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So where did it all go wrong?

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On 12/01/2018 at 7:27 AM, steve roberts said:

...remember talking to the late Bernard Crapper about the times he would appear to 'rant and rave' at the referee whilst on the phone at the starting gate. He explained to me that often he was just passing the time of day with the referee but felt the need to liven up proceedings just to get the crowd excitable.

Told something similar by Cyril Crane who used to stomp up the ladder to the ref's box and wave his arms around.

He was apparently asking the ref if he wanted a cup of tea, one lump or two, milk?

Got the crowd excited.

 

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18 minutes ago, Richard Weston said:

Told something similar by Cyril Crane who used to stomp up the ladder to the ref's box and wave his arms around.

He was apparently asking the ref if he wanted a cup of tea, one lump or two, milk?

Got the crowd excited.

 

I remember on a few occasions when a rider was excluded that he would park his bike across the track at the start and go storming up to the refs box, not sure if any of the occasions were staged, but it all added to the excitement.

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On 14/01/2018 at 12:57 PM, Midland Red said:

I think it's agreed on here that one area which needs addressing is the "spectator experience"

An observation from an old-timer who remembers better days, which on its own may sound trivial, but identifies a part of the reduction in the "spectator experience" - and it may not be correct at some tracks, I can only speak of the late, lamented Brandon

In the "good old days", for each race, four well-turned out track staff members, dressed in a top and beret/cap of the four helmet colours, would each wheel out a bike onto the track - there would stand the four machines, ready for action

Then the four riders, helmeted and ready to race, would walk from the pits onto the track - entry of the gladiators - and mount their bikes

The clerk of the course would then indicate that the track staff would push the riders away for their journey to the start line

All this would take a couple of minutes, perhaps longer, but was all taking place in the view of the spectators - they would see the bikes, the riders, the preparation - during this time, and be able to cheer their individual favourites (or the opposite!)

The race if not stopped would last some few seconds over a minute, and it was usual for the riders - perhaps all four - to complete another lap, whether a lap of honour or just a "warm-down"

So there was "spectator experience" of around five minutes for each heat throughout the meeting

In more recent times - certainly after the introduction of greyhound racing caused a relocation of the pits gate - riders would appear on track on their bikes heading to the start, pushed off by their mechanics from inside the pits like the GPs (out of view of the crowd)

So the "spectator experience" was diminished

I said it sounded trivial, I know there was a reason at Brandon with pits gate moved, but it's the kind of minutiae which Charles Ochiltree as promoter would look upon as very important, and the riders too had a part to play by not disappearing off-track asap at race end

I discount the trend for copious "gardening" by riders at the tapes - I don't see that as anything other than a pain in the backside of many spectators who see it as a delay, not a build up, to the racing

Do today's promoters even consider such matters to be important?

 

 

I'd like this to happen again, it was just another little thing that was part of the show imo, there is no reason not to either. It's all part of the build up to a race tbh. 

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At foxhall the bikes are wheeled out onto the tarmac and riders get on and are pushed away in front of the home straight stand.  

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On 14/01/2018 at 1:53 PM, A ORLOV said:

I remember on a few occasions when a rider was excluded that he would park his bike across the track at the start and go storming up to the refs box, not sure if any of the occasions were staged, but it all added to the excitement.

In those days, the Promoters realised that the Supporters were there to be entertained - and that was all part of it. Like burning Johnnie Hoskins' Hat. All part of the fun.

Apart from the actual racing, there is little else for Supporters to watch these days - apart from the Tractor. :sad:

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20 minutes ago, The White Knight said:

In those days, the Promoters realised that the Supporters were there to be entertained - and that was all part of it. Like burning Johnnie Hoskins' Hat. All part of the fun.

Apart from the actual racing, there is little else for Supporters to watch these days - apart from the Tractor. :sad:

In those  days WK it was all about being entertained  you are right now it bloody annoys me when people say you have to have riders who can only improve what  about riders who give there all and entertain.Winning is not everything try to win but not at any cost winning is not everything there can  only be one winner.What would you rather WK ? be entertained have a good night out with friends and win nothing or watch a team that wins every week but the entertainment value is non existent.

Edited by Sidney the robin
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36 minutes ago, Sidney the robin said:

In those  days WK it was all about being entertained  you are right now it bloody annoys me when people say you have to have riders who can only improve what  about riders who give there all and entertain.Winning is not everything try to win but not at any cost winning is not everything there can  only be one winner.What would you rather WK ? be entertained have a good night out with friends and win nothing or watch a team that wins every week but the entertainment value is non existent.

That would do for me Sid.

We didn't win much at Sunderland but I still loved it.

We did win a Four Team Tournament Competition once 1972 or 1973 (my memory has let me down on this - I think it was 1972 though). Sunderland, Berwick, Workington and Teesside took part and over the four legs we won the Silverware. Happy Memories.

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7 minutes ago, The White Knight said:

That would do for me Sid.

We didn't win much at Sunderland but I still loved it.

We did win a Four Team Tournament Competition once 1972 or 1973 (my memory has let me down on this - I think it was 1972 though). Sunderland, Berwick, Workington and Teesside took part and over the four legs we won the Silverware. Happy Memories.

There you go TWK....

 

it was 1972

 

July 22nd FOUR TEAM TOURNAMENT 1ST LEG (at BERWICK)

SUNDERLAND 34: Graeme Smith 12(4), Jack Millen 11(4), Russ Dent 6(4), George Barclay 5(4). BERWICK 36, TEESSIDE 16, WORKINGTON 10.

July 27th FOUR TEAM TOURNAMENT 2ND LEG (at TEESSIDE)

SUNDERLAND 28: Jack Millen 9(4), Russ Dent 8(4), George Barclay 7(4), Dave Gatenby 4(4), Jim Wells 0(1). TEESSIDE 37, WORKINGTON 21, BERWICK 10.

July 30th FOUR TEAM TOURNAMENT 3RD LEG (at WORKINGTON)

SUNDERLAND 24: Jack Millen 10(4), Russ Dent 7(4), Dave Gatenby 3(3), Jim Wells 3(4), Darrell Stobbart 1(1). WORKINGTON 40, BERWICK 21, TEESSIDE 11.

September 3rd FOUR TEAM TOURNAMENT 4TH LEG (at SUNDERLAND)

SUNDERLAND 30: Graeme Smith 12(4), Dave Gatenby 10(4), Russ Dent 7(4), Jim Wells (res) 1(2), Peter Wrathall 0(2). TEESSIDE 27, WORKINGTON 26, BERWICK 12.

AGGREGATE SCORES: SUNDERLAND 116, WORKINGTON 97, TEESSIDE 91, BERWICK 79.

Edited by moxey63
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39 minutes ago, moxey63 said:

There you go TWK....

 

it was 1972

 

July 22nd FOUR TEAM TOURNAMENT 1ST LEG (at BERWICK)

SUNDERLAND 34: Graeme Smith 12(4), Jack Millen 11(4), Russ Dent 6(4), George Barclay 5(4). BERWICK 36, TEESSIDE 16, WORKINGTON 10.

July 27th FOUR TEAM TOURNAMENT 2ND LEG (at TEESSIDE)

SUNDERLAND 28: Jack Millen 9(4), Russ Dent 8(4), George Barclay 7(4), Dave Gatenby 4(4), Jim Wells 0(1). TEESSIDE 37, WORKINGTON 21, BERWICK 10.

July 30th FOUR TEAM TOURNAMENT 3RD LEG (at WORKINGTON)

SUNDERLAND 24: Jack Millen 10(4), Russ Dent 7(4), Dave Gatenby 3(3), Jim Wells 3(4), Darrell Stobbart 1(1). WORKINGTON 40, BERWICK 21, TEESSIDE 11.

September 3rd FOUR TEAM TOURNAMENT 4TH LEG (at SUNDERLAND)

SUNDERLAND 30: Graeme Smith 12(4), Dave Gatenby 10(4), Russ Dent 7(4), Jim Wells (res) 1(2), Peter Wrathall 0(2). TEESSIDE 27, WORKINGTON 26, BERWICK 12.

AGGREGATE SCORES: SUNDERLAND 116, WORKINGTON 97, TEESSIDE 91, BERWICK 79.

Great stuff  Moxey , Graeme Smith see him ride for Canterbury i think he had white  leathers .?

 

 

 

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Hi Sydney,   'So where did it all go wrong? '   such a simple question  with so many answers,  all from ones opinions, coupled with facts .     I have often asked myself , had it not been for my upbringing  of motorbikes, would I find today's  speedway as appealing as i first experienced going to the Firs at Norwich all them years ago.   acknowledging that  time sometimes distorts the facts,   but  I can vividly recall those special nights...    Living some 60 mls from Norwich meant an early departure, sometimes missing tea.   The journey was log and tiresome, travelling in an old A35  along a narrow and bendy A47 always seemed a long way.     The place was always heaving with car parking a premium .   We usually arrived plenty early.    As the start time got near so the shouting got louder, orchestrated by the man in the middle.      " 1-4; 2-4; who the hell are we 4.;;     N O R WI C H "    everyone appeared to join in.    The atmosphere was electric , even when the racing had stopped the buzz from the crowd was still evident...     Everybody was happy and chatting away and each with a smile on the face.

Strange part of all this,   I can easily recall the occasions,  but the actual racing becomes blurred with time.     The vision I have, is everything was dark,    the Leathers,   the shale,  the stadium , even the fans were dressed in dark coats and hats.  even the token floodlights added to the atmosphere with everyone trying to get a better vantage point.   Being part of it was all that mattered.... That smell would linger for days..    It was like we were the privileged ones to experience something so special...     For 3 yrs we never missed a home meeting , each day was counted down until we went again.      We had a good team    Ove Fundin,  Aub Lawson  Billy Bales  even a very young Terry Betts.   Mostly we won but the competition was always tight.     Results were not decided until those final heats meaning nobody left early.    The journey home was just as tiresome, and it was gone midnight before we got to bed.   Thankfully we always recovered with that Sunday morning lay-in. 

Jumping now to modern times,    I can leave home with 20 mins to start time,    and be back in by 10pm     Car parking is not a problem,   the place is usually empty and we have a choice where to stand,   Light is plentiful and colours are so evident.    The racing is  ... ... faster  and competition more spaced out.      usually results are predicable,  but not always..    What I miss most is the lack of connections, both with riders and the club,  its as though we don't matter and are taken for granted.    The biggest gripe I have is that the BSPA have concentrated all their efforts to keep the top riders here at the expense of everything else....      Excitement, and entertainment are in short supply.   VFM is questionable  and affordability borders on the line of madness.    But they still never listen to the fans......... 

 

So to answer my original question,   would the sport appeal to me like it did in them early days,   I'm' afraid the answer would be a definite no...  

 

 

Edited by g13webb
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19 minutes ago, g13webb said:

 

 

Jumping now to modern times,    I can leave home with 20 mins to start time,    and be back in by 10pm     Car parking is not a problem,   the place is usually empty and we have a choice where to stand,   Light is plentiful and colours are so evident.    The racing is  ... ... faster  and competition more spaced out.      usually results are predicable,  but not always..    What I miss most is the lack of connections, both with riders and the club,  its as though we don't matter and are taken for granted.    The biggest gripe I have is that the BSPA have concentrated all their efforts to keep the top riders here at the expense of everything else....      Excitement, and entertainment are in short supply.   VFM is questionable  and affordability borders on the line of madness.    But they still never listen to the fans......... 

 

So to answer my original question,   would the sport appeal to me like it did in them early days,   I'm' afraid the answer would be a definite no...  

I actually feel like the sport that is today is not the same sport that I grew up with and loved , I listen to someone like tai woffinden and its like he is talking and doing something a completely different sport ,all the talk is fitness,money, tuners. diet etc and I couldn't care less , nobody talks about the love of racing or the love of their teams anymore , speedway has never been such a individual rider only sport as it is today , its gone like motox an individualist competitor sport and the bspa/scb or whoever is running the sport here are just letting it happen and making rules to make it happen, the fans don't need to be there anymore apart from to pay the rider, there is no feeling for fans, the fan experience doesn't seem to matter, there are a couple of exceptions to that with a couple of clubs but on the whole that's how I feel about british speedway

 

 

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14 hours ago, g13webb said:

 

   The biggest gripe I have is that the BSPA have concentrated all their efforts to keep the top riders here at the expense of everything else....     

 

 

You're clearly living in some alternate world.

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On ‎18‎/‎01‎/‎2018 at 7:55 PM, g13webb said:

 

Hi Sydney,   'So where did it all go wrong? '   such a simple question  with so many answers,  all from ones opinions, coupled with facts .     I have often asked myself , had it not been for my upbringing  of motorbikes, would I find today's  speedway as appealing as i first experienced going to the Firs at Norwich all them years ago.   acknowledging that  time sometimes distorts the facts,   but  I can vividly recall those special nights...    Living some 60 mls from Norwich meant an early departure, sometimes missing tea.   The journey was log and tiresome, travelling in an old A35  along a narrow and bendy A47 always seemed a long way.     The place was always heaving with car parking a premium .   We usually arrived plenty early.    As the start time got near so the shouting got louder, orchestrated by the man in the middle.      " 1-4; 2-4; who the hell are we 4.;;     N O R WI C H "    everyone appeared to join in.    The atmosphere was electric , even when the racing had stopped the buzz from the crowd was still evident...     Everybody was happy and chatting away and each with a smile on the face.

Strange part of all this,   I can easily recall the occasions,  but the actual racing becomes blurred with time.     The vision I have, is everything was dark,    the Leathers,   the shale,  the stadium , even the fans were dressed in dark coats and hats.  even the token floodlights added to the atmosphere with everyone trying to get a better vantage point.   Being part of it was all that mattered.... That smell would linger for days..    It was like we were the privileged ones to experience something so special...     For 3 yrs we never missed a home meeting , each day was counted down until we went again.      We had a good team    Ove Fundin,  Aub Lawson  Billy Bales  even a very young Terry Betts.   Mostly we won but the competition was always tight.     Results were not decided until those final heats meaning nobody left early.    The journey home was just as tiresome, and it was gone midnight before we got to bed.   Thankfully we always recovered with that Sunday morning lay-in. 

Jumping now to modern times,    I can leave home with 20 mins to start time,    and be back in by 10pm     Car parking is not a problem,   the place is usually empty and we have a choice where to stand,   Light is plentiful and colours are so evident.    The racing is  ... ... faster  and competition more spaced out.      usually results are predicable,  but not always..    What I miss most is the lack of connections, both with riders and the club,  its as though we don't matter and are taken for granted.    The biggest gripe I have is that the BSPA have concentrated all their efforts to keep the top riders here at the expense of everything else....      Excitement, and entertainment are in short supply.   VFM is questionable  and affordability borders on the line of madness.    But they still never listen to the fans......... 

 

So to answer my original question,   would the sport appeal to me like it did in them early days,   I'm' afraid the answer would be a definite no...  

 

 

Good post. It was interesting reading last weeks speedway star about how to attract a younger audience to speedway. Unfortunately the things that first hooked us 40 somethings in the 70's and 80's was as described in the star "the strong aroma of Castrol R, the throaty roar of the 4 stroke 500 hundred cc engines. Add to that the speed and the crackling atmosphere on the terraces for the big matches under the lights and you had a magical experience as a kid. Move on 30 years and the smell has gone and so has the noise ,taking with it the atmosphere in the stands ,a somewhat watered down version to what we had  .Watch some old footage from the 80's on Youtube and you can hear the crowd before each race starts. Is it any wonder youngsters are not hooked any more, todays machines are also not compliant with the tracks in this country any more, it might be fine in Poland but only the new purpose Belle Vue is anywhere near of the shape and preparation required. As someone who was hooked, I'm now unhooked on what I'm watching in Britain, most of the time the racing is poor, processional strung out stuff with little excitement, speedway is lucky that many of those over 40 still attend out of habit and the social side rather than the excitement of what they are watching. Unfortunately the future looks grim, the machines are not going to change and neither are the tracks on which they race. Speedway in Britain  may have been in decline since the eighties but it has been more rapid since 2011 when the new silencers were brought in.

Edited by New Science
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8 hours ago, BWitcher said:

You're clearly living in some alternate world.

Depends which world you live in.    

Rather then controlling the costs  and concentrated on the sustainability of this sport,  the bosses felt it right to pay the  extravagant fees required by the top riders,   even to the point of self destruction....        This  has driven up admission fees,  and  by getting rid of the second half's ,  it cuts down on VFM once enjoyed  by the fans...

Looking at the majority of Stadiums , most are in a poor state of repair,  this is also caused by the lack of funds.   It appears  to me the riders has all but bleed this sport  dry and now turning  their backs  when their fees are questioned...

Sometimes I wished,  I never lived in the real world

  

Edited by g13webb
miss-spelt
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3 hours ago, New Science said:

Good post. It was interesting reading last weeks speedway star about how to attract a younger audience to speedway. Unfortunately the things that first hooked us 40 somethings in the 70's and 80's was as described in the star "the strong aroma of Castrol R, the throaty roar of the 4 stroke 500 hundred cc engines. Add to that the speed and the crackling atmosphere on the terraces for the big matches under the lights and you had a magical experience as a kid. Move on 30 years and the smell has gone and so has the noise ,taking with it the atmosphere in the stands ,a somewhat watered down version to what we had  .Watch some old footage from the 80's on Youtube and you can hear the crowd before each race starts. Is it any wonder youngsters are not hooked any more, todays machines are also not compliant with the tracks in this country any more, it might be fine in Poland but only the new purpose Belle Vue is anywhere near of the shape and preparation required. As someone who was hooked, I'm now unhooked on what I'm watching in Britain, most of the time the racing is poor, processional strung out stuff with little excitement, speedway is lucky that many of those over 40 still attend out of habit and the social side rather than the excitement of what they are watching. Unfortunately the future looks grim, the machines are not going to change and neither are the tracks on which they race. Speedway in Britain  may have been in decline since the eighties but it has been more rapid since 2011 when the new silencers were brought in.

 

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