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the rulebook will continue to be bent until there is an independent governance. And i dont mean turning it into a darts like circus.

Answer me this - apart from airfences and other safety measures what has improved? Tracks - worse, bikes - worse, team consistency - worse, body colours (trivial i know) - worse, etc etc etc

As a sideline there has been a few pics of Dewayne Keeter on fb lately. - fondly remembered as a tryer who, frankly, wasn't all that good but stayed in the Lions team all season. He'd be dropped after a month now in the insane rush to win at all costs.

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Don't worry. The country is being turned into a throwback to the 1950's, so Speedway will fit in very well indeed. Keep calm, and stay analogue.

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2 hours ago, PHILIPRISING said:

WROTE the following in an edition of Speedway Star in June 1981. Could have repeated it every year since including the present one.

SPEEDWAY in this country is facing a crisis which threatens the foundations on which the sport is built. Unless something is done to stop the squabbling, the wastage of money, bending of the rules and, in some cases, blatant breaking of regulations, speedway will lose even the support of the hard core of fans.

Vast numbers of followers are becoming disenchanted either with the way speedway is run or by the attitude of riders who seem prepared to bite the hand that feeds them.

Any rider who doesn't fulfil his commitments is cheating the public. It is as simple as that. Speedway has got itself into such a mess with foreign riders that there is no easy way out. But a remedy must be found.

First, however, the promoters who run league speedway in this country must put their own house in order. Speedway desperately needs a clearly defined set of regulations which are strictly adhered to without exception. The rulebook as it is at present is bent, manipulated, rewritten, ignored or changed at will. That cannot continue.

Sadly, it seems it has.

 

 

 

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. 

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1 hour ago, RobMcCaffery said:

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. 

Nothing more to be said really.

Well put Rob.

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Whip out a magazine from any era and you'll have opinions expressing how far the sport has sunk. Fans tend to believe the sport was better in times gone. Or is it that the sport has really gradually sunk through the decades?  

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10 minutes ago, moxey63 said:

Whip out a magazine from any era and you'll have opinions expressing how far the sport has sunk. Fans tend to believe the sport was better in times gone. Or is it that the sport has really gradually sunk through the decades?  

It was . . . . It really was!

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21 minutes ago, moxey63 said:

Whip out a magazine from any era and you'll have opinions expressing how far the sport has sunk. Fans tend to believe the sport was better in times gone. Or is it that the sport has really gradually sunk through the decades?  

i think it would be easier to look at the attendance figures - that tells the actual story

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16 minutes ago, moxey63 said:

Whip out a magazine from any era and you'll have opinions expressing how far the sport has sunk. Fans tend to believe the sport was better in times gone. Or is it that the sport has really gradually sunk through the decades?  

It certainly has sunk, I can remember the day when some clubs closed down because they only attracted a few thousand spectators, I can't understand how the majority of clubs are surviving now. It's probably better off not being on TV, at least we wont be embarrassed by empty stadiums, riders waving to empty terraces, or the crowd squashed into one small corner to make it look full. 

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5 hours ago, PHILIPRISING said:

WROTE the following in an edition of Speedway Star in June 1981. Could have repeated it every year since including the present one.

SPEEDWAY in this country is facing a crisis which threatens the foundations on which the sport is built. Unless something is done to stop the squabbling, the wastage of money, bending of the rules and, in some cases, blatant breaking of regulations, speedway will lose even the support of the hard core of fans.

Vast numbers of followers are becoming disenchanted either with the way speedway is run or by the attitude of riders who seem prepared to bite the hand that feeds them.

Any rider who doesn't fulfil his commitments is cheating the public. It is as simple as that. Speedway has got itself into such a mess with foreign riders that there is no easy way out. But a remedy must be found.

First, however, the promoters who run league speedway in this country must put their own house in order. Speedway desperately needs a clearly defined set of regulations which are strictly adhered to without exception. The rulebook as it is at present is bent, manipulated, rewritten, ignored or changed at will. That cannot continue.

Sadly, it seems it has.

 

 

 

So 36 years ago you wrote this, fast forward those years and the same still applies:unsure: yet speedway IS still about, seems nothing has changed since then though. Perhaps this is the only way that speedway can function....I've no idea, but it does somewhat alter the rose tints of yesteryear being brilliant etc., when it seems we have the same problems now as we did then, just with fewer spectators:blink:

 

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Posted (edited)

I think only the fifties matched the crisis we are having now. That was just 10 years on from the post-war boom. Since the 70s the sport has had a slow puncture and is struggling right now to keep going without losing its flat tyre. The only positive is the number of tracks we have now compared to the 50s when perhaps there were little more than a handful.

Edited by moxey63

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6 hours ago, PHILIPRISING said:

Vast numbers of followers are becoming disenchanted

The key part for me , of the piece written all those years ago by PR is the above, except that what has changed is, there is no longer any "vast numbers of followers" left to become disenchanted. Of the estimated 25,000 active attending fans left in the country ( or lets be charitable and say 35,000 )  vast could not apply  to them in any way. From the post war boom, numbers must already be vastly down by perhaps 90%? Moribund comes to mind.

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Posted (edited)

Wow! Philip Rising's piece about the crisis in speedway was written only months before that best-ever world final at Wembley, when we had the likes of Penhall, Olsen, Mauger, Carter, Gundersen, Nielsen etc, all taking part in our domestic league. We didn't know we were born. It seemed, even back then, the sport wasn't run with an iron fist, rules were flakey, and fans were gradually drifting away.

 

If supporters were growing disenchanted then, it explains why 2017 terraces were so sparse with what has been allowed to happen.  

Edited by moxey63

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, moxey63 said:

Wow! Philip Rising's piece about the crisis in speedway was written only months before that best-ever world final at Wembley, when we had the likes of Penhall, Olsen, Mauger, Carter, Gundersen, Nielsen etc, all taking part in our domestic league. We didn't know we were born. It seemed, even back then, the sport wasn't run with an iron fist, rules were flakey, and fans were gradually drifting away.

 

If supporters were growing disenchanted then, it explains why 2017 terraces were so sparse with what has been allowed to happen.  

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. 

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