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On The Skids - Speedway 2019

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    On The Skids - Speedway 2019

    This weekend is the start of the club season in Britain following last week's Benevolent Fund individual meeting. I've been tardy in starting the thread as I'm still struggling with the fact that my club and my next most watched club have folded leaving no speedway within the M25 at all.

    I hope to get to occasional meetings at Kent (though they are increasingly stymied by the local council meaning they still have to commence meetings at the terrible time of 6:30pm on a Monday), Eastbourne, Peterborough and other further flung tracks as well as Grand Prixs but it's going to be far tougher to see the sport. The ice speedway I saw in Berlin the other week was a real tonic though, hope to see more of that on the continent some time.

    Good to see this coverage of the sport in the Guardian today, even if it is about the trouble the sport is in across Britain. I've nicked part of the title as it sums up me feelings ;

    Out of time and on the skids: speedway’s struggle for survival
    Last edited by Ray de Galles; 25-03-2019, 11:38.

    I'll pick up the season preview issue of Speedway Star this week and see if it reignites any desire to go and see some speedway. Maybe we should plan a meet up and mumble all together?


      Absolutely, let me know what tracks and meeetings work for you.


        Eastbourne Eagles 63 Somerset Rebels 27

        SGB Championship Shield

        My first meeting of the season and, as the scoreline attests, not really a contest at Arlington. In ridiculously unseasonably low temperatures (you know it's not speedway weather when they're gritting the motorway in the way home) a pretty healthy crowd saw the Eagles give the Rebels a right drubbing.

        Unfortunately, the track was a gaters paradise with very little passing and what there was for the minor places. I've only been there once before five years ago in Eastbourne's Elite League days and can't recall if it was the same then but I can't recall a rider making the first bend failing to win the race apart from Todd Kurtz who fell late on when leading.

        His miserable failure to score a point all night summed up Somerset who failed to register a heat advantage all night. Only Rory Schlein really turned up scoring 12 points, Chris Harris started OK with two second places then faded away and never had any speed all night and guest Justin Sedgman was respectable I suppose. The rest were garbage. Richard Lawson, Eddie Kennett and Lewis Kerr all cleaned up.

        Good to be be back at the track after the miserable end to last season and the loss of the teams within the M25. I may make an Easter meeting where it seems the weather might be a bit more bearable.


          Can someone please tell me what's going on at Rye House? I know they went bust last season and that Lakeside Hammers were supposed to be moving in, but there appears to be no speedway there whatsoever. Added to that, I read from the Rye House facebook page that the stadium may be converted purely for karting with no speedway at all. Surely this can't be right?


            Much of this was covered in last year's thread but in summary - Rye House Rockets shut up shop midway through last season as the promoters, BMR (or their subsidiary), ran up insupportable losses including owing riders money. Lakeside Hammers moves to Rye House towards the end of the season as their own track was shut down, they finished their fixtures there but there were a lot of practical problems.

            Lakeside were then mothballed for a season (at least) and I read this week in Speedway Star that the company that ran the promotion has been liquidated, again owing money to riders. A new company has apparently been set up with the aim of establishing a track in Thurrock with council support but that seems like a difficult undertaking.

            The track itself could still support a team but the BSPA are loathe to license any entity that owes riders money. I haven't heard about the site being converted solely to karting but would be interested in hearing what Facebook group you picked up the rumor on as I've not seen it on the main Rye House Fans one.


              Have a look at the following link. Where someone starts with.....

              ...Taken from this weeks ‘96-Page Season Preview Special’ edition of Speedway Star...

              The comments underneath it are 2 weeks old, but that is where it says the site will be converted for karting. Dreadful news if true as I have been to Rye House a few times and have enjoyed watching from the wooden patio area next to the bar.

              Rye House Fans has 935 members. Welcome to the Rye House Fans page. Feel free to post anything you want but please try not to be offensive and absolutely...


                That's weird, I'm on that group but can't see that post when I'm logged in to Facebook and can't see the comments when I'm not. I suspect I may have blocked the sender for some reason.

                I'm not sure how much credence I give to any comments on there but it wouldn't surprise me if the track is lost to speedway forever which is a disaster for the sport and a personal one for me. It's the place I discovered live speedway and my favourite track in the country.


                  There is also a new joint football / rugby league stadium planned for Workington but speedway is not included.


                    Speedway of Nations Race Off 2
                    National Speedway Stadium, Manchester

                    GB 26*
                    Australia 22*
                    Denmark 22*
                    France 16
                    USA 16
                    Latvia 16
                    Finland 8


                    A great night's racing in my first visit to the Belle Vue Aces' National Stadium which is a hugely impressive venue, though it struggled a little to cater for the sell out 7,000 crowd.

                    This is effectively the second semi-final for the revamped World Cup which is now a pairs competition. Each country picks two riders (with one u-21 reserve) who race directly against every other country once with the top two advancing direct to the final and another joining them after a 3rd place v winner of 4th v 5th place play-off. It works out a lot simpler than it sounds.

                    Those three teams join hosts Russia in July's final along with last week's qualifiers from race-off 1; Poland, Sweden and Germany.

                    The competition has expanded to include countries like France, Italy, Ukraine and Latvia which has overall been very positive. France were particularly impressive and unlucky to not overhaul huge favourites Denmark in the final play-off heat.

                    You do get one man teams like Latvia where Andzejs Lebvedevs scored 14 of their 16 points (the second highest individual score after Denmark's Nils-Kristian Iversen's 15) but it's still good for the expansion of the sport.

                    The USA were hit hard by the loss of their captain and four time individual World Champion Greg Hancock who has had to withdraw from the sport to support his wife in her cancer treatment. After a slow start their young riders Luke Becker and Broc Nicol finished really strongly.

                    Finland were a mess, missing their captain Timo Lahti after a late withdrawal they couldn't muster a single point from his replacement Jesse Mustonen or reserve Timo Salonen and while Teri Aarnio managed 8 points he didn't get a single heat win. I wonder if Muukainen has any idea what's going on with speedway there if he's reading this?

                    GB predictably used home advantage and the strength of current and three time World Champion Tai Woffinden, track specialist Craig Cook and enormously exciting reserve Robert Lambert to dominate. Australia's Max Fricke (also a track specialist and current Belle Vue Ace, even sporting their logo on his bike) top scored for Australia with 12 with Chris Holder (a late replacement for Jason Doyle who had a nasty crash for Swindon in the week) riding solidly.

                    The Danes were lucky that NKI was in form because their other riders contributed very little, though that was partly due to mechanical problems.

                    Good to be back at the track for only the third time this year, the lack of local clubs running being exacerbated by family commitments on all of the bank holidays in April/May this year which would normally be peak Speedway watching time. I need to get the diary and fixture list out to see when I can fit in some more meetings soon.
                    Last edited by Ray de Galles; 12-05-2019, 14:08.


                      Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post
                      Finland were a mess, missing their captain Timo Lahti after a late withdrawal they couldn't muster a single point from his replacement Jesse Mustonen or reserve Timo Salonen and while Teri Aarnio managed 8 points he didn't get a single heat win. I wonder if Muukainen has any idea what's going on with speedway there if he's reading this?
                      Thanks for the report, Ray. I'm afraid that I don't follow speedway at all over here, The only comment I could make is that it is a very minority sport, at least in the north. Sad to hear about the Finns' poor performance but, let's say, not entirely unexpected.


                        I always think of it having a decent level of rider if not much/any of a club competition. They certainly shouldn't be finishing last by some margin in a meeting featuring France and Latvia and scoring less than even Italy and Ukraine managed in the other race off.


                          Kent Kings 45 Wimbledon Dons 45
                          John Cearns Cup

                          A really enjoyable evening at what is now my nearest track, Central Park in Sittingbourne. This was the latest in an annual friendly with a scratch Wimbledon side to keep the Dons' name alive. The link between the clubs being that the Cearns family run the Sittingbourne stadium as their previous generations did Plough Lane for dogs and speedway,

                          Both teams were the typical third tier mixture of grizzled veterans and promising youngsters with the visitors being made up of guests - a few of which were making their way back from injury and treating the meeting as a showcase to get a new club. The most notable of these was former King and Rye House Rocket Luke Bowen which really swung my support behind Wimbledon even more than had already been the case.

                          Closely contested racing kept the scores level from heats 2-8 and the Kings never managed to pull away to anything more than a 4 point lead behind that. The Dons drew level in heat 14 and an absolutely explosive final heat was shared to leave the meeting a very diplomatic but hard fought draw being the final result.

                          A heartening evening added to by a fantastic display of Dons memorabilia but a bittersweet reminder that even the sport's biggest clubs can go under, seemingly for good.


                            I don't know if anyone saw Saturday's opening GP of the season. A 55,000 sell out at Warsaw's national stadium it had some excellent racing and a surprise winner in Leon Madsen, reigning European champion but in his first regular World Championship season.

                            He sort of snuck through the heats and semi-Final unnoticed but took advantage of a Freddie Lindgren slip in the Grand Final to take the meeting. This was particularly poetic as Lindgren had executed a trademark filthy move on Antonio Lindback in heat 12 and a win for him would have left a real bad taste in the mouth.

                            Tai Woffinden had a really poor start to the defence of his title, failing to make the semi-final with only 6 points but Robert Lambert had a good evening as temporary replacement for Greg Hancock, scoring 8 points and making the semi.


                              Last but by no means least, in the Polish League Emil Sayfutdinov (in the yellow helmet) shows why he probably the most exciting current rider in the world's most exciting sport with this absolutely insane wall of death display :



                                Amazing. He was a Bee once, when we still had Bees...


                                  Right, it's about time I dip into this thread and give a Plymouth speedway update.

                                  I hate the new name, I hate the new colour scheme and I hate that a marshy field under a flyover is now called the Coliseum.

                                  But I get why it's been done, and it's kept speedway in town so I accept it. Considering we've had (I think) five different names I can live with the name change, but I did love the devil thumbing his nose to the world. Having said that the new promotion ditched him straight away and the replacements version were beyond shite so Gladiators doesn't seem so bad. The colours are too Eastbourne, keeping the red/ yellow would have been a subtle nod to the past.

                                  It's been a weird year though. We're about half way through the season yet we've only had five meetings and it all started so well. The weather has been more than unkind with beautiful midweek sunshine giving way to dodgy Fridays and due to our location the promotion tend to call meetings off early to avoid unnecessary expenses. A couple of times the rains never came. Not only that the track has been so dusty the promotion had to take action. The first meeting I attended it was so bad after the first lap it was almost impossible to see the racing so who knows the riders visibility. It was dangerous for them and rubbish for us which meant a couple of sunny Fridays and no racing while the track was relaid. Then the rains came, so we all trooped down to the coliseum to witness the tractors turn the track into a ploughed, rutted mess and more meetings cancelled. Purely personally it's beem shite. Everytime I've booked time off to go down it's been off or abandoned, when I've been working or unable to get down we seemed to have raced. It looks like it's sorted now. We've got a run of meetings for the next couple of months so I should get down there.

                                  Team wise the one rider, Henry Atkins, that ellicits an almost football crowd repsonse moved up to Somerset. In trying to sign him back last month our lack of racing meant Mildenhall nicked him from under us.

                                  So, it's difficult to know where we are. I've barely seen us ride.


                                    Having a similarly unsatisfying season. Been unable to add to the four meetings I did early season, partly because I've been busy with Wales football, Cricket World Cup and work and partly the loss of local tracks. I've not really got with the televised speedway of Premier League or the last couple of SGPs either, though I have a backlog of them to catch up with.

                                    Hoping to rectify the above and strike out to Kent, Poole, Ipswich, Swindon and maybe Peterborough before the end of August when I definitely plan to do an extended Bank Holiday Weekend packed with meetings.

                                    Woffinden is out of the SGP circuit for a while with injury and now also the Speedway of Nations Finals which seriously damages GB's chances of a medal.


                                      A movie with Speedway....
                                      Adventure Boyz Film - Writer and Director: Howard J Ford. Watch Adventure Boyz trailer.


                                        The British Individual Championship Final from Belle Vue just starting now on BT Sport 1.


                                          That was a very enjoyable meeting, and a deserved winner - though how well he'll do at Cardiff is another matter.


                                            Wasn't it good? Wright's win was well deserved and a very heartening story. I must admit to being surprised to discover he was 30 though, I thought he was significantly younger for some reason.

                                            I'm in the Midlands for work this weekend so hope to get to an all too rare meeting, weather allowing. Leicester v Sheffield is the favourite right now.


                                              Charles Wright the best speedway rider in Britain? I remember when he wasn't even the best rider in his family!


                                                Seen a couple of meetings in the last few weeks, Peterborough falling to a pretty dismal 41-49 home defeat to Wolverhampton Wolves in the Premiership where the absence home of No. 1 Hans Anderson through long term injury was crucial. The other heat leader Rohan Tungate as well as Charles Wright rode manfully but no other Panthers rider performed (Scotty Nicholls and Ty Proctor managing 7 points between them). Wolves didn't need to be much more than competent from 1 to 7 to win. Peterborough's track, previously a great racing one, seems to have turned in to a starter's paradise this season too.

                                                I also saw Leicester Lions hammer Sheffield Tigers 53-37 in the Championship at the weekend. It was a decent, eventful enough meeting belying the final score a little but only Danny King from the visitors really performed. Lions riders Scott Nicholls (again) and Aaron Summers were unbeaten by a Tigers rider all night, Nicholls winning all of his four races but not being put in for Heat 15 for some reason. The fact that Nicholls and Summers were two of five riders who rode for two different clubs in both of the meetings made for a very strange, samey experience.

                                                This season's still a struggle with no local tracks and watching most meetings as a neutral, though I have realised I quite dislike Leicester due to the high number of obvious wankers amongst their support. When I first went there they shocked me by vociferously cheering a crash from a visiting Coventry rider which was totally unacceptable whatever the rivalry between them and on Sunday they cheered every opposition mechanical failure as if it was an overtake on the final bend of the last lap. There's also a bunch of them that do some kind of choreographed flag celebration in the main stand when they win a race meaning they're not actually watching the action.

                                                I must admit it felt good to take against them, I need some partisanship in my speedway.


                                                  I saw two meetings over the Bank Holiday weekend, one of them probably the best club clash I've seen all season and the other a heartening occasion due to a big lively crowd but let down by a horrendous mismatch.

                                                  Eastbourne Eagles v Redcar Bears on the Saturday evening and it couldn't have been a bigger contrast with my trip to a freezing Arlington for my first meeting of the season back in April. Gorgeous late summer weather, a track that allowed for passing all night and Eastbourne appear to reinstated the enclosed area by the starting tapes that gives the closest proximity to the track I've ever had. Eastbourne were relatively comfortable 50-40 winners but the racing was lively all night and the whole meeting was concluded in 90 minutes without a single delay.

                                                  Swindon Robins v Ipswich Witches two nights later was a huge contrast in terms of competitiveness and smooth running, it took seven attempts to complete the first two heats due to false starts and fall and the referee held the tapes too long all night meaning the starts were an issue throughout. However the huge Bank Holiday Monday crowd, great weather and really enthusiastic support was impressive. What wasn't impressive was Ipswich's starting and riding, they lost 66-24, which might be the biggest winning margin I've ever seen and were pathetic.

                                                  That the Witches are still in the play-off positions is probably an indication of the weakness of the Premiership at the moment thought their form is so bad they may drop out of the top four by the end of the season. I know they've made major changes since the Swindon result, bringing in Niels-Kristian Iversen at Number One being the most obvious one but it could be too late.

                                                  That at may be it for me this season, I may get a Kent Kings meeting in or try to strike out to a Premiership or Championship but the distances involved in making those (and the midweek race nights for the former) may preclude it.