't seem bothered by results. There was a following for 'names' on a national scale with both BriSCA stock car formulae and Spedeworth's Hot Rods having a troupe of travelling stars but I do suspect the attraction was simply action and entertainment. A society that drives far more cars than rides motorbikes is perhaps inevitably attracted more to four-wheeled racing. You could see though that this was a sport that simply got on with it outside the media spotlight, didn't waste a fortune attracting 'names; in from all over Europe, with competitors tracing for the fun of it, not the money, put the saved money into advertising, and one that stood no nonsense and just put on what the crowds enjoyed. There was one shining example of this. I went to Crewe just after the speedway had folded. Stock cars crashing on that track tended to stay crashed. The promoter had a way to deal with the mayhem after each of the several races. He had effectively a truck with a fork lift on the front with which he just picked the cars up and dumped them on the old cricket pitch and got on with the racing as soon as possible. It was astonishing to watch. No messing about and no taking the paying customers for granted by having a huge gap between races. Perhaps instead of sneering at Stock Car Racing or treating it as a destructive cuckoo in the nest speedway might find it useful to take a look at what it gets right. If they need to know when the next meeting is try the local paper which may well have a full page colour ad in it to inform them...... It made me realise that importing up to about a dozen riders from all over Europe and Australasia to race for big money in front of a crowd as small as a minor non league football club was insanity. It still is.
  15. One day I was supporter then a fire alarm at a supporters' convention saw me become a commentator. It's hard to believe it happened now. There is a book in it but the lawyers would have a field day. Bear in mind even when something is true you have to prove it is. I was never an insider which did rather complicate things. The odd thing is that every job I performed in the sport I was asked to do - I never applied. Anyway, the BSF has more important matters to discuss. I was just a bit taken aback to be quoted by Peter Oakes!
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