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tmc

Ole Olsen Interview

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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. 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 point is, Olsen has got off his backside and showed the resolve and initiative to do just that with the GP.

 

You're angst would perhaps be better directed at the British promoters who have sat back and watched as Olsen, BSI and the FIM have taken their riders away and led the sport into a new era that is NOT dependent on the British domestic scene for its success.

 

What you are suggesting is obvious and correct, but who at the BSPA can/will make it happen? They seem to have given up the ghost.

Edited by tmc

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The point is, Olsen has got off his backside and shown the resolve and initiative to do just that with the GP.

 

You're angst would perhaps be better directed at the British promoters who have sat back and watched as Olsen, BSI and the FIM have taken their riders away and led the sport into a new era that is NOT dependent on the British domestic scene for its success.

 

What you are suggesting is obvious and correct, but who at the BSPA can/will make it happen? They seem to have given up the ghost.

 

Yeah, yeah, and Olsen is quite happy to see British Speedway shut down for two years. That's how much he recognises British Speedway - the country which helped and trained him into becoming a world champion 30 years ago. He needed us then of course.

I think British promoters leave a lot to be desired, but at least they're putting their money and life into trying to keep fans happy in this country. Now Olsen's out of British Speedway he doesn't give two hoots.

Be careful to suggest they've "given up the ghost". Someone might just do it and spoil Olsen's little party.

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There was only one other individual that closed speedway down for a few years.

 

 

Adolf i think his name was? Get my drift.

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Be careful to suggest they've "given up the ghost". Someone might just do it and spoil Olsen's little party.

 

I'm not holding my breath, DD!

 

As for your earlier comment about John Berry... if the promoters who followed him into the sport (and many of those who were there at the same time) had acted on his advice, then maybe British speedway wouldn't be in the state it's in now.

 

Berry was good for the sport, very professional and very successful. He has paid his dues and, regardless of where he lives now, he is entitled to his opinion, just as you are on this forum.

 

Don't blame Olsen for all of British speedway's ills.

Edited by tmc

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I'm not holding my breath, DD!

 

As for your earlier comment about John Berry... if the promoters who followed him into the sport (and many of those who were there at the same time) had acted on his advice, then maybe British speedway wouldn't be in the state it's in now.

 

Berry was good for the sport, very professional and very successful. He has paid his dues and, regardless of where he lives now, he is entitled to his opinion, just as you are on this forum.

 

Don't blame Olsen for all of British speedway's ills.

 

I'm never going to change your opinion of John Berry judging from his gush that ruins your brilliant magazine. It's the reason I don't buy it.

All this nonsense that British speedway should have acted on his advice. He was there at the time. Now he's claiming that nobody would listen to him or involve him. He was part of it and now tries to detach himself from it. I think it's called selective memory.

I'm not blaming Olsen for all of British speedway's ills. He was the one who has suggested British speedway closes down for two years - of course I'm going to be angry about that. Wouldn't you?

This is nothing personal against you. I really think Backtrack is a good read, but is ruined by Berry overkill IMO.

 

 

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I'm never going to change your opinion of John Berry judging from his gush that ruins your brilliant magazine. It's the reason I don't buy it.

This is nothing personal against you. I really think Backtrack is a good read, but is ruined by Berry overkill IMO.

 

It sounds as if you've got something personal against John Berry, though.

 

How can you claim that his contribution to Backtrack 'ruins' the magazine and is the reason you don't buy it? He usually writes just the two opening pages profiling the 'main man', plus maybe one other piece at max. Hardly overkill.

 

In fact, if you'd read the latest issue, you would have seen that he pointed out some less than endearing aspects to Olsen, which you might even have found yourself agreeing with.

 

He's a good writer and whether you agree with what he says or not, a lot of people are interested in what he has to say.

Edited by tmc

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It sounds as if you've got something personal against John Berry, though.

 

How can you claim that his contribution to Backtrack 'ruins' the magazine and is the reason you don't buy it? He usually writes just the two opening pages profiling the 'main man', plus maybe one other piece at max. Hardly overkill.

 

In fact, if you'd read the latest issue, you would have seen that he pointed out some less than endearing aspects to Olsen, which you might even have found yourself agreeing with.

 

He's a good writer and whether you agree with what he says or not, a lot of people want to read what he has to say.

 

I'm not one of Berry's psycophants, lets put it that way. As you mentioned in an earlier post, we are all entitled to our opinion.

I have found out in just one post from you the less than endearing aspects of Olsen. I don't need John Berry to tell me.

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Olsen was a legend on the track and will always be remembered as one of the greatest of all time as possibly the best known rider from the sport. Ask 100 people on the average high street (over the age of 40) to name a speedway rider and I would say at least 20 would name Ole.

 

Now the GP's - World Championships have moved forward and with the coverage from Sky it has become a great sport to watch on TV. I know a number of people that dont go to Speedway, but watch the GP's every time and love it.

 

Now Ole was the main man behind most of these changes and he has done a great job with them. So when he recommends that British Speedway shuts for two years ..... should we take note ?

 

 

Or should we learn from what Ole has achieved with the GP's and appoint a former top class rider to over look the British Speedway future. Someone that has been at the top, knows what is needed to entertain, put on a good show and someone that can draw up plans on computers and do advanced plans.

 

 

So why not get Sam Ermolenko in to look after the British Elite League. He would be there to over see all aspects of the league and promoters would work alongside him, but not over power him. He could get a team together to help put this into action like David Norris, Graham Jones, Peter Collins etc etc.

 

 

Bring a bit of the American style to the Elite League from someone that knows all the ins and outs of the sport and is not connected to any one team.

 

Its worked in the GP's .... lets give it a go in the Elite League .... Bring in Sam !

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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

 

I really must read things more carefully. For one glorious moment I thought someone had come up with a new track surface proposal. It would be good to see trials with a velcro surface at, say, Rye House; that should add a little bit of grip.

 

 

 

 

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Why do people say the racing in the GPs is boring just because the tracks are slick? Yes, there does tend to be an absence of dirt on many of the tracks, but the racing is probably better than you get in your average league match as the riders are clearly more commited. (Germany excepted obviously!)

 

Sometimes people seem so obsessed with how slick the track is that they don't notice that the racing hasn't actually suffered because of it.

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British speedway closing down for 2 years is clearly nonsense. I think Ole (and I'm no fan of his so far as the effect of the GP's on British speedway is concerned) was illustrating the point that if you brainstorm the unthinkable it can lead to other ideas that are pragmatic and 'outside the box'. He kept on about having vision - and I don't think the BSPA could be accused of this. After this years (yet another) 'most important BSPA conference for years' where is the plan to revive the sport in the UK? That's right, there isn't one. The Olsen and Gundersen interviews are at least thought provoking.

 

Look at the halcyon days of the 70's & early 80's. Why did GB rule the waves? It was because of the stream of British talent emerging from the old BL division 2. Then what happened? Other countries like Denmark put arrangements into place to develop young riders. Meanwhile in Britain the New National League struck out on its own & the 'training league' was no longer a feeder for the top league and became choc a block with foreign riders. When I look at the evolution of the Conference League it seems to me that the same mistakes are being made again. The BSPA just tinker with things at the periphery without dealing with the fundamentals.

 

The fact is that GP's affect UK speedway far more than Poland - who ride on Sundays and Sweden who ride mid-week. The GP's are in direct conflict with UK tracks seeking to run on a Saturday. As it is many GP riders do not want to race in the UK so what would we really lose if we ran without them?

 

So is an alternative to Ole's original concept (but drawn from his idea) to close down British speedway for 2 years so far as GP riders are concerned? Maybe. That way the elite league can run on Saturday's & not suffer the disruption of GP's. With the current team strengths would we really miss the Crump's, Andersen's etc. half a lap ahead of everyone else unless they are racing each other? We'd soon get used to not having the GP 'stars' in domestic racing and new stars will emerge - they always do. Plus regular Saturday racing would give promotrs the opportunity for fixture continuity and to run teams at their full strength (such as it is) and not try to run on GP night's without their star men being absent (with the attendant effect on crowds). Fans get regular racing in a consistent night & hopefully keep in the habit of turning up. The fact is that unlike the golden era riders don't have to ride in the UK to make a living and the sooner that is accepted the better. We can then cut our suit to match the cloth.

 

Kiss of death for our world & international prospects? Maybe but they are pretty dead now & a refocusing of our domestic racing might give young British riders a chance to develop & relaunch British speedway. Brits who are good enough would still be able to ride in the stronger foreign leagues - rather like foreign riders had to ride in the UK in the previous era. Then we'll see which of the Brits is really hungry for success. The reduced gap between Elite & Premier Leagues may increase the number of those graduating to the higher league rather than staying put in the lower league - if at the same time promotors reduce their reliance on foreign riders (can you hear me Mr Waite?) and promotion & relegation might be more viable. And if the BSPA put some real effort into facilitating the entry into speedway of young British riders maybe these ideas would stand some prospect of success.

 

Just a thought !

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Maybe. That way the elite league can run on Saturday's & not suffer the disruption of GP's

Apart from people staying an home to watch the box or attending the GPs in person! Trouble with banning all GP riders is that we will have a constant stream of fantastic riders, who the fans love to watch and support, disappearing from our league .....................

Other countries like Denmark put arrangements into place to develop young riders.

They seem to have the DMU on their side though, chucking money at them, do we have the ACU on our side? I don't see british speedway ever having tracks supported by our councils like the other countries etc so we will have to make the best of what we have. It would be great if a few more speedway only tracks owned by speedway promoters popped up around the country which could be available all year round for training of our youngsters. Mark Loram has said he'd like to get involved in training hasn't he? IF the ACU would support the training of the youngsters that would help immensely wouldn't it? Wishful thinking?

 

Now going back to the GP series, IF the FIM hadn't sold off the rights to the speedway world championship to BSI and now IMG but allowed the respective speedway countries to run it, any profit that they brought in could have been ploughed back into training up speedway riders of the future, instead any profit is being put in the back pockets of the IMG shareholders! Or is someone gonna tell me that there's no profit made? I'd like to be put right if I'm totally wrong .......

 

 

 

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IF the FIM hadn't sold off the rights to the speedway world championship to BSI and now IMG but allowed the respective speedway countries to run it, any profit that they brought in could have been ploughed back into training up speedway riders of the future, instead any profit is being put in the back pockets of the IMG shareholders! Or is someone gonna tell me that there's no profit made? I'd like to be put right if I'm totally wrong .......

 

What, plough it back into British youth development, just like the BRITISH promoters of the 70s and 80s did from THEIR Wembley World Final profits! Come on, now....

 

Why didn't the BSPA do what Olsen and BSO have done with the FIM back when they had real power, when England ruled the roost. It wasn't until the mid-90s that Ole finally got the FIM to accept his GP dream, so what were the Brits doing in the meantime other than burying their heads in the sand and missing all the warning signs surrounding them?

 

As we state in our interview with Erik Gundersen in this issue of Backtrack, the problems British speedway has now - in terms of lack of genuine talent coming through - is largely due to the woeful neglect of past generations of promoters - not just those of today. But past mistakes have still not be learned.

 

When England were dominating the world in the 70s, the BSPA were sitting on their laurels and thought the glory days would never end. Meanwhile, the Danes and Swedes did something about building for the future. And they're doing so again, along with Poland and Russia. Meanwhile, we whinge about too many foreigners. Well, until we produce enough QUALITY young riders of our own, which means starting at grass roots level (aged 9 upwards), then we will remain also rans of world speedway.

 

The seeds of England's destruction were sown in the mid-70s, when the NL went their own way and ceased to be a 'feeder' to the top flight BL tracks.

Edited by tmc

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