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The continuing decline of Speedway

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Posted (edited)

Speedway is one of those sports that, as a newcomer, you're impressed for the first half a dozen races and then it gets a bit tiresome. I was the same when I first went aged 12. It was only after deciding to go again the following week and then being showed how to keep the scores with a programme did I realise there was more to it. Without really not knowing what's going on, it would be quite hard to keep those that may become interested.... interested. It could even be helped as part of a maths lesson with local schools, perhaps, give them a load of free tickets and then when they turn up at the track, have someone from the club advising them. Just an idea. But you really need to know what's going on.

Edited by moxey63
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I noticed as I was driving to my speed way at Redcar( sorry Middlesbrough) last night that there wasn't one sign pointing the way to the track ,even at the entrance there wasn't anything . A missed chance of low level advertising I think.

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" My next door neighbour asks, "What's speedway?"  ".  Like many others no doubt, if I had a pound for everytime I've been asked this, I'd have an awful lot of money. 

A true tale I've told before:  not one person I've 'actively encouraged', not exactly forced (!), to watch speedway - either in the flesh or on the box - has said "what a load of rubbish".  The only semi-negative comment, ever, has been "it's just motorbikes going round a track".  One fine day a lady at work and her family chanced upon beach racing, at Mablethorp I believe it was, and she and her family (husband, 1 boy, 2 girls) stayed until the very end.  She even asked when telling the tale "was it the speedway you are always going on about, it was very exciting. we'd love to see it / that beach racing  again".  Not exactly extensive market research but, again, many could probably tell smilar tales.....

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4 hours ago, acef said:

But the racing imo, is better than its ever been. I believe too much empashsis is put into the quality of racing when, really, it wasn't much cop back then either. 

Totally agree with you, we have always had good meetings and poor meetings. What we have lost is great big city venues. When you are watching a meeting in a big stadium, The sense of occasion can compensate for a poor meeting. A good example of this is Wembley, never a great race track, but always a good atmosphere. 

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1 hour ago, Thornaby48 said:

I noticed as I was driving to my speed way at Redcar( sorry Middlesbrough) last night that there wasn't one sign pointing the way to the track ,even at the entrance there wasn't anything . A missed chance of low level advertising I think.

theres probably scope for a billboard facing the A66 with thousands of cars passing every day

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9 hours ago, Ray Stadia said:

There is a grass roots level Steve, Grass Track racing, but that too has seriously declined over the years. When sports of any kind, suddenly become popular again, it is usually due to something changing, fundamentally, which I think is what you are suggesting needs to happen. But you also need serious financial backing for that to happen. You need some kind of entity to pick the sport up by the scruff of it's neck. I have always been surprised that wealthy ex-riders don't get together to do this, unless there aren't any wealthy ex-riders! 

Innovative thinking happened with the Speedway Grand Prix, innovative thinking and a massive cash injection is needed for league racing in the UK. I agree, rearranging the deck chairs is not going to change the dire situation.

 

I know what you are trying to say, but it is "grass-track", not speedway.  Even though a fair few riders who do both, they are two different sports, at totally different venues, with totally different fans.  On here, you see many complaints that the Speedway Star "includes grass-track".  To me, they are close enough to warrant grass-track news in speedway mags, but they are not the same sport.  I am also aware that grass-track has taken a nose-dive in the UK too, which actually surprises me.

One of the things that fans - including myself - loved about grass-track was the access we had to the riders and their machines.  I maintain that one of the best ways to attract new fans to the sport is for them to get close to the machinery and the riders.  A few years ago, there was a general motorsports event up in Minnesota, and I went up there with former Workington rider James Mann, who was giving a speedway display with a couple of others.  As it was, the meeting was rained off (yeah, 1300 mile round trip for a rain-off...), but in the short time we were there, everybody was so fascinated by the bikes.  That's why I love the ideas of riders taking bikes to schools.

Yes, I was suggesting that something drastic needs to happen, but you and I both know that we aren't going to find "serious financial backing".  That is why we have to cut costs.  I just don't know what we can actually get away with.  The SGP was innovative thinking, but at that time, the sport as a whole was relatively healthy.  We are now talking about something to heal British speedway only, but the fact that British speedway is now on life-support makes it an extremely delicate situation.

Just sitting here making suggestions - and waiting for some major sponsor to simply dump a ton of cash into the sport - isn't going to achieve anything.  Even if we did find someone with money, five years down the road we will be sitting here replicating these threads, except that the crowds will be down to the 100-150 mark.  We NEED to change/update the product, and the way it is displayed.

Steve

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27 minutes ago, cityrebel said:

Totally agree with you, we have always had good meetings and poor meetings. What we have lost is great big city venues. When you are watching a meeting in a big stadium, The sense of occasion can compensate for a poor meeting. A good example of this is Wembley, never a great race track, but always a good atmosphere. 

How long have I been saying that???

Steve

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32 minutes ago, cityrebel said:

Totally agree with you, we have always had good meetings and poor meetings. What we have lost is great big city venues. When you are watching a meeting in a big stadium, The sense of occasion can compensate for a poor meeting. A good example of this is Wembley, never a great race track, but always a good atmosphere. 

...the fact that speedway no longer exists in London is a major killer blow in my opinion.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, steve roberts said:

...the fact that speedway no longer exists in London is a major killer blow in my opinion.

Whilst I agree it is a shame and a hindrance to the sport that there is no venue,the idea that speedway should be in some ‘great big city stadium’ is pie in the sky romanticism.White City or Wembley would never be financially possible in today’s sporting climate.Even back in the 70’s speedway at White City was akin to Queens Park playing at Hampson.750 fans in a 52,000 capacity stadium!!!People have to face the reality of the modern situation

Edited by iris123

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2 hours ago, martinmauger said:

" My next door neighbour asks, "What's speedway?"  ".  Like many others no doubt, if I had a pound for everytime I've been asked this, I'd have an awful lot of money. 

A true tale I've told before:  not one person I've 'actively encouraged', not exactly forced (!), to watch speedway - either in the flesh or on the box - has said "what a load of rubbish".  The only semi-negative comment, ever, has been "it's just motorbikes going round a track".  One fine day a lady at work and her family chanced upon beach racing, at Mablethorp I believe it was, and she and her family (husband, 1 boy, 2 girls) stayed until the very end.  She even asked when telling the tale "was it the speedway you are always going on about, it was very exciting. we'd love to see it / that beach racing  again".  Not exactly extensive market research but, again, many could probably tell smilar tales.....

Not as much for those who say, I used to go to speedway years ago, or speedway haven't been for years. A great night at the speedway is still just as great now as it ever was, sad thing is there`s a fraction of us there now to see it.

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3 minutes ago, screm said:

Not as much for those who say, I used to go to speedway years ago, or speedway haven't been for years. A great night at the speedway is still just as great now as it ever was, sad thing is there`s a fraction of us there now to see it.

In a way it can’t really be as great.Years ago it was partly great because of the sheer numbers that made the great atmosphere.That is now missing,no matter how good the racing is.And because of those numbers it also had significance in the community.The day after and the day of the meeting you would be discussing it at school or at work.I went to school with a number of other fans and later worked alongside fans.But ok I did leave school,but there were fewer people I knew that still went.Things were and are even more so,missing

And there is the answer to why there are fewer people posting on here than there were ten years ago.People have been lost to the sport in large numbers,it is only realistic to expect fewer people here!!!!

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36 minutes ago, iris123 said:

In a way it can’t really be as great.Years ago it was partly great because of the sheer numbers that made the great atmosphere.That is now missing,no matter how good the racing is.And because of those numbers it also had significance in the community.The day after and the day of the meeting you would be discussing it at school or at work.I went to school with a number of other fans and later worked alongside fans.But ok I did leave school,but there were fewer people I knew that still went.Things were and are even more so,missing

Funny, isn't it?  The BSF used to be full of people complaining that the lack of great racing is killing the sport, and how much better the racing USED to be.  Now, thanks to videos which dispel all those misconceptions, it is amazing to realise the truth, and the racing really WASN'T better back then.  Even to watch live streams from thousands of miles away, the lack of atmosphere - and people - is so evident.

Being at Wembley on World Final night. or standing on the pit bend at Plough Lane mocking the 'ackney fans, it really is the people who made the difference.

Sigh...

Steve

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6 minutes ago, chunky said:

Funny, isn't it?  The BSF used to be full of people complaining that the lack of great racing is killing the sport, and how much better the racing USED to be.  Now, thanks to videos which dispel all those misconceptions, it is amazing to realise the truth, and the racing really WASN'T better back then.  Even to watch live streams from thousands of miles away, the lack of atmosphere - and people - is so evident.

Being at Wembley on World Final night. or standing on the pit bend at Plough Lane mocking the 'ackney fans, it really is the people who made the difference.

Sigh...

Steve

The most memorable matches I can remember were when Wolves brought a decent-sized crowd (glory seekers) with them to Belle Vue in the mid-90s. It created some great banter, Belle Vue fans who had stood for years at the side of one another without speaking a word were, for one night only, found out they spoke the same language. Fans do create a better spectacle. 

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1 minute ago, moxey63 said:

The most memorable matches I can remember were when Wolves brought a decent-sized crowd (glory seekers) with them to Belle Vue in the mid-90s. It created some great banter, Belle Vue fans who had stood for years at the side of one another without speaking a word were, for one night only, found out they spoke the same language. Fans do create a better spectacle. 

One of my all time favorite meetings were the British League 2 or NNL riders championships and it wasn’t all to do with the racing.In fact on one occasion they put bags and bags of sawdust down to get the meeting on.But the great bands of fans from around the country with their different colors, flags and accents made the night for me.THAT was an atmosphere!!!

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1 hour ago, iris123 said:

Whilst I agree it is a shame and a hindrance to the sport that there is no venue,the idea that speedway should be in some ‘great big city stadium’ is pie in the sky romanticism.White City or Wembley would never be financially possible in today’s sporting climate.Even back in the 70’s speedway at White City was akin to Queens Park playing at Hampson.750 fans in a 52,000 capacity stadium!!!People have to face the reality of the modern situation

...my point wasn't so much the stadiums that used to hold speedway in the capital but the fact that speedway no longer features in London which has to be a factor in the lack of media interest in the sport (a point raised when reading articles in the 'Backtrack' magazine as to the decline of the sport).

Obviously there are many problems associated with the sport and it's continual slide but would a GP held at Wembley (highly unlikely I know) help raise the profile?

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