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The continuing decline of Speedway

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Leicester had a chance to produce a modern speedway track but for some reason didn’t or couldn’t.

Within the next 10 years the majority of greyhound tracks will more than likely close as land  value puts pressure on the owners plus it’s considered a barbaric sport from another time.

If Speedway feels it needs to reduce its track base then this will happen pretty much without a grand plan but what will be a tragedy if tracks close which are a motor sport venue ala Rye House and makes Leicester all the more disappointing.

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I've been saying much the same for ages, any speedway track in a greyhound stadium should be looking at alternatives locations already.

The "experts" will tell you it's extremely difficult to find alternate sites, all the more reason why you should be doing it now!

They should also change the rules on sizes for new tracks to make sure a Leicester cannot happen again but they won't and the "experts" will tell you why...

The rules on track sizes should be geared to producing more Belle Vue's.  It costs nothing to change the rules, no excuse not to.

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"Still in Pearson's world it was 2 great nights of speedway"

What would you have him say?

To be fair to Nigel, he can hardly saw "this is rubbish, I don't why we bother with this... etc etc" can he ?

I think he feels some of the things we all do, I remember a TV meeting at Eastbourne v Poole when Bjarne Pedersen (riding for Eastbourne at the time) had an off night, you know the old "Agent Pedersen" quips were prevalent at the time, and speaking briefly to Nigel in the car park mentioned how Bjarnes off nights coincided with him riding against Poole. He smiled and said something like, "Yeah, but I can't mention that on air...."

I don't think Nigel and Kelvin do a bad job in trying to promote something that requires major surgery........ in fact Boris Johnson's recent quips about polishing something spring to mind.

 

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Posted (edited)

I've been going to speedway for many years since I was 6, so I'd thought I would add my views.

I think I've seen every world champion ride at some point back to Ronnie Moore, with the exception of Peter Craven.My home team is Swindon, after my young years following Kings Lynn back in days of Terry Betts, Howard Cole & Simmo. But I suppose its really Wroclaw now.

I've had an affinity with this sport most of my life but only recently have I really started enjoying again....because I watch most of my live speedway in Poland thanks to a relationship with a pretty Polish lady that stated a year or so back. But that's another story :)

So what do I see as some of the issues?

One...Product quality!

Teams. Years of reducing quality and averages etc have driven the sport downwards. Its said because of cost, but in recent years the only time you get a reasonable crowd in the UK is if these are some decent riders taking part. This is constantly overlooked as promoters drive cheaper, lower and the crowds stay away. A virtual downward spiral. Most speedway fans love top quality racers and top quality racing. Its not just about winning a match. And for gods sake chose a static race-night for the highest league so at least we have a chance of attracting better riders. Poland Sunday, Sweden Tuesday etc

 

Tracks. Many UK tracks simply don't produce good racing...eg Leicester? What the hell was anyone thinking building a new track that is all but impossible to race on? And please, don't lets start a knock Leicester post, it was just an example, and I could have chosen many more. (Even the current Swindon Track prep is at times dire).. Long straights, tight bends make for spread out riders when track preparation is …. I give in with this old issue

Facilities. And here we have the biggest gripe. It is 3rd world wherever you go. My girlfriend was brought up in Communist Poland. Her early life was tough. Poland will still be another 25 years fully recovering from communism (take note any Corbyn fans). I took her to Swindon and all she could say was oh my god! I didn't know things could be so horrid in the UK! Why do you come here?

But, go to speedway in Poland and its so different. Great stadium. Great seating. Clean. Wonderful tracks. Many families. Young, old, girls and boys. The fanbase of the future!  It simply puts this country's offering (a country I dearly love) to great shame. So what does a good stadium lead to...

An incredible atmosphere! 8 or 9,000 fans cheering, singing. Racing that is out of this world. Riders trying for every point. And yet its very cheap by UK standards to get in, so the cost argument is dead in the water as well, but you have to get a few in I suppose :) 

Sponsorship does seem to be of a higher order...but then again that's hardly surprising given the numbers attending and much higher profile

A week ago last Sunday I was at Wroclaw to watch the Tarnow meeting. Look it up on you tube. The racing was extremely good. So good I would go so far as to say I have not seen a meeting like this in the last 10 years in the UK, despite attending 30 odd meetings a year. And a great crowd, great atmosphere puts everything here in the shade

If the sport cannot modernise its facilities and attract more people,  younger people, it will die. But as things stand, I fear for the worst. Lets be honest, and I've got my own business, I cant possibly imagine taking any friends or business associates to a speedway meeting in the UK....

 There are some good people in speedway, just a few examples that spring to mind are Peter Adams at Wolves, Rosco at Swindon, Buster at Lynn. There are numerous more and their support and love of the sport is admirable but in reality they are few and they are stretched to breaking point. We need some professional management to sort this un-holy mess out, not inward thinking promoters, however good their intentions.       

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by TonyGlos
Typo

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excerpt from an interview with Terry Betts

 

“Only the top guys, like Fundin and Briggs, had mechanics, everybody else did their own,” says Terry. “In the early days you took one bike racing and that was it.

“The magneto would go on them, and you’d borrow someone else’s bike for the race. Colin Pratt was in the away team and he would borrow your bike – I leant my bike to various different people riding for the opposition.

“It was totally different. Now it’s like they’ve got a bike for every race.”

 

says it all really - and he was riding in front of 10000 everyweek

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 I remember the late Tony Clarke interviewed during a meeting at Wembley saying he had only just built the bike that afternoon . It was the norm to take off the front wheel and have the rest of the bike sticking out of the boot . During his brief time at Wembley Steve  Bast did not have his own equipment and rode the track spare supplied by the supporters club.

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3 hours ago, TonyGlos said:

I've been going to speedway for many years since I was 6, so I'd thought I would add my views.

I think I've seen every world champion ride at some point back to Ronnie Moore, with the exception of Peter Craven.My home team is Swindon, after my young years following Kings Lynn back in days of Terry Betts, Howard Cole & Simmo. But I suppose its really Wroclaw now.

I've had an affinity with this sport most of my life but only recently have I really started enjoying again....because I watch most of my live speedway in Poland thanks to a relationship with a pretty Polish lady that stated a year or so back. But that's another story :)

So what do I see as some of the issues?

One...Product quality!

Teams. Years of reducing quality and averages etc have driven the sport downwards. Its said because of cost, but in recent years the only time you get a reasonable crowd in the UK is if these are some decent riders taking part. This is constantly overlooked as promoters drive cheaper, lower and the crowds stay away. A virtual downward spiral. Most speedway fans love top quality racers and top quality racing. Its not just about winning a match. And for gods sake chose a static race-night for the highest league so at least we have a chance of attracting better riders. Poland Sunday, Sweden Tuesday etc

 

Tracks. Many UK tracks simply don't produce good racing...eg Leicester? What the hell was anyone thinking building a new track that is all but impossible to race on? And please, don't lets start a knock Leicester post, it was just an example, and I could have chosen many more. (Even the current Swindon Track prep is at times dire).. Long straights, tight bends make for spread out riders when track preparation is …. I give in with this old issue

Facilities. And here we have the biggest gripe. It is 3rd world wherever you go. My girlfriend was brought up in Communist Poland. Her early life was tough. Poland will still be another 25 years fully recovering from communism (take note any Corbyn fans). I took her to Swindon and all she could say was oh my god! I didn't know things could be so horrid in the UK! Why do you come here?

But, go to speedway in Poland and its so different. Great stadium. Great seating. Clean. Wonderful tracks. Many families. Young, old, girls and boys. The fanbase of the future!  It simply puts this country's offering (a country I dearly love) to great shame. So what does a good stadium lead to...

An incredible atmosphere! 8 or 9,000 fans cheering, singing. Racing that is out of this world. Riders trying for every point. And yet its very cheap by UK standards to get in, so the cost argument is dead in the water as well, but you have to get a few in I suppose :) 

Sponsorship does seem to be of a higher order...but then again that's hardly surprising given the numbers attending and much higher profile

A week ago last Sunday I was at Wroclaw to watch the Tarnow meeting. Look it up on you tube. The racing was extremely good. So good I would go so far as to say I have not seen a meeting like this in the last 10 years in the UK, despite attending 30 odd meetings a year. And a great crowd, great atmosphere puts everything here in the shade

If the sport cannot modernise its facilities and attract more people,  younger people, it will die. But as things stand, I fear for the worst. Lets be honest, and I've got my own business, I cant possibly imagine taking any friends or business associates to a speedway meeting in the UK....

 There are some good people in speedway, just a few examples that spring to mind are Peter Adams at Wolves, Rosco at Swindon, Buster at Lynn. There are numerous more and their support and love of the sport is admirable but in reality they are few and they are stretched to breaking point. We need some professional management to sort this un-holy mess out, not inward thinking promoters, however good their intentions.       

 

 

 

 

 

One slight difference between Speedway in UK and Poland is who owns the stadiums. In Poland I think all are owned by the local authorities and in the UK only Belle Vue. That is the main difference between Speedway in the different countries. I remember at one time nearly all the promoters in Sweden went broke and once again the stadiums are owned by the local authorities. Worse still for UK is the land is worth much more here as we are a lot smaller in size than Poland and Sweden

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Posted (edited)

Agree with you entirely Mick.

 

The stadiums are mainly public multi-use or part multi-use arenas and I'm sure getting rented for use at a sensible rate.

But whatever, we need such facilities or at least something much better than we have.

Ch958...I remember chatting with Terry after a meeting and he said I don't need a fast bike, but reliable and easy to ride!  But then he was very quick :)

 

We've moved on. And yes, riders are expensive. But that means we need to get speedway in the right places, get the crowds and show it to the masses.

Hey...be honest...is there really any marketing? Really? Get the Kids There! Yes … free every week under 14. Its not like there is no room and they will drag mum and/or dad along too!

Funny thing...I have 9 or 10 not so close friends who follow speedway on TV. They know all about the GPs (almost class themselves as Tai fans) who's doing well in the leagues and they find it good fun...but none of them have ever been near a track! I tell them to go as in real life its far more exciting and only then will they appreciate just how fast these guys go as they ride round in a gold fish bowl! :)

They see the gladiatorial side, the bravery, the risk and the good racing. They know like all bike racing its so much better then virtually all other motorsport....But

I fear if they went, the facilities would put them off ..... big time

Maybe its not speedway has moving on, but the rest of the world has and expectations of people are now greater. If this cannot be addressed then..

By the way .. I take back all my negative criticism of British Speedway. They have got it right at Belle Vue. Great track and good facilities. Only been once but loved it.

 

The track rides well and is very fast, like being in Poland!! :) And I can sit down and don't feel like I'm in the 1950s!

 

 

 

 

Edited by TonyGlos
Correction

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13 hours ago, TesarRacing said:

I have no doubt, but doesn't that say more about the way younger generations have no respect for any authority?

I agree but if you were called to Pall Mall it wasn't a question of whether you would get off it was how hard they clobbered you.

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I was speaking to a ex rider from the 70s and he told me when you was summoned to Pall Mall he never slept for 2 nights before as he was so nervous, and it was always MR Brasher,

Can you see that happening today with  Vatcher, In comparison to the 70 and 80s the SCB today is toothless  

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19 hours ago, woofers said:

I don't think Nigel and Kelvin do a bad job in trying to promote something that requires major surgery........ in fact Boris Johnson's recent quips about polishing something spring to mind.

Pearson and Tatum do a wonderful job of polishing the faeces that is UK league speedway. I sincerely mean that, but as a long time fan it is very easy to see through and probably not difficult for the uninitiated to get either.

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Posted (edited)

As soon as this torid season is over, the first agm on November 1st and the first question is a simple one , do we want british speedway to be a competitors sport like Moto GP, motox etc or do we want to be a team fan sport like it has always been,  a team sport on motorbikes, if it’s the first then there is no point perusing the team aspect and make it pay to race with prize money, if it’s the second then the bikes,riders, cost, presentation  and the team ethic need to be looked into and changed , currently we are trying be be the fan based team sport but being run like a competitor sport and it doesn’t work, there is hardly any control over mechanical side of the sport and riders and tuners are pushing and pushing but in reality all they are pushing is the cost up and many fans and potential fans couldn’t care less, to prove this point  something I would like to see is take a meeting like poole v belle vue and get the riders to all use a basic no frills engine used by all 14 riders but don’t tell the fans, the fact is hardly anyone would notice because it’s not something they care about , it’s all about the riders and their teams, we need to push the team model 

Edited by THE DEAN MACHINE
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5 minutes ago, THE DEAN MACHINE said:

As soon as this tori’s season is over, the first agm on November 1st and the first question is a simple one , do we want british speedway to be a competitors sport like Moto GP, motox etc or do we want to be a team fan sport like it has always been,  a team sport on motorbikes, if it’s the first then there is no point perusing the team aspect and make it pay to race with prize money, if it’s the second then the bikes,riders, cost and the team ethic need to be looked into and changed , currently we are trying be be the fan based team sport but being run like a competitor sport and it doesn’t work, there is hardly any control over mechanical side of the sport and riders and tuners are pushing and pushing but in reality all they are pushing is the cost up and many fans and potential fans couldn’t care less, to prove this point  something I would like to see is take a meeting like poole v belle vue and get the riders to all use a basic no frills engine used by all 14 riders but don’t tell the fans, the fact is hardly anyone would notice because it’s not something they care about , it’s all about the riders and their teams, we need to push the team model 

It all makes you wonder what some of the current fat-cat riders would make of things if we were to reduce to one league?

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30 minutes ago, THE DEAN MACHINE said:

As soon as this tori’s season is over, the first agm on November 1st and the first question is a simple one , do we want british speedway to be a competitors sport like Moto GP, motox etc or do we want to be a team fan sport like it has always been,  a team sport on motorbikes, if it’s the first then there is no point perusing the team aspect and make it pay to race with prize money, if it’s the second then the bikes,riders, cost and the team ethic need to be looked into and changed , currently we are trying be be the fan based team sport but being run like a competitor sport and it doesn’t work, there is hardly any control over mechanical side of the sport and riders and tuners are pushing and pushing but in reality all they are pushing is the cost up and many fans and potential fans couldn’t care less, to prove this point  something I would like to see is take a meeting like poole v belle vue and get the riders to all use a basic no frills engine used by all 14 riders but don’t tell the fans, the fact is hardly anyone would notice because it’s not something they care about , it’s all about the riders and their teams, we need to push the team model 

as usual - nail on the head - 90 pc of fans don't know or care about the engines. Probably uniquely in motorsport

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32 minutes ago, THE DEAN MACHINE said:

As soon as this tori’s season is over, the first agm on November 1st and the first question is a simple one , do we want british speedway to be a competitors sport like Moto GP, motox etc or do we want to be a team fan sport like it has always been,  a team sport on motorbikes, if it’s the first then there is no point perusing the team aspect and make it pay to race with prize money, if it’s the second then the bikes,riders, cost and the team ethic need to be looked into and changed , currently we are trying be be the fan based team sport but being run like a competitor sport and it doesn’t work, there is hardly any control over mechanical side of the sport and riders and tuners are pushing and pushing but in reality all they are pushing is the cost up and many fans and potential fans couldn’t care less, to prove this point  something I would like to see is take a meeting like poole v belle vue and get the riders to all use a basic no frills engine used by all 14 riders but don’t tell the fans, the fact is hardly anyone would notice because it’s not something they care about , it’s all about the riders and their teams, we need to push the team model 

Once I got into speedway in the mid-70s, I liked its team ethic. You also had the side-dish of individual meetings where you'd support your team riders. But team speedway was important to me. I often felt what the lure was of other motorsports, to be honest, and often got annoyed when people though speedway was what Barry Sheene did. When Hamil and Hancock went all plastic with their Exide-sponsored bikes, it started to look then as if individual racing was taking a front seat. I don't give a damn about the mechanical side of the sport. In fact, I still recall when riders of the past took the arrival of a brand new machine - indeed. It was a talking point. First-year rider Kristian Praestbro didn't get a new bike until mid-season 1976, and his form improved drastically flor Belle Vue. The sport is living on the never-never all the time. When riders have four helmets of each colour and the sport is on its backside, wtf. 

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