"I agree with most of the above points.
I haven't been to speedway for 6 years now having been a fan for 32 years! Those running the sport have big problems. At the time I anticipated the
effect the Grand Prix would have on the domestic scene and have been proved right. SKY TV have manipulated the sport for its own good. I don't
agree with Play-Offs and daft rules (double points) and a points limit which means that riders no longer become automatic choices at the start
of every season. Instead fans have to endure a system where they can no longer relate with their team and chosen favourites. Too many foreigners
with no loyalty to their teams causes disruption and race nights altering to accomodate Grand Prix fixtures. Lack of continuity doesn't help and
I fear for the sport. I grew up watching speedwau during the 70's, 80's and 90's and feel that those days have long gone. RIP"
"You look at these tracks that these poor countries produce
and they are brilliant. It is a real shame that Great Britain can't produce the same quality. I know there are some good tracks in Britain but overall
most of them don't compare to these poorer countries. Just look at that track it is fantastic. Shame on you Great Britain. It is no mystery that
Speedway is dwindling in Britain due to no interest in making quality tracks like these other poorer countries produce."
Nick remains a staunch supporter of the Wimbledon Dons, having first seen them race back in 1987 when 'Mark Doodar' made an immediate
impression. Roger Johns is his favourite all time Don.
Wimbledon Supporters Reunion 2010
Wimbledon Speedway Supporters Club are pleased to announce the staging of the 'First Great Reunion Bash' on Saturday March 13th 2010.
The venue will be The Quays, Coleford Bridge Road, Mytchett, nr Camberley, Surrey. From 7pm until late.
The evening will be hosted by former Plough Lane presenting legend Mike Bennett, and former riders from down the years are being invited. Food will be available and it is also hoped that there will be an auction of some Wimbledon memorabilia.
Tickets are now available at a cost of �10, and entrance will be strictly by ticket only, although these can be picked up on the day.
If there are any former Wimbledon riders out there that have yet to be contacted then please send an email to the same address.
Berwick are holding a speedway forum and video night in memory of former track photographer Graham Platten. Sam Ermolenko, Tony Steele,
Lee Complin and Michal Makovsky will all be present and profits will be split between Michal's testimonial fund and the Motor Neurone Disease
Association. It starts at 7pm on February 6th at the Black and Gold club. Admission is a just a fiver and tickets can be reserved via email
from email@example.com, alternatively call 07955 211 618.
Geoff Gale is looking for photographs from the Lew Coffin training schools at Weymouth in 1968/69 and the 1969
Swindon Junior Championship - Can You Help?
"Interesting point in the Alf Common debate,
in February 1905 he moved from Sunderland to Middlesborough for the then HUGE fee of �1,000 which was the first ever four figure transfer. We
all know how daft football has gone with money since then. Aren't you glad speedway never got tainted with crazy transfers?"
"While the 'one off' World Final was
fantastic, Speedway needed to move forward. Far too often our great sport hangs on to traditions or past glories. Those days are gone and I beleive
without SGP the sport would be even smaller. As for saying a GP Champion who was seeded is not a real World Champion 'BOLLOCKS'. Crumpy was seeded
last year because he qualified from '08 so is he not really the rightfull champ.......I THINK SO.......Hope you all had a great Xmas and maybe
Santa brought the SGP organisers a big bag of dirt for the tracks......"
"I also agree. It is NOT a true World
championship. I stopped buying the speedway star after 40+ years when it turned into the grand prix weekly! The only speedway magazine still worth a
read is Classic Speedway magazine published by retro speedway, hardly a mention of the fake world championships. I also agree that on television it is
good, but it should be billed only as the grand prix championship not the world as it plainly is not."
"Thanks for the wonderful memories here. Very similar
to my own. My parents went to Belle Vue when Stanley stadium closed, I think money etc became an issue, and they tailed off going so we never went
back to Stanley and I don't even recall it reopening. I was an avid Gunners fan for many years. The Aces were really the only other team I could
follow ( when Thornton Road closed ) in close proximity but transport difficulties meant I didn't go often. Still go to an occasional match there
however. Hoping to become a regular at Workington for 2010 season as I live nearer there now. "
Andy thinks he saw his first meeting way back in 1971. He nominates Michael Lee as his favourite rider of all time and has fond memories
of a long weekend at Peterborough.
Here's a recent gathering of some well known speedway personalities.
The back row is Scott Trigg, Roy Trigg, Colin Tucker, Bob Andrews, Tom Sweetman, Chris Sweetman and Joe Hicks.
The front row is Jean Stone, Tracy Trigg, Bob Duckworth and Rim Malskaitis (who we can't mention without linking to
Dave Gifford's brilliant article about him). Thanks to photographer Linda Andrews and
to Jim Henry for sending it on.
Richard Austin reports that Costa Mesa (part of the Orange County Fairgrounds) is still under threat. Astonishingly it seems that Arnie himself
may be the man that terminates the circuit. The following appeared in the Los Angeles times last week:
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is refusing to halt the sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds, which covers 150 acres in Costa Mesa, CA.
Three city council members and the town's city manager traveled to Sacramento on Monday, to meet with Schwarzenegger in an effort to get him to change his mind on selling the land, home
to the annual county fair. Schwarzenegger, though decided to push forward with the sale, said Mike Naple, a governor's office spokesman."
David Hensby of Bones Websites has been busy over there in Canada. He's now produced websites for both Paul Cooper
and Hugh Skidmore
"The "new or old" World Championship
format all depends on whether you want to have a competition to find the best rider in the world or whether you just want a rider who can cause a
bit of an upset on the night, but who is not necessarily a genuine World Champion. You also have to remember that times change. Speedway has
always depended to some extent on gate positions and a slice of luck but from Jack Young down to Ole Olsen you could say that the
winner of the single meeting World Final was generally accepted as one of the best, if not the best in the World, by reason of their season-long
From 1973 onwards that was not necessarly true. It really came to a head with Egon Muller's win on home turf in 1983. Muller was basically a Longtrack
racer, and although he was of international standard at speedway he was by no means a rider that could seriously be raked amongst the real cream.
Apart from 1983 he never finished higher than 7th in a World Final. In 1983, with the World Final held in Germany he was given more practice time
than the standard practice the others had and the track was prepared more as a longtrack which gave him a great advatage. That was really the
final straw and the bottom of a slipery slope that was started by the Sczakiel episode.
In short the single meeting World Final was fantastic
in its time but times have changed. Speedway has changed. The single meeting format has become unreliable. Furthermore nobody can seriously compete
at international level without huge amounts of sponsorship and sponsors want season long exposure. There is another point that is missed by those
who object to the lack of a "proper" qualifying system. Speedway is much bigger geographically now than 40 years ago. There are more countries
involved and the qualifying rounds would not be equal. Poland for example would be more competitive than the British rounds. There is an enormous
amount of talent in Denmark, many of whom would knock each other out in the preliminary rounds. Undoubtedly some riders would get a
much easier qulifying route than others and this would demean the eventual Final.
I do agree that there should be more fairness
about qualifying for the GP's. It is, for example appalling that a rider like Tai Woffinden should be gifted a place in the GP's next year
just because he has a Britsh passport and a huge publicity machine despite fact he went out in the preliminary stages of qualifying, failing
to even reach the GP Challenge at Coventry, let alone reach the top three. Nevertheless the powers that be have decided they want two
British riders in so thats the end of it. Failure to qualify by the proper route becomes immaterial However it has to be accepted that there has to
be a certain mount of seeding to the GP's and it is no longer realistically or logistically possible to go back to the single meeting
World Final. Those old style finals were great in their time but their time is now gone."
"Who remembers the great training track
in Linlithgow? The fantastic "Linlithgow Lightning" It brought through the likes of Blair scott, Barry campbell, William Lawson, Derek sneddon
to name but a few. I spent the latter end of the nineties at the track helping out and had a bike myself "though was never any good" but enjoyed
the thrill of being involved in it all. Scottish speedway is surely crying out for a training track to help the youngsters come through!!
Not everyone can afford to travel down south every weekend for a good skid on the bike! At the time if it wasnt for the likes of the Alan Robertson's
or the Jimmy Smith's of this world I wouldn't of had the great experience of riding a speedway bike. If anyone can relate to this or has a spare field
(in Scotland) wanting to be turned into an oval shaped shale bedded track please let us know!! The old track in Berwick (Berrington lough) (
just over the border) came to mind, any thoughts on that one?"
"Great site! I came across it
recently and have enjoyed reading the articles and recollections of the many fans. The memories of Custom House and the Wick came flooding back to
my mind with great pleasure. I have a few stories to tell when I get the time that, hopefully,a lot of the older fans (including some who knew me back
then) will get pleasure from remembering like I have."
Stephen now supports the Redcar Bears but his happiest memories come from the Cleveland Park era when the Middlesbrough Tigers
were the only show in town. His all time favourite is the all-action Martin 'Mad Dog' Dixon.
Ian Graham wonders whatever happened to Geoff Maloney - Can You Help?
Congratulations to all involved in getting the new Dudley Heathens club off the ground. The club has a new website where you
can keep up to date with their 2010 campaign - dudleyspeedway.com
Mid-American Speedway in Indianapolis has a website. Find out more about this track at midamspeedway.com
"I agree totally with the sentiments
expressed in this well constructed piece. I would love to see Scotland back on the International stage. I seem to remember many years ago (too many)
watching an England .v. Scotland International at Sunderland. England were I believe captained by Russ Dent and Scotland by Dougie Templeton. It was a
super occasion and a very hard fought Match as I recall. I know that this was at the old Second Division level but could something like this not be
resurrected today at Premier League level. Even possibly involvement in an International Four Team Tournament. At least it would be start, as Bill Elliot
puts it, towards 2029. "
"Just looked at
your website and I found it very interesting as my father Lionel Watling used to ride in the Midlands and England.
Lionel took the name Watling from his father who was Robert Watling Goldingay. I think he preferred Watling to Goldingay. Lionel died in December 1991 but
always remembered his racing days."
"This painting really is a mystery, and one
could go on for a while. I've been on the ASKJeeves web site and the only Alfred Common, played football for Sunderland and other Tyne side clubs in the
late 1800's. Could the Artist be using a footballing hero's name instead of his own?"
"I have trawled my 1972 World Final file
and yes, the painting could very well be heat 5. Bernt Persson in front, Briggo going down. The next rider on the inside is Grigori Chlinovski
who came underneath Briggs, made contact but got by. The rider at the back is Valeri Gordeev who famously hit Briggs and was launched into space with
the bike bouncing over the safety fence. The bike itself belonged to Ronnie Moore who had loaned it to Gordeev as the Russian bikes had been stolen
from the Wembley workshops. Fellow Wimbledon Stars Bert Harkins and Graeme Stapleton also helped with bikes I believe. "