Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
20/08/2017
Let's Promote Speedway II
Speedway Pennants
The Voice No. 66
Your Feedback
 
06/08/2017
Let's Promote Speedway
Your Feedback
 
30/07/2017
Woffy's Warm Up
1982 Overseas Final
Your Feedback
 
14/07/2017
Syd van der Vyver
More Magazines from Bill
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
04/06/2017
A Letter from Maurice Stobbart
Bill's Booklets
 
14/05/2017
A Mystery Solved
The Voice - Issue 65
Your Feedback
 
01/05/2017
Dave Collins
The Mystery Rider from 1948
Your Feedback
 
23/04/2017
Bill's Pictures
Toronto Board Track
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
16/04/2017
Melbourne in the 1950's
The History of Sim Speedway
Your Feedback
 
26/03/2017
All About You: Mike Redfern
Bill's Posters
RIP Plough Lane
Your Feedback
 
12/03/2017
NZ World Team Cup 1986 +
Glasgow Speedway Posters
Your Feedback
 
05/03/2017
Almaty Ice Speedway
NZ World Team Cup 1985
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
26/02/2017
Dream Team: David Pickles
NZ World Team Cup 1984
Your Feedback
 
19/02/2017
Dream Team: Martin Wilkins
NZ World Team Cup 1983
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
05/02/2017
Video: Berrington 2000
NZ World Team Cup 1982
Your Feedback
 
29/01/2017
Vic Ridgeon
NZ World Team Cup 1981
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
22/01/2017
Jim Ryman Crash at Boston
NZ World Team Cup 1980
Your Feedback
 
15/01/2017
NZ World Team Cup 1979
Skid Kids
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
05/01/2017
Otto Holoubek
NZ World Team Cup 1978
Plus Points
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