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Ole Olsen Interview

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For those of you who aren't familiar with Backtrack magazine, there's a new major exclusive in our latest issue that will be of interest to supporters of modern speedway, as much as those who like to read about the past.

 

And being Ole, he doesn't hold back. Part of his radical thinking is to propose that British speedway CLOSES DOWN for two years! Read on... or, better still, by the magazine and read everything!!!

 

Sorry it's a bit long, but here's our full trailer for Issue 24...

 

We’ve brought you some major exclusive interviews in Backtrack magazine over the past four years, but they don’t come any bigger than this one, with three times World Champion Ole Olsen – the most powerful man in speedway.

 

Editor Tony Mac recently visited the original Great Dane at his home in Denmark and the result is a captivating 8-page interview with the man who put Danish speedway on the map.

 

As forthright and controversial as ever, Ole talks about his own illustrious racing career, including his memories of riding for Newcastle, Wolverhampton and Coventry in the British League.

 

Read what he has to say about:

 

*Mike Parker, the rebel promoter who brought him to England in 1967.

 

*Learning from the maestro, Ivan Mauger.

 

*Why he would have quit BL if he hadn’t been granted his wish to join Coventry in 1976, when the BSPA tried to force him to Hull. And what did he call Ian Thomas that so incensed the Vikings’ boss?

 

*Ole’s reason for turning down Briggo’s invite to join the Golden Greats…and why this man of the future always prefers to look forwards rather than back.

 

*His radical thoughts on the state of British speedway and how to cure them. “I think they should stop British speedway for two years – close it down – and then come back with a whole new concept,” he says.

 

*Olsen advises the BSPA how to handle riders who refuse to ride in wet conditions.

 

*And among his revolutionary plans for the continued development of the Speedway Grand Prix is to change the starting system, so that the man on the outside starts one metre in front of the rest on an angled start-line grid.

 

Our top writer John Berry airs his own personal thoughts on Olsen, the man who became his most difficult opponent when they managed England and Denmark respectively in the mid-80s.

 

All this and much more…and this is only Part 1! The second instalment of the interview, when Ole talks candidly about his feud with Hans Nielsen, explains why he backed Erik Gundersen and how that, in turn, also upset Tommy Knudsen, will be in our next issue (No. 25), when he also talks about his World Final ups and downs and Vojens.

 

ERIK GUNDERSEN

The second part of our Erik Gundersen interview, a 5-pager, also makes for compelling reading, although it won’t please British track bosses.

For the triple World Champion talks enthusiastically about his new role as Denmark’s Youth Trainer . . . and why the future looks rosy for his country and gloomy for the Brits.

‘Gunder the Wonder’ explains, in detail, how the Danes are re-building for the future with a structured youth policy aimed at producing the next generation of Nicki Pedersens.

But, as Erik warns here, it’s not only the progression of bike-mad kids in Denmark and Sweden who Britain should beware of. He predicts that Russia will follow Poland and become a major force in world speedway in the seasons ahead, having himself been offered a coaching role in the old Soviet Union.

The former Cradley Heath hero also offers to help Britain puts its house in order after years of neglect when it comes to youth development.

 

BELLE VUE – 80-year celebrations

To mark the 80th year of racing at Belle Vue, and in Britain, in 2008, we talk to former Aces’ boss Eric Boocock about what it was like to race at the much-missed Hyde Road raceway and the honour of being part of the famed Manchester set-up.

Booey also pays tribute to the late Allan Morrey, one of the unsung heroes of Belle Vie Speedway for many years.

 

JOE THURLEY

Although currently awaiting triple heart bypass surgery that he hopes will happen in April, the former Birmingham boss reveals the highs and lows of reviving the Brummies at Perry Barr in 1971, the glory days of the mid-70s and then his ill-fated decision to take them up into the top flight. It’s a gamble he now regrets.

 

KEVIN JOLLY

A strong East Anglian feel to this four-page interview, as former Mildenhall starlet Kevin recalls the tension of past local derby clashes in the top flight between Ipswich and King’s Lynn – and why he wished he’d never moved from Foxhall to Saddlebow Road.

 

DEFUNCT TRACK: RAYLEIGH

If you were a regular at The Weir track in south-east Essex in the early 70s, you’ll be wallowing in nostalgia with this 3-pager on the Rockets, who were revived by Len Silver in 1968 and ran until the dreaded bulldozers flattened the place at the end of the 1973 season.

 

NATIONAL SERVICE

How speedway was back page news – and occasionally even made the front! – during the glory days of the 70s and early 80s, when England ruled world speedway.

 

Plus…

The Rod Haynes Column, Life and Times of a 70s Racer . . . interview with former Middlesbrough announcer and team manager Tony Coupland, a tribute to ex-Oxford graduate Rick Timmo, and Q&As with Ian Hindle and Russ Dent, as well as your letters and the latest round of our Mastermind quiz.

 

_______________________________

 

If you don’t already subscribe to Backtrack, which is now entering its fifth year, it costs just £16.00 a year (UK) to have six issues delivered direct to your door. Or, if you want to try one issue first before committing, you can buy single copies for £4.00 (inc P&P) via the PayPal facility at the publisher’s website: http://www.retro-speedway.com

 

Alternatively, you can place your order over the phone by calling 01708 734 502.

Edited by tmc

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**And among his revolutionary plans for the continued development of the Speedway Grand Prix is to change the starting system, so that the man on the outside starts one metre in front of the rest on an angled start-line grid.

I suggested that on here a few years back :approve:

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Why not shut the GP's down for 2yrs and let the British league run at wkends and not have riders missing or not trying in the build up to GP's .Olsen has done nothing for s/way unless it is for his own benefit in the first place so please lets not revere this fellow for anything other than being a very successful businessman at the expense of our domestic league .

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:approve: FG

 

Olsen, the man who put Danish speedway on the map, wants to take british speedway off the map, so what happens to the stadiums whilst there's no speedway?

 

Yep have to buy that Backtrack!

 

 

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Olsen has done nothing for s/way unless it is for his own benefit in the first place so please lets not revere this fellow for anything other than being a very successful businessman at the expense of our domestic league .

 

You'd surely have to admit that his efforts and guidance considerably benefited:

 

A whole host of fellow Danish riders, especially Erik Gundersen and those who came under his paternal wing at Wolves and Coventry. As Ole says in Part 2 (which will appear in our next issue), his association with Erik actually had the effect of bringing out the best in Hans Nielsen.

 

Coventry Speedway, who were an unfashionale outfit and struggled poorly in the seasons immediately prior to Olsen's arrival in '76.

 

As a great rider himself, one who was often prepared to ride in poor track conditions and entertain us while others whinged, he contributed a lot of good to British speedway in his racing days.

 

And whether you like the GP or not, and regardless of how it has effected the British domestic scene, the professionalism and stature of the GP has obviously done the sport plenty of good on an international level, in terms of reaching worldwide audiences through TV coverage.

 

Yes, Olsen has benefited personally from all of the above...but then so have many others along the way.

Edited by tmc

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And whether you like the GP or not, and regardless of how it has effected the British domestic scene, the professionalism and stature of the GP has obviously done the sport plenty of good on an international level, in terms of reaching worldwide audiences through TV coverage.

 

I think the question that interests British speedway fans more is what have the GPs done for the good of the sport in this country.

 

Apart from providing entertainment for a limited number of fans who travel either overseas or to Cardiff to watch them, I'm struggling to come up with anything positive. I accept that they may sometimes add a certain soap opera value, as does F1 on television, but beyond that they appear to do little for British speedway.

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I think the question that interests British speedway fans more is what have the GPs done for the good of the sport in this country.

 

Apart from providing entertainment for a limited number of fans who travel either overseas or to Cardiff to watch them, I'm struggling to come up with anything positive. I accept that they may sometimes add a certain soap opera value, as does F1 on television, but beyond that they appear to do little for British speedway.

 

Thats more a reflection of lack of vision from British promoters. They have in effect been given 3 hours of prime time advertising on Sky Sports every fortnight showing the sport at its very best, and yet along with the luddite fans refuse to embrace the GP system and all the good to be gained, preferring tp pull against it in a vain attempt to keep the dying swan of British Speedway alive in its current format, operating as dismally as ever

 

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They have in effect been given 3 hours of prime time advertising on Sky Sports every fortnight showing the sport at its very best,

That depends on whether you think individual speedway is best or team speedway Jeff .............

and yet along with the luddite fans refuse to embrace the GP system and all the good to be gained, preferring tp pull against it in a vain attempt to keep the dying swan of British Speedway alive in its current format, operating as dismally as ever

Can you provide a link to the format for racing the British promoters need to improvise to bring in 10,000+ crowds at every track every week that you have posted on this forum please? Or tell us what you suggest??

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Thats more a reflection of lack of vision from British promoters. They have in effect been given 3 hours of prime time advertising on Sky Sports every fortnight showing the sport at its very best, and yet along with the luddite fans refuse to embrace the GP system and all the good to be gained, preferring tp pull against it in a vain attempt to keep the dying swan of British Speedway alive in its current format, operating as dismally as ever

 

So what's the story then Jeff? Are you yet another luddite fan of this dying swan of a sport? Just how dismal do you find speedway to be (assuming it's not too tedious for you to attend, of course?) And are you actually serious about the GP system "showing the sport at its very best"?

 

 

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Although I was a fan of Ole when he was riding at Cov he is very much a "my way or no way" kind of person. IMO I think he has too much of a say in what goes on and that cant be a good thing

 

And how about closing Danish speedway for 2 years & not letting any Danish riders ride in England

 

NO THOUGHT NOT

Edited by sancho

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So what's the story then Jeff? Are you yet another luddite fan of this dying swan of a sport? Just how dismal do you find speedway to be (assuming it's not too tedious for you to attend, of course?) And are you actually serious about the GP system "showing the sport at its very best"?

 

I wouldn't consider myself a luddite Ian, not by a long way. Any business must evolve or die, I am sure as a businessman Ian you would agree.

 

How dismal to I find speedway? well after 40+ years attending Belle Vue last season for me was the final straw, most matches were boredom in the extreme, and if a fan of such long standing (and I assure you I am not in isolation) is viewing speedway like this then no wonder no newcomers are being attracted.

 

And yes I am very serious about the GP being the pinnacle of Speedway at the moment, so much so that my live speedway this season will be restricted to two GP rounds, Cardiff and 1 other

 

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I wish Ole would get some dirt on the GP tracks and use those velcroed ads again.

IMO even the majority of GP's were on slick boring tracks the last couple of seasons

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I do love all these supposed lovers of speedway like Ole Olsen and John Berry who have all got an opinion about how British speedway should be run - ie with Olsen saying British speedway should close down for two years.

It's odd that these so called promotional geniuses seem to be able to knock the current British promoters from their ivory towers as though they have all the answers.

We get knocked on the BSF for having a go at promoters, yet these people are treated like royalty, yet do more of a disservice to British speedway by giving their big-time opinions in print slagging British speedway off.

If I were the BSPA, they should run their own British Grand Prix (like British superbikes), get a major sponsor and bigger prize money and run their own GP at Cardiff and nine other British venues like Sheffield, Birmingham, Poole, Belle Vue etc. Entice all the GP riders over and get them to sign contracts with bigger financial incentives so they cannot ride in both GP disciplines. See how Olsen likes it then. The GP has stolen Saturdays from British tracks, which was always a quality evening to travel and watch speedway. He is so smug about it too.

As for Berry, he is full of so much wind. Why doesn't he come back and promote if he seems to be so much better than anyone else.

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Just read on here that Ole says British speedway should shut down for two years, what are the fans supposed to do for two years, you would lose even more supporters.

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If I were the BSPA, they should run their own British Grand Prix (like British superbikes), get a major sponsor and bigger prize money and run their own GP at Cardiff and nine other British venues like Sheffield, Birmingham, Poole, Belle Vue etc.

Or as has been suggested on here before all the major speedway nations get together and run a speedway world championship of their own, for the benefit of speedway in their own countries .............

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