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True.

Not because of Denmark's dominance.

 

 

 

AS someone who regularly attended (and frequently fell asleep during) FIM Congresses, the old World Team Cup came under the microscope on several occasions including when Denmark appeared to have total domination. But nothing was done, not least because Denmark had a very strong voice at the FIM.

WHEN John Postlethwaite took the reins at BSI and became the organisers of both the SGP and SWC he had an idea for the team competition which in its concept was brilliant but, sadly, totally unpractical for speedway.

 

John envisaged a week long competition, all the various rounds and final would be in the same country, and all the participating riders would spend the whole seven days on site as it were promoting the event. It was tried, first in Poland and Denmark, but failed. Attendances at the events not including the host country were poor and the costs of accommodating so many riders for a week proved prohibitive.

 

JP saw it as a mini-soccer or cricket World Cup and hoped it would gather fans from across the speedway spectrum for the whole period of the tournament. It didn't. But it was worth a try.

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All of which I do appreciate.

We have all lived through these times together.

 

My concern is about the choices now being made for the future.

 

I can see, yet again, the argument for pairs so that more countries can put together competitive 'teams'.

And that the resulting meeting you envisage looks good.

Equally I hear the reasons why reserves may be necessary to make the pairs viable at all.

 

My problem remains that pairs events have never been that successful, really.

They have not captured the imagination of speedway folk before, much.

And specifically the three-man-pair version seems to have failed in the nineties when tried.

And these last few years that One Sport have comeback with it seem to have been largely ignored by the fans.

 

So, is it really worth another try, now?

Edited by Grand Central
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All of which I do appreciate.

We have all lived through these times together.

 

My concern is about the choices now being made for the future.

 

I can see, yet again, the argument for pairs so that more countries can put together competitive 'teams'.

And that the resulting meeting you envisage looks good.

Equally I hear the reasons why reserves may be necessary to make the pairs viable at all.

 

My problem remains that pairs events have never been that successful, really.

They have not captured the imagination of speedway folk before, much.

And specifically the three-man-pair version seems to have failed in the nineties when tried.

And these last few years that One Sport have comeback with it seem to have been largely ignored by the fans.

 

So, is it really worth another try, now?

WITH respect, the One Sport version is for corporate teams not national ones. Stick a Danish, Polish, Swedish and hopefully British race-jacket on the riders and the outcome could be very different.

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THE FIM changed the format because several countries were unable to field four or five competitive riders, especially in the qualifying rounds when it was also tough to find countries willing to stage them.

I'd say have less teams then, and make the Pairs some sort of second division.

 

There's only 9 countries strong enough to field teams in test cricket (even if there's 12 in theory), but that's the way it goes.

 

As I said, the suggestion to revert to a pairs format is far more likely to be down to a cost-cutting exercise.

WHEN John Postlethwaite took the reins at BSI and became the organisers of both the SGP and SWC he had an idea for the team competition which in its concept was brilliant but, sadly, totally unpractical for speedway.

I actually agree it was worth a try, but 12 teams was never going to be practical or competitive. If they'd just started with 8 there would have been better chances of success.

 

And that's not saying with hindsight - said it at the time.

Edited by Humphrey Appleby
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WITH respect, the One Sport version is for corporate teams not national ones. Stick a Danish, Polish, Swedish and hopefully British race-jacket on the riders and the outcome could be very different.

 

Agree that it is in that state now.

 

But when they started and for a couple of years they used national teams just as you suggest doing now.

Still a damp squib for most folk.

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But when they started and for a couple of years they used national teams just as you suggest doing now.

Still a damp squib for most folk.

I reckon it would be better as a club competition or representing leagues, notwithstanding the difficulties of working out who rides for which team.

 

But it still comes back to the fact that privately promoted championships shouldnt be sanctioned unless the wider sport is also financially benefitting.

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Agree that it is in that state now.

 

But when they started and for a couple of years they used national teams just as you suggest doing now.

Still a damp squib for most folk.

 

Correct and they didn't choose to abandon national teams either but was not allowed to continue to use them.

I think the problem with pairs competitions is that the pair riding skill is more or less extinct among today's riders.

Sometimes they can pull it off but usually they aren't able to.

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What a terribly sad decision if the FIM replaces the current SWC with a pairs competiton. Exactly the same mistake they made in the mid-90s, when they merged the then World Pairs with the then World Team Cup, instead of keeping both competitons alive and alternately stage them bi-annually.

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Correct and they didn't choose to abandon national teams either but was not allowed to continue to use them.

I think the problem with pairs competitions is that the pair riding skill is more or less extinct among today's riders.

Sometimes they can pull it off but usually they aren't able to.

I agree that the change was forced on One Sport.

But the national teams event they ran for two years never really took off anyway, did it?

 

I don't think there is any evidence that a pairs event would fail due to the lack of team riding ability.

If that were the case then normal league racing in Poland and Sweden would be failing for the same reason. And it isn't.

 

The real problem with Pairs meeting s that the public has never really got 'into' them.

There is something about the format that is just not that fulfilling.

They fall between a rock and a hard place; not individual nor team. They are neither Arthur or Martha.

 

Whereas the TV audience feedback had always been very 'pro' the SWC most years.

And the excitement on the BSF has always been quite vocal despite the Joker.

Even though track attendances may not have held up for anything but the final.

 

A one off pairs event may be a bit of a novelty, for some.

But I do not see it filling that 'mid season' break in the SGP calendar.

At least nowhere near as effectively as the SWC has done so well, so often.

Edited by Grand Central

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The real problem with Pairs meeting s that the public has never really got 'into' them.

There is something about the format that is just not that fulfilling.

They fall between a rock and a hard place; not individual nor team. They are neither Arthur or Martha.

The problem with the 7-pair, 21-heat format is your team is only riding once every 3-4 heats. With the SWC, your team is represented in every heat, which is perhaps why the 4TT format riding in pairs was dropped (plus the fact that two teams meeting in one heat can potentially collude).

 

But my main objection is that a pair or even 3 riders doesn't not really constitute a 'team', or benefit the countries with strength in depth as it should.

 

The SWC/WTC has usually been the most interesting competition down the years, even if it doesn't get the interest it should.

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The problem with the 7-pair, 21-heat format is your team is only riding once every 3-4 heats. With the SWC, your team is represented in every heat, which is perhaps why the 4TT format riding in pairs was dropped (plus the fact that two teams meeting in one heat can potentially collude).But my main objection is that a pair or even 3 riders doesn't not really constitute a 'team', or benefit the countries with strength in depth as it should.The SWC/WTC has usually been the most interesting competition down the years, even if it doesn't get the interest it should.

I think that is all pretty much spot for on.

 

The great thing about the SWC is that everyone has always had the same number of rides as all other teams.

Every race the score is seen as being the reality of where the competition stands.

The programme just works.

 

Pairs events are always all over the place in the programme and you never really get that tension from the race by race scoring that has been so apparent in the SWC.

Edited by Grand Central

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The problem with the 7-pair, 21-heat format is your team is only riding once every 3-4 heats. With the SWC, your team is represented in every heat, which is perhaps why the 4TT format riding in pairs was dropped (plus the fact that two teams meeting in one heat can potentially collude).

 

But my main objection is that a pair or even 3 riders doesn't not really constitute a 'team', or benefit the countries with strength in depth as it should.

 

The SWC/WTC has usually been the most interesting competition down the years, even if it doesn't get the interest it should.

They are good points. Having your team represented in every heat is very important as a spectacle. 2016 at Belle Vue, it was amazing atmosphere after Tai won his Joker ride then King and Cook won their rides, you just couldn't wait for the next heat.

With regards to potential collusion, the Aussies did that 2000, stopped GB from winning. (another reason I never want them to win anything!)

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FIM should rather try this pairs system for their ill-born WSL World Speedway League (if that will ever get off the ground)

 

Would give seven Club Champions from Polish, British, Swedish, Danish, Russian, German, and Czech leageus a chance to participate and with only three riders per team would ease the problem of riders on the books of two or more of those league clubs.

 

But they should not be allowed to tamper the concept of the SWC

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FIM should rather try this pairs system for their ill-born WSL World Speedway League (if that will ever get off the ground)

And that's the thing - the FIM allow one of their premier competitions to be devalued by turning it into a glorified best pairs, yet allow the creation of all sorts of mickey mouse events.

 

BSI should be told very firmly that 4TT format needs to stay, even if it means re-organising some rounds. For example, you could run the two Semi-Finals as a double-header, and then the Last Chance and Final together. That way you'd potentially get 8 sets of fans at one meeting, whilst always being assured of the host nation(s) being involved.

 

Or if it's a competitive issue, go back to the old league 'type' system. Going back to a pairs format doesn't show much imagination and would be a retrograde step.

Edited by Humphrey Appleby
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