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Five Years of Speedway Plus

September 2004 sees Speedway Plus celebrate its fifth birthday, not a bad milestone for any website to reach. The site was initially hosted by an ISP named Internations but graduated to become a fully fledged '.co.uk' during the summer of 2000.

Speedway Plus, as the name hopefully suggests, was first formed with the intention of adding something different to the speedway content available on the internet. While most other sites tend to be dedicated to a particular club or rider, or offer a news service, we've always tried to be much more general in our approach and to provide features of interest to as wide an audience as possible. We realise that we're not everyone's cup of tea, but we do like to think that we appeal to the slightly more discerning surfer!

The very first article on the site was a picture feature on the decaying Berrington Lough stadium in Berwick. The Bandits had moved out at the end of 1995 and our snaps showed the rather sad state of the stadium after four years of neglect. These pictures are still part of our ever popular archive of track photographs, the selection has now expanded to include many current and closed tracks. Sadly some of the circuits, such as Linlithgow and Trelawny, have made the transition from 'current' to 'closed' during our five years. Fans of this section of the site will be pleased to know that we'll be adding quite a number of tracks over the next few months.

Speedway Plus has never been afraid to introduce new features, some of which have worked and some of which haven't. Two of the most successful additions have been the Match Report Generator and the Programme Generator. These popular utilities have both been part of the site since the start of the 2000 season. Regular updates have been made, both to improve the quality and to keep up to date with the latest regulations.

Somewhat less successful was our 'Speedway Alphabet' feature that was going to run to twenty-six parts and feature a brief history of some of the sport's clubs and riders. The article that dealt with the letter 'A' did make it onto the site, but parts B-Z somehow never materialized.

One of our longest running features has been the 'Dream Team' section of the site. Not an original idea by any means, but over fifty people now have their fantasy side listed on the site. One of the most memorable is Andy Taylor's Nightmare Side. This featured what he considered to be the seven worst Boston riders ever. One of these was Keith Bloxsome, Keith subsequently got in touch and, in a very impassioned response, gave his side of the story. In the weeks that followed numerous people got in touch to back up Keith, including his former Newcastle team mate Rod Hunter. Quite an entertaining few weeks for us, but we've tried to avoid those kind of teams since then!

Our 'A Matter of Opinion' series has also appeared on and off over the years. This gave fans the chance to share their views on topical issues. It was always popular but it's difficult to turn the articles around quickly enough to maintain that essential topicality. We may well revisit this in the future, drop us a line if you'd be interested in taking part.

Throughout the first five years of Speedway Plus we've seen many hundreds of speedway websites come and go. More often than not we've passed on links to these sites, initially through our 'Web News' column and latterly through our front page. This is something we'll continue to do as we know how much a new website appreciates its first few visitors, getting those initial hits can be the difference between the webmaster continuing with the site and them giving up on it entirely.

We don't have any fixed plans for the future of the site, other than the fact that it will definitely continue. We'll probably just continue to churn out the same old rubbish we always have. We always welcome unsolicited contributions, so if you'd like to contribute then send us your stuff! Alternatively, if you've got any ideas for the site then drop us an email and we'll get back to you.

Before we go, we must say thanks to everyone who has ever taken the time to get in touch, contribute an article or to assist us. All feedback we receive is valued, and positive feedback is the only reward we get for the many hours we put into the site.

Here's to the next five years!

Special thanks to:
Richard Hollingsworth; Harry Ward; Steve Harland; Graeme Paterson; John Hyam; Dave Green; Ghillean Bates-Salter; David Crane and Gary Penfold.


This article was first published on 18th September 2004

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