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Whatever Happened to our "Season"?
By David Pickles

As a child in 1964 when I first viewed speedway at the long lost and lamented West Ham, it didn't take long to dawn on me that, like football, there was a fixed "season". In the late 60's it was usually decreed that the season began on March 15th, and ended on October 31st.

For many years, through the British League Divisions One and Two, one could rely on a season of around 30 or so meetings. The usual league format, punctuated with World Champion Qualifying rounds, the odd pairs meeting, a local individual meeting and some local derby challenges. Now, I'd be the first to say that some of these meetings could have not taken place, the challenge matches and ones made up to fill the fixture lists, but now we've gone full circle the other way.

As a regular at Rye House, because they didn't make the play-offs by a whisker this year, there season has been curtailed in the first week of September. Is it beyond the realms of possibility that they can't run a meeting or two beyond thi s date? Years back they had the "Ace of Herts" meeting, an action packed individual meet to end the season. In the Hackney days, Uncle Len used to pad out the end of the season with an individual meeting or two and an obvious challenge match with West Ham.

My point is, we now have a barren 6-8 weeks until the end of October, when meetings could be run and the fans could turn out to watch them. Is the weather worse now than it was in 1971? According to the mainstream, we have global warming and drier summers and autumns. So why is the speedway season being cut short for most clubs except those who make the play-offs?

I, and thousands like me would turn out at Rye House late September and early October to watch some action and shorten the gloomy and dreaded winter months, but for some strange reason we are being denied it.

Is there anyone in authority (maybe a promoter or two) out there who can explain the reason for this?

 

This article was first published on 17th September 2017

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  • Steve Haire:

    "The reason for the lack of end of season meetings is obvious, a lack of riders available. When you consider the numbers of riders doubling/trebling up or riding in other leagues abroad it would probably be difficult to arrange even a challenge match.

    Local derbies don't exist, not down south anyway. The same applies to individual meetings where attendances don't justify a field of world class riders. I started going speedway in 68 over at Hackney and during the 70's would have been going to well over 100 meetings a year. As Dave says you'd have a full season of meaningful matches, spring gold cup between local teams, a full league programme with 19 teams taking part, knock-out cup, International test matches, Southern Riders Championship, at least 1 individual meeting with a world class field (remembering heat 19 was usually fixed so the top riders would appear in a 20 heat top scorer wins formula). In Hackneys case they'd also had the champions chase knockout which started with 32 riders.

    As I stated in my comments on Mr. Pickles 'Lets promote speedway' it needs the promoters to start from scratch, no doubling up, just two leagues, no maximum team averages with promoters 'cutting their cloth to suit'.

    I went to Rye 4 times this year (they ran on 3 different nights with a month without a home meeting and then having 3 home matches within 9 days, and found the racing quite boring with Rye becoming a one line track and being able to watch the GP's, British, Swedish and Polish leagues on you-tube I find it hard to be inspired to watch live racing.

    Lets hope promoters take note of supporters comments and are brave enough to do something drastic to make British Speedway great again. "

  • Steve Cook:

    "I couldn't agree more with David Pickles regarding the season being cut short. I myself first started watching speedway in 1965 at Long Eaton,and right the season began early March right through till October, am sure promoters could put some meaningful meetings on, after all it brings in a bit more revenue in these cash strapped times."  

     

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