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Rob B

Why speedway is failing

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2 hours ago, chunky said:

Really? They couldn't even qualify for finals - when they were in England!

1976, 79, 82. All at the White City!

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1 hour ago, cityrebel said:

1976, 79, 82. All at the White City!

And I went to all of 'em!

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9 hours ago, mikebv said:

But back then you got to watch the worlds best on TV on one of only three channels most Saturday afternoons, with many of them household names..

And then had your tea...

And then went to watch the same lads ride at your local track..

For a small dent in your disposable income.. 

With England ruling the roost in the Speedway World...

Meaning the domestic leagues fed off the international success being beamed into (literally) millions of homes..

And if PC or Ivan were "elsewhere" and a guest replaced them, you found out at the track, after you had paid to get in, not days in advance..

Then the USA and the Danes took over..

So Promoters brought more of them over..

And then more Swedes, Norwegians, Aussies, Czechs, NZ's, Finns, Poles, etc etc etc..

And then viewing figures dropped because England were no longer winning, nor even looking like winning..

So the TV companies stopped beaming the sport into millions of homes...

So then crowds started to drop in domestic racing.. 

Meaning inflation busting admission fees started to rise to pay for all these overseas stars, and the drop in crowd levels..

And that was 35 or so years ago..

Yet the same operating model has taken place all that time until today where we now seem to have realised that a successful national team might help fill some domestic league meetings with fans..

Yet that is undermined by all that nonsense that still exists with "guests", ridiculous made up rules, poor track prep etc, but is now done in a 24/7 social media glare which (quite rightly), holds it up to the ridicule it deserves.. 

People's disposable income has shrunk due to so much modern technology in the home and life in general being "a basic need", and not a luxury, with monthly outgoings very high in many homes..

Nowadays a Speedway meeting doesnt leave a small dent in the disposable income anymore, but a significant one..

What you could do and get away with in the 70's and 80's you cannot now..

The Worlds moved on, but UK Speedway didn't, and to a huge degree, still hasn't. .

Absolutely spot on. The worlds top riders back in the day, PC, Ole, Ivan etc, would have two bikes. Most riders only had one. A mechanic would cost you a fish n chip supper. The next day that rider would most likely have gone to work.

Now days of course. It's 3 bikes a lovey fully kitted out van and a full time mechanic. So imo riders of today need to ride as many times a week as possible just to cover their outgoings. Unfortunately riders starting out see this as the norm and as such will aspire to making a living out of a sport that attracts less people than a lot of non-league football clubs.

It's too far gone now. Riders will not accept anything less than what they get now. Could you imagine for example Bomber being told " You can only ride for one club"! To do this he would have to survive on most likely one bike a smaller van, use a mate for a mechanic and maybe shock horror get a part time job. I don't think it will happen, but if it is left as it is, the riders will have no clubs to ride for!!

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20 minutes ago, tyler42 said:

Absolutely spot on. The worlds top riders back in the day, PC, Ole, Ivan etc, would have two bikes. Most riders only had one. A mechanic would cost you a fish n chip supper. The next day that rider would most likely have gone to work.

Now days of course. It's 3 bikes a lovey fully kitted out van and a full time mechanic. So imo riders of today need to ride as many times a week as possible just to cover their outgoings. Unfortunately riders starting out see this as the norm and as such will aspire to making a living out of a sport that attracts less people than a lot of non-league football clubs.

It's too far gone now. Riders will not accept anything less than what they get now. Could you imagine for example Bomber being told " You can only ride for one club"! To do this he would have to survive on most likely one bike a smaller van, use a mate for a mechanic and maybe shock horror get a part time job. I don't think it will happen, but if it is left as it is, the riders will have no clubs to ride for!!

But what isn't accounted for there is the rise of sponsorship. Maybe a few of the top riders had some sponsorship in the 60s and early 70s, but not many. Now most do, and it was Terry Betts years ago who said that was the start of changing the sport from a team to more individual sport as it was always important for the individual rider to shine rather than the team, due to their sponsorship or hope of attracting more

Egon Müller maybe the epitome of this. Always had sponsorship blazened on his leathers, and always more interested in the individual aspect rather than the team side of the sport

Edited by iris123
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2 hours ago, iris123 said:

But what isn't accounted for there is the rise of sponsorship. Maybe a few of the top riders had some sponsorship in the 60s and early 70s, but not many. Now most do, and it was Terry Betts years ago who said that was the start of changing the sport from a team to more individual sport as it was always important for the individual rider to shine rather than the team, due to their sponsorship or hope of attracting more

Egon Müller maybe the epitome of this. Always had sponsorship blazened on his leathers, and always more interested in the individual aspect rather than the team side of the sport

And therein lies another issue..

Salaries are needed to maintain kit that needs to be at a level to fund individual ambitions..

Individual ambitions that feed nothing directly back to the clubs through increased numbers, even if they have someone who has achieved something on their books..

And personally, if they want to run the sport as a team sport, and the rider wants to ride full time, then all sponsorship should go into a pool for the club to use..

Even in F1, some drivers have to bring £x amount of sponsorship to the team just to get to drive the car..

Obviously with two/three/four teams each, some in different countries, dividing up the sponsorship may be a tad difficult though...:rolleyes:

A recent example of a theft from a young "junior" making his way in the Speedway World highlighted just how ridiculous things have become..

According to his team manager in the SS, to buy the kit stolen from his van, from scratch, would be £20k...

A van that was ultra professionally finished on the outside with a superb action shot of the rider painted on the side...

When a "junior" feels he needs all that just to compete in a sport ran in front of several hundred people, then it truly is in trouble.. 

 

 

Edited by mikebv
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10 hours ago, chunky said:

My response was just aimed at the comment that stated the "England ruled the roost"...

I agree with everything you say, but don't agree with the reasoning stated mikebv; there are many other reasons that have contributed to speedway's decline. However, the biggest threat to British speedway is the loss of venues. Without somewhere to race, we are screwed...

From 1971 to 1984, Great Britain/England won 16 World Titles at Individual, BP and WTC level.. 

All won by very well known sporting personalities.. 

I would suggest that this kept the sport very much front and centre in the minds of the TV companies..

As they knew an audience was out there to watch it...

With the domestic leagues getting huge knock on benefits.. 

Edited by mikebv

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14 hours ago, mikebv said:

Riders can pick and choose when to turn up, and have a night off as they are tired...

Who was this and when? I've missed this one

12 hours ago, mikebv said:

Speedway spent its money from Sky (millions and millions), on ensuring the top riders rode here, rather than investing in some stand alone infrastructure..

And the top lads promptly cleared off when the Sky money dropped...

And now they're back wanting "farewell" meetings!!

36 minutes ago, mikebv said:

From 1971 to 1984, Great Britain/England won 16 World Titles at Individual, BP and WTC level.. 

All won by very well known sporting personalities.. 

I would suggest that this kept the sport very much front and centre in the minds of the TV companies..

As they knew an audience was out there to watch it...

With the domestic leagues getting huge knock on benefits.. 

Also don't forget they had great printed press media, regularly featuring in the red tops and weren't Mirror Group and the Daily Express even sponsors of some meetings? "The working man" was regularly exposed to Speedway coverage. I think a lot of many sports declines can possibly be pinpointed back at the launch of the football Premier League back in 1992 (?), the coverage was unavoidable, world stars started to appear, crowds went up, prices went up, the working class leisure pound was squeezed, not only in admission prices but also subscription prices. Many other sports reacted to this and changed their model, Speedway did not.

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48 minutes ago, iainb said:

Who was this and when? I've missed this one

And now they're back wanting "farewell" meetings!!

Also don't forget they had great printed press media, regularly featuring in the red tops and weren't Mirror Group and the Daily Express even sponsors of some meetings? "The working man" was regularly exposed to Speedway coverage. I think a lot of many sports declines can possibly be pinpointed back at the launch of the football Premier League back in 1992 (?), the coverage was unavoidable, world stars started to appear, crowds went up, prices went up, the working class leisure pound was squeezed, not only in admission prices but also subscription prices. Many other sports reacted to this and changed their model, Speedway did not.

To be fair, they did bring in the Green Helmet Cover... 

Pretty damn radical... 

Couldn't move at the old Kirky Lane track the night they introduced that..

Queues back to Levenshulme..:D

 

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1 hour ago, mikebv said:

To be fair, they did bring in the Green Helmet Cover... 

Pretty damn radical... 

Couldn't move at the old Kirky Lane track the night they introduced that..

Queues back to Levenshulme..:D

 

Is this some kind of 3-2-1 Dusty Bin style cryptic clue to the tired riders name?

If so I'm totally bamboozled :rofl:

Edited by iainb

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6 hours ago, iris123 said:

But what isn't accounted for there is the rise of sponsorship. Maybe a few of the top riders had some sponsorship in the 60s and early 70s, but not many. Now most do, and it was Terry Betts years ago who said that was the start of changing the sport from a team to more individual sport as it was always important for the individual rider to shine rather than the team, due to their sponsorship or hope of attracting more

Egon Müller maybe the epitome of this. Always had sponsorship blazened on his leathers, and always more interested in the individual aspect rather than the team side of the sport

And may explain the demise of 'team riding' which is such a unique and exciting part of Speedway and would be a huge attraction to new fans if it were still done regularly....

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20 hours ago, chunky said:

Everyone focuses on "credibiity", but that his little or nothing to do with it. If it was an enjoyable and entertaining night out, most wouldn't give a toss about credibility...

I was going to vehemently disagree with your point Chunky because I so badly want Speedway to be credible, however American wrestling is massive and is not a 'real' sport!!

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16 hours ago, mikebv said:

But back then you got to watch the worlds best on TV on one of only three channels most Saturday afternoons, with many of them household names..

And then had your tea...

And then went to watch the same lads ride at your local track..

For a small dent in your disposable income.. 

With England ruling the roost in the Speedway World...

Meaning the domestic leagues fed off the international success being beamed into (literally) millions of homes..

And if PC or Ivan were "elsewhere" and a guest replaced them, you found out at the track, after you had paid to get in, not days in advance..

Then the USA and the Danes took over..

So Promoters brought more of them over..

And then more Swedes, Norwegians, Aussies, Czechs, NZ's, Finns, Poles, etc etc etc..

And then viewing figures dropped because England were no longer winning, nor even looking like winning..

So the TV companies stopped beaming the sport into millions of homes...

So then crowds started to drop in domestic racing.. 

Meaning inflation busting admission fees started to rise to pay for all these overseas stars, and the drop in crowd levels..

And that was 35 or so years ago..

Yet the same operating model has taken place all that time until today where we now seem to have realised that a successful national team might help fill some domestic league meetings with fans..

Yet that is undermined by all that nonsense that still exists with "guests", ridiculous made up rules, poor track prep etc, but is now done in a 24/7 social media glare which (quite rightly), holds it up to the ridicule it deserves.. 

People's disposable income has shrunk due to so much modern technology in the home and life in general being "a basic need", and not a luxury, with monthly outgoings very high in many homes..

Nowadays a Speedway meeting doesnt leave a small dent in the disposable income anymore, but a significant one..

What you could do and get away with in the 70's and 80's you cannot now..

The Worlds moved on, but UK Speedway didn't, and to a huge degree, still hasn't. .

Tbf, you can't disagree with any of these points. I've always thought that the team should be around 51-53 points to accommodate the better riders but we more or less forced them elsewhere with the lower average year after year. Now riders have to have a few 'poor' meetings to keep themselves in with a chance of a job next season... 

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I have to say that this is a fascinating and absorbing thread with fantastic contributions and points being made by knowledgable and passionate supporters of a once mighty sport.

Any current or prospective promoters should sit themselves down in front of a PC with a big notepad and go through the whole thread making a plan for the future of Speedway!!

Thanks all for a brilliant conversation, I've loved reading it.

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1 hour ago, iainb said:

Is this some kind of 3-2-1 Dusty Bin style cryptic clue to the tired riders name?

If so I'm totally bamboozled :rofl:

My first is in Eat but not in Cat...

My second is in Duck but not in Pack...

My third is in Igloo but not in..

Oh sod it..

It's in the Edinburgh v Brum KO Cup thread, Ian...

Edited by mikebv
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23 minutes ago, HackneyHawk said:

I have to say that this is a fascinating and absorbing thread with fantastic contributions and points being made by knowledgable and passionate supporters of a once mighty sport.

Any current or prospective promoters should sit themselves down in front of a PC with a big notepad and go through the whole thread making a plan for the future of Speedway!!

Thanks all for a brilliant conversation, I've loved reading it.

Your welcome it's great taking part!

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