Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
07/03/2021
2020 Review - Part 5
Peter Clark
 
28/02/2021
2020 Review - Part 4
Still Flying High
Your Feedback
 
21/02/2021
2020 Review - Part 3
Harold MacNaughton
Your Feedback
 
14/02/2021
Olle Nygren
2020 Review - Part 2
Your Feedback
 
07/02/2021
2020 Review - Part 1
Your Feedback
 
31/01/2021
Debut: Joe Screen
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
24/01/2021
Review: Blood & Cinders
Your Feedback
 
17/01/2021
Tai Deserves a Gong
The J.A.P is Modern Art
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
03/01/2021
Snapshots of Yesteryear
Snapshots of Yesteryear
Snapshots of Yesteryear
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
27/12/2020
The Polish Problem
Mauger, Nielsen. World Finals.
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
16/12/2020
Simon Wigg Racing Plus!
 
10/12/2020
Review: Saving Speedway
 
06/12/2020
Great Races of the 70s/80s
The BLRC 1984
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
22/11/2020
Book Review: Dave Jessup
The BLRC 1983
Leif "Basse" Hveem
Your Feedback
 
15/11/2020
When Did it Start to Decline?
The BLRC 1982
Tracking Down the Swagman
Your Feedback
 
08/11/2020
Review: Before Air Fences
THE BLRC 1981
Dagenham
Your Feedback
 
01/11/2020
Review: Who Gates Wins
The BLRC 1980
Owlerton in the Sixties
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
25/10/2020
Doyle's Triple Crown
The BLRC 1979
Your Feedback
 
11/10/2020
New Cross Album 1936
The BLRC 1978
Your Feedback
 
04/10/2020
Sheffield 60s & 70s
The BLRC 1977
John Pilblad
Your Feedback
 


Enjoying the Greenfield Experience
Philip Dalling

Somerset Speedway

During more than forty years as a speedway supporter, I have been a spectator at many different venues.

These have varied enormously in size, comfort and atmosphere. They have included the great metropolitan arenas like Wembley, Wimbledon, Harringay and the old Manchester Belle Vue, with their towering stands and terraces.

Then there have been the classic greyhound/speedway stadia - Brandon, Coventry, Blackbird Road, Leicester, Monmore Green, Wolverhampton, and Owlerton, Sheffield.

The football/rugby stadia like Wimborne Road, Poole, Somerton Park, Newport, the almost forgotten Seedhill at Nelson, and the County Ground, Exeter.

Not forgetting the down at heel but atmospheric arenas like Cradley's Dudley Wood bowl and Station Road at Long Eaton.

Some still flourish, others have vanished.

So it was with some misgivings that I set off to experience for the first time the new style of speedway - the greenfield variety. The match itself was between two teams with names that would have made the average fan blink with disbelief even a couple of decades ago.

Somerset v the Isle of Wight. Sounds more like the early round of cricket's knock-out cup competition. What would it really be like?

With the ever-growing difficulty of gaining planning approval for urban speedways (Birmingham apart) many believe this is the future for the sport. Out of town venues with just the very minimum of facilities, with plenty of car parking and few neighbours to upset.

Does it work? The answer has to be yes. Although it was a chilly late August evening on the exposed Somerset levels, at a venue where to date the facilities are primitive, the promoters have already established a distinct and genuine speedway atmosphere. Long-term fans will probably understand what I mean by that.

The track is impeccably maintained, the high grass banking that surrounds the race strip not only baffles much of the noise but also gives a good, clear view of the racing for a crowd much larger than I had anticipated, and older fans will appreciate the traditional pre-meeting parade and the calm, informative announcer on the impressive tannoy system. I never saw any Southern Area League racing, at rural venues like California, Ringwood, Brafield, the old Rye House and Eastbourne, as it was before the impressive developments of recent years.

These tracks were essentially training grounds, opportunities for novices and second strings to get some experience in Sunday afternoon challenge matches and individual events.

Venues and teams like Somerset and the Isle of Wight (no doubt Scunthorpe and Plymouth will eventually graduate from the Conference League) are without doubt the real thing.

The racing was full-blooded between two strong teams vying for play-off honours. The success of both the Rebels and the Islanders in the Premier League, with results and, I suspect, average gates, better than many of their more traditional stadium-based big-city rivals, offers real hope for the future of the sport.

[ Use Mobile Version ]
 

 

Comment on this Article | Contact Us | Go Back to Main Menu

   Please leave your comments on this article or on the site as a whole