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Time British Speedway went AMATEUR

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1 hour ago, Vince said:

Sam Hurst, only rode NL for Newport and Weymouth (well a bit of PL for Newport but out of his depth). Reasonable amount of talent and a good set of balls but lacked the dedication to make it any further.

How do you view the NL now Vince ? do you like the direction it is going in.The few meeting's i have seen going back to the Conference i have really enjoyed it.We have some great kids coming through now  do you think there is still a place for old hands in that league.?

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It isn't a secret that the biggest expense to a rider is their machinery. Surely, instead of talking about following an amateur route, then for domestic speedway there should be restrictions on the amount spent on engine tuning. Surely costs which are saved by the rider could be passed on to the promotion, who then might pass it on to their patrons through the turnstiles. 

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1 hour ago, moxey63 said:

It isn't a secret that the biggest expense to a rider is their machinery. Surely, instead of talking about following an amateur route, then for domestic speedway there should be restrictions on the amount spent on engine tuning. Surely costs which are saved by the rider could be passed on to the promotion, who then might pass it on to their patrons through the turnstiles. 

Whilst we both have the same end goal my view is that riders won't pass on savings to the promotions but if riders were being paid less they would have to look at the amounts they spend/waste upon machinery. Current maintenance routines largely means replace parts rather than look after, will bikes last more than 1 season of course. No different to any other area of life if the money coming in is less then the money going out needs to be cut to reflect. Most riders aren't stupid and realise this, there will still be riders who can earn out of the sport and have fun whilst making a living. Those that cannot / will not make it pay, thanks for the memories, enjoy your retirement, time to let the next batch of riders move the sport onwards.

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26 minutes ago, Sings4Speedway said:

Whilst we both have the same end goal my view is that riders won't pass on savings to the promotions but if riders were being paid less they would have to look at the amounts they spend/waste upon machinery.

Is it not completely within the gift of clubs to pay riders less today? In turn riders will have to adjust their costs accordingly.

The problem is clubs want to field a competitive team and they know that crowds are higher when a team is winning. This creates two competing objectives, cutting your cloth according to your income and fielding a winning team.

Given that not all clubs are equal when it comes to income, some have higher crowds, others have more generous sponsors and so on, this creates fundamental inequality in the league. Therefore clubs are forced to decide between fielding a weaker team or pushing their budget to a level higher than their income.

And then we've gone full circle. Regardless of how much you cut costs, clubs have one method and one method only to attract riders, money.

This is why cost cutting doesn't work. There will always be one club prepared to pay slightly above market rate to attract the best riders and this in turn creates an arms race among all clubs.

The only way to ensure a long term sustainable future for British speedway is to boost income.

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I think speedway will become mostly amateur - not by planning or design - but by evolution - that is the extinction of fans and tracks. It will become like motor racing - where the spectators at club events are usually the drivers’ family and friends apart from a few hardcore fans sitting on a grassy bank. Grand Prix meetings will be supported massively.

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15 hours ago, mikebv said:

It says so much how sponsorship often covers some/most of the costs that keeps the clubs going...

With many of the sponsors being fans rather than business people, who see their input as giving them a close connection to 'their team' (and maybe an ego boost or a tax saving?), rather than a way of selling more product to the 500 or so in attendance...

Such a system though is built on quick sand as you are dependant so much on other businesses remaining in a position to help 'bank roll' your own...

It sometimes seems to appear that terms to riders are agreed first, then promoters set about frantically finding a way to afford them....

1000 fans paying £15 after VAT would generate £12k..

Maybe set aside £9k of that to pay riders for the home and away meetings, and stick to that as a salary cap, and use the £3k left to pay the home meeting costs..?

Build the overall team strengths, and how many riders per team, using the £9k as a template....

Any sponsorship then is over and above this and can be used to help pay any costs over the £3k, or maybe used as a bonus to the riders for success?

A five man team sharing £9k would each average £1800 for two matches, (some would obviously earn more depending on their level, and some would earn less)...

Maybe not what currently they earn, or indeed expect, however..

If the Sport keeps going on in its current downwards spiral, maybe one day (and pretty soon), riders will wish they still had a chance to earn £1800 a week..

 

I agree that promoters should not spend above what they can afford.  This need sot be a group effort though.  The wages costs per meeting you mention are I fancy way short of what is paid now.  The meeting costs are also well above £3k, the medical staff alone will cost nearly £1k, plus track rent of £1-2k then there's advertising, programmes, licences, fuel & maintenance of track/facilities, rider suits, insurance costs (employee and public), VAT/tax/accountancy etc.etc.

It would cause the loss of some riders and maybe some fans short term but the long term gains would be worth it.  Everyone has a choice, like it or lump it,  If I was a rider today and the only contract I could secure paid me xx per meeting, I'd make sure I cut my expenses so that I still made a bit of money - it's not compulsory to use brand new equipment each year, or give thousands to people who you think might make you a bit faster, or spend on a new leased van every year, or even have a full time or paid mechanic. 

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7 minutes ago, MattK said:

Is it not completely within the gift of clubs to pay riders less today? In turn riders will have to adjust their costs accordingly.

The problem is clubs want to field a competitive team and they know that crowds are higher when a team is winning. This creates two competing objectives, cutting your cloth according to your income and fielding a winning team.

Given that not all clubs are equal when it comes to income, some have higher crowds, others have more generous sponsors and so on, this creates fundamental inequality in the league. Therefore clubs are forced to decide between fielding a weaker team or pushing their budget to a level higher than their income.

And then we've gone full circle. Regardless of how much you cut costs, clubs have one method and one method only to attract riders, money.

This is why cost cutting doesn't work. There will always be one club prepared to pay slightly above market rate to attract the best riders and this in turn creates an arms race among all clubs.

The only way to ensure a long term sustainable future for British speedway is to boost income.

As things stand very few clubs are equal and all we have is clubs that are able to survive longer than others rather than a sustainable model. 

Clubs need to look at the type of riders they want to attract, how many clubs and fans want mercenaries who just arrive for the big money? How many want loyal riders who have an affinity with the club?

Higher teams also need to start caring about the development of future riders rather than blanketly ignoring it and assuming someone else will bring the next generation through, if they paid some level of investment now it could save them a fortune in the future. 

The sport has to fall in line with current commercial trends, quick easy entertainment fixes, cheap and superficial, basic enough for all to grasp quickly but most of all sustainable & adaptable.

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I don't see any instant cure to this problem but do feel that the tail has wagged the dog for many years and the main issue IMO is there must be constructive long term changes that benefit the sport as a whole and not the choosen few .It is quite obvious that we can't go back to a two valve strapped on the back of an old bagger,however there must be somewhere in the middle that is achievable .  We are for ever hearing why changes can't be made ranging from cost to safety but I do think that on many occassions it is due to certain personal intrest's clouding the issue .

IMO most riders start off racing a s/way bike for the fun ,thrill and not the money ,this come later once they find they have the ability to go places in the sport that's when the dynamics of the situation change.The demands of the sport are known to the riders from day one and they alone must decide whether the risk to life and limb are worth it ( I think that the rewards are dreadful compared to other m/sport)and realise that they will not make a fortune along the way . IMO if a person wants to become wealthy and retire by the time he is 40 yrs old s/way is not the way forward it has always only  been IMO a paying short term hobby .

IMO the Nl should have standard engines ( 2yr  period to change over )I bet some of the machinery could be sold to Champ /league rider to reduce losses with aplan to bring the same idea to the Champ league in say 4yrs.This would IMO  do two things cut costs and level the playing field which would make for better racing .The Prem /league would be a harder nut to crack because you have the odd GP rider but if they are the best in the world they should be able to adapt to a standard motor if one was used.

I would leave the GP riders  for the elite engines and tuners plus  all the unnecessary/expensive bolt on's and I wonder how many of them except the likes of Hancock will leave the sport with a big bank balance! 

One final note it is only my own personal view but the GP's  stopping most of w/end speedway in this country  has damaged the attendances of the sport as a whole .

 

 

 

Edited by FAST GATER
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Certainly not going to disagree with the tail wagging the dog but i personally never fail to grasp the idea that the best place to start introducing new initiatives and costs is the NL. These by very definition are the least experienced / skilled riders and therefore have a lower skill set to adapt to change. In addition they are also the riders with the least funding and yet the imposing of standard engines upon them would force many out of the sport. Generating a competitive reliable engine is an excellent idea or club / league pool engines but forcing riders who have invested what little they have just to break into the NL before penalising them further just seems barmy. 

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2 hours ago, Sidney the robin said:

How do you view the NL now Vince ? do you like the direction it is going in.The few meeting's i have seen going back to the Conference i have really enjoyed it.We have some great kids coming through now  do you think there is still a place for old hands in that league.?

I like the NL although I think it used to be a roughly 50/50 mix of clubs using it to develop riders for their other team and stand alone clubs where now there are more stand alone clubs and that changes things. Traditionally the stand alone clubs need to win at home to pull a crowd and have paid their riders more while the development clubs paid base rate but offered better opportunities. I have to say though that doesn't apply to all clubs and Buxton are a big loss to the league because they can no longer afford to be competitive.

The standard of NL racing is pretty high I think and compares well with the level of the old second division riders when I was younger in the 70's, the comments I've seen on here about wobblers are generally nonsense. The racing is like all Speedway some good, some poor and the odd great race. The right old hands are absolutely necessary as the kids need somebody to learn from in their own team and to chase from the opposition. Not all old hands are good at this but many are.

3 hours ago, moxey63 said:

It isn't a secret that the biggest expense to a rider is their machinery. Surely, instead of talking about following an amateur route, then for domestic speedway there should be restrictions on the amount spent on engine tuning. Surely costs which are saved by the rider could be passed on to the promotion, who then might pass it on to their patrons through the turnstiles. 

I suspect that is true at the highest level but a bit further down I think travel and time off work is a bigger expense.

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IMO, the only way forward, is for all the remaining clubs to submit to a central point, such as a 'speedway finance officer', how their set up can break even, each season, based on people through the turnstiles, stadium costs, any other costs and riders costs. Then you look at the worst case scenario, in terms of the least number of fans who will turn up, over a given season. Once you have this information, the BSPA or whoever is the controlling body, then decides on how the speedway model should be going forward, for every club. The answer might turn out to be that the only way forward, is fully amateur and pay purely on results. It should allow speedway to rebuild from the bottom up. OK you will probably lose the big name riders, but we are more or less there now. If the costs for promoters mean they can break even each season, then we may see more tracks open.   

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27 minutes ago, Sings4Speedway said:

Certainly not going to disagree with the tail wagging the dog but i personally never fail to grasp the idea that the best place to start introducing new initiatives and costs is the NL. These by very definition are the least experienced / skilled riders and therefore have a lower skill set to adapt to change. In addition they are also the riders with the least funding and yet the imposing of standard engines upon them would force many out of the sport. Generating a competitive reliable engine is an excellent idea or club / league pool engines but forcing riders who have invested what little they have just to break into the NL before penalising them further just seems barmy. 

IMO it has to start from the bottom up they are the future of the sport  able to adapt and are not looking to be making  a living at this stage in their careers.

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13 minutes ago, FAST GATER said:

IMO it has to start from the bottom up they are the future of the sport  able to adapt and are not looking to be making  a living at this stage in their careers.

Whilst what you say is correct are they also the riders who are in a position to purchase a minimum of 2 new engines each? The ideal is to promote switching of engines currently being used before riders even graduate to NL level so that riders stepping up have already purchased these unicorns (mythical standard engines that are competitive and significantly reduce running costs) and know no other way. 

As things stand the majority of riders at NL level are feeding off higher tiers with engine purchases switching the other way round doesn't quite add up.

Edited by Sings4Speedway
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My question is very simple:

WHY SHOULD SOMEONE WHO CHOOSES TO RIDE A SPEEDWAY BIKE EXPECT TO BE PAID?

My son drives a Hot Rod. Apart from the support of some very generous sponsors, he meets the rest of the cost out of his own pocket! He even pays to compete.

WHAT MAKES A SPEEDWAY RIDER SO SPECIAL?

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The plan they follow is astoundingly unfit for purpose. In fact it is so far away from being suitable it is truly laughable to think sane men and women sign it off every year..

Promoters spend hours contriving meetings, cobbled together with random septets that some cannot afford, sharing riders together, and all to win a competition which, by their very own operating model, is rendered completely worthless...

They collectively must spend literally Millions of pounds each year, all trying to win a competition that they 100% completely devalue by the very way that they run it....

You seriously couldn't make it up could you? 

Lets be honest, who cares who wins a Speedway prize in the UK? It has zero kudos. So therefore how do you ever hope to attract a crowd to engage with it?

You then compound the issue by putting together 'teams' of random riders who may be available to ride for you if they haven't got another better paying job on, or are already double booked elsewhere, and expect fans to become emotionally attached to that club. (Like a team sport should get you involved)..

The riders they sign are then expected to have the best equipment at their disposal to 'win' some silverware. The best equipment that costs them a ridiculous amount each year. And all to keep up with other riders who are doing exactly the same..

The riders then (quite understandably) wants recompense for their increased annual outlay. Outlay that actually achieves nothing more than allowing them to 'run to stand still' against their peers. Peers who will be paying out the same, to the same people, using the same top equipment, and getting it expensively tuned by the same tuners..

The Promoters therefore then pay out those Millions of pounds to the riders in the vain hope that they can win something hardly anyone cares about, as 99.9% of the population of this country don't attend a single Speedway meeting (and a big percentage won't even know it exists)..

Just to add further 'magic' to the cunning plan, meetings are often arranged around their riders agenda rather than when the fans can attend, leaving meetings crammed in in the dark days of winter after having months of summer devoid of Speedway..

You can then add on an admission fee that is set at the level it is to desperately offset the huge outlay that they choose to pay out, rather than a reflection of the quality of what they are actually selling..

All of the above plan has no place or investment for a national marketing plan it should be noted...

Millions paid to riders that the vast majority of the UK have never heard of. In a sport that most people have never heard of. Yet hardly anything spent on marketing..

You spend Millions on the sport yet (astonishingly), run it this way?

A truly quite incredible situation and concept isn't it?

It should go amateur?

Could that be regarded as a step up in certain areas?

 

 

 

 

Edited by mikebv
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