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Speedway to reinvent itself?

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5 minutes ago, frigbo said:

1995 one big league and then the Sky money offered two great opportunitues to reset, re-plan and move forward - both were squandered.

The problem was that a 'top league' was just was much needed as a lower league to protect it against inflationary pressures. There were always more successful tracks that could run with higher costs, and with a single league that dragged up the costs of the other tracks in order to be half-competitive.

Of course, so many tracks had disappeared that I think the sport was down to about 21 in 1995, so it was barely possible to cobble together two leagues by that point. But the 'one big league' whilst providing more variety that was desperately needed, was too expensive for the lowest common denominator and merely accelerated the closure of tracks (I think a couple more had closed by the following season). That of course was the impetus for a (new) new National League, so the sport quickly ended-up effectively reverting back to two tiers.  

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Posted (edited)

The British scene was never going to sit comfortably with the Grand Prix which began to make demands domestically and weekend speedway at the higher level was hit when a Grand Prix was being held and the regularity increased as the GP series expanded. Losing Friday/Saturday night speedway proved decivise for many promotions with the non-availability of riders.

Edited by steve roberts
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58 minutes ago, steve roberts said:

The British scene was never going to sit comfortably with the Grand Prix which began to make demands domestically and weekend speedway at the higher level was hit when a Grand Prix was being held and the regularity increased as the GP series expanded. Losing Friday/Saturday night speedway proved decivise for many promotions with the non-availability of riders.

But again, the SGP was a missed opportunity for British speedway. Instead of allowing a private promoter to skim off what little cream there was in the sport, the major professional leagues could have run the competition for their own benefit. 

The demands of international cricket mean that the top players have rarely appeared in county cricket for the past 20 years, but at least the millions that the England team generates largely goes to the counties. Speedway isn't in anywhere near the same league in terms of revenue (maybe a million or so in profit per year), but precisely nothing came back from the SGP to compensate for the loss of Friday and Saturday racing. 

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7 minutes ago, Humphrey Appleby said:

But again, the SGP was a missed opportunity for British speedway. Instead of allowing a private promoter to skim off what little cream there was in the sport, the major professional leagues could have run the competition for their own benefit. 

The demands of international cricket mean that the top players have rarely appeared in county cricket for the past 20 years, but at least the millions that the England team generates largely goes to the counties. Speedway isn't in anywhere near the same league in terms of revenue (maybe a million or so in profit per year), but precisely nothing came back from the SGP to compensate for the loss of Friday and Saturday racing. 

...problem was/is the GP series creamed off the money that otherwise the BSPA got to see when they lost the one-off final and associate meetings and the money generated which proved invaluable to many promotions. The BSPA, as usual, were slow off the back foot and couldn't see the damage forthcoming and ignored the signs and only woke up when it came too late to do anything about it.

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The loss of weekend racing undoubtedly was a blow, but to not then do something about it was simply hari kiri..

It was the usual lack of clear, decisive, leadership, and instead, a cobbled together, make do and mend, halfway house, half arsed plan, of appeasement was delivered...

(And continues to thlis day)..

I truly believe many Promoters thought that the GP's were a 'fad' and that when it "inevitably disappeared" everything would go back to normal...

What it should have done then, and subsequently many times since, is plough it's own furrow, and be in charge of it's own destiny..

Instead promoters have spent 20 years or so, bending over backwards to accommodate riders who have become friends rather than employees in a lot of cases, and changing fixtures all over the place to allow them to follow their own individual ambitions...

It needed then (and still does today), some hard nosed business leadership that ensured tracks ran on the best nights to get their best crowd and their employees understood that they needed to be there...

Or ultimately decide to ply their trade elsewhere.. 

I can imagine there are still some in UK Speedway who blame the GP's for its demise, even around 25 years after it was launched..

I dont imagine Polish Speedway hold the same views, nor Sweden..

Both if which have done "more than ok" in the "GP Years"...

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9 minutes ago, mikebv said:

The loss of weekend racing undoubtedly was a blow, but to not then do something about it was simply hari kiri..

It was the usual lack of clear, decisive, leadership, and instead, a cobbled together, make do and mend, halfway house, half arsed plan, of appeasement was delivered...

(And continues to thlis day)..

I truly believe many Promoters thought that the GP's were a 'fad' and that when it "inevitably disappeared" everything would go back to normal...

What it should have done then, and subsequently many times since, is plough it's own furrow, and be in charge of it's own destiny..

Instead promoters have spent 20 years or so, bending over backwards to accommodate riders who have become friends rather than employees in a lot of cases, and changing fixtures all over the place to allow them to follow their own individual ambitions...

It needed then (and still does today), some hard nosed business leadership that ensured tracks ran on the best nights to get their best crowd and their employees understood that they needed to be there...

Or ultimately decide to ply their trade elsewhere.. 

I can imagine there are still some in UK Speedway who blame the GP's for its demise, even around 25 years after it was launched..

I dont imagine Polish Speedway hold the same views, nor Sweden..

Both if which have done "more than ok" in the "GP Years"...

Neither Poland nor Sweden used to ride on a Saturday, whereas Britain had the virtual backbone of their League(s), Coventry, Cradley, Eastbourne, Swindon, Bradford, King's Lynn to name a few, who had to lose their traditional (and most lucrative)  race night.

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16 minutes ago, Gambo said:

Neither Poland nor Sweden used to ride on a Saturday, whereas Britain had the virtual backbone of their League(s), Coventry, Cradley, Eastbourne, Swindon, Bradford, King's Lynn to name a few, who had to lose their traditional (and most lucrative)  race night.

Saturday tracks didn't lose their race night due to the GP's..

They chose to lose those race nights themselves...

To accommodate riders who had their own agendas to meet...

Riders who a few years later dropped the UK without a second glance..

Employees dictating opening hours..

Just like we still have today....

And it will never work...

 

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29 minutes ago, Gambo said:

Neither Poland nor Sweden used to ride on a Saturday, whereas Britain had the virtual backbone of their League(s), Coventry, Cradley, Eastbourne, Swindon, Bradford, King's Lynn to name a few, who had to lose their traditional (and most lucrative)  race night.

I basically stopped going to Swindon travelling from Oxford as a neutral once it moved to Thursdays as it was more difficult fitting it around work.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, mikebv said:

Saturday tracks didn't lose their race night due to the GP's..

They chose to lose those race nights themselves...

To accommodate riders who had their own agendas to meet...

Riders who a few years later dropped the UK without a second glance..

Employees dictating opening hours..

Just like we still have today....

And it will never work...

 

They didn't have their 'own agenda' they wanted to be World Champion, and the only way they could achieve that was by joining the GP Circuit.

So you think that the likes of Hans Nielsen, Leigh Adams, Jan O Pedersen, Erik Gundersen etc. etc. should have said don't want to be World Champion, I want to ride for my British club on a Saturday.

Edited by Gambo
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14 minutes ago, mikebv said:

Saturday tracks didn't lose their race night due to the GP's..

They chose to lose those race nights themselves...

To accommodate riders who had their own agendas to meet...

Riders who a few years later dropped the UK without a second glance..

Employees dictating opening hours..

Just like we still have today....

And it will never work...

 

I said at the time it would soon become a choice for riders to compete in either the British League or the GP's and for Promoters to best adjust to that scenario. There was the year when a rule was implemeted that decreed only one GP rider could ride for one particular team...it lasted the one year!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Gambo said:

They didn't have their 'own agenda' they wanted to be World Champion, and the only way they could achieve that was by joining the GP Circuit.

So you think that the likes of Hans Nielsen, Leigh Adams, Jan O Pedersen, Erik Gundersen etc. etc. should have said don't want to be World Champion, I want to ride for my British club on a Saturday.

No, not at all...

But when the tipping point came and guests galore took over replacing missing No1 riders...

Thus destroying the credibility of the leagues...

I would have expected those running the sport to take over their own destiny rather than let it be delivered by others..

Edited by mikebv

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47 minutes ago, Gambo said:

They didn't have their 'own agenda' they wanted to be World Champion, and the only way they could achieve that was by joining the GP Circuit.

So you think that the likes of Hans Nielsen, Leigh Adams, Jan O Pedersen, Erik Gundersen etc. etc. should have said don't want to be World Champion, I want to ride for my British club on a Saturday.

There was an element of wanting their cake and eating it though. The SGP has never paid a living wage, so riders effectively expected to their domestic league activities to support their world championship ambitions, and the British promoters allowed it to the detriment of their businesses. 

Very much a case of the tail wagging the dog, but that's really speedway in a nutshell. 

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3 hours ago, steve roberts said:

...problem was/is the GP series creamed off the money that otherwise the BSPA got to see when they lost the one-off final and associate meetings and the money generated which proved invaluable to many promotions. The BSPA, as usual, were slow off the back foot and couldn't see the damage forthcoming and ignored the signs and only woke up when it came too late to do anything about it.

The BSPA were never going to be able to keep the World Final for their own exclusive benefit though, especially once the Swedish, Danish and then Polish leagues started to take off. They should have seen the writing on the wall with private attempts to promote a GP-type series, and got together with the other major countries to ensure they got in on the act and the potential benefits. That would have become easier in the early-90s with the rise of satellite and cable television that was looking around for cheap content. 

How Saturday GPs would square with Friday and Saturday night tracks would still be a matter of conjecture, but at least the revenue could have compensated those circuits. 

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4 hours ago, Humphrey Appleby said:

There was an element of wanting their cake and eating it though. The SGP has never paid a living wage, so riders effectively expected to their domestic league activities to support their world championship ambitions, and the British promoters allowed it to the detriment of their businesses. 

Very much a case of the tail wagging the dog, but that's really speedway in a nutshell. 

And still very much the case today.

The current farcical facade that pretends to be a bona fide league structure is all about appeasing the riders, rather than the paying customer or what benefits the business....

They'll never learn....

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13 hours ago, mikebv said:

Saturday tracks didn't lose their race night due to the GP's..

They chose to lose those race nights themselves...

They didn't just lose their Saturday nights, they also lost their Friday nights as the FIM demanded attendance to sign in for practice... until they were dictated to by Poland who then insisted riders prioritise their league instead of actually qualifying!

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