It's All About You... Jeff Hill
Tell us about your introduction to speedway
Poole, every Wednesday 7.30, first bend under the floodlights, on my dad's shoulders, 1974 I think. Soon developed a routine on Wednesdays of staying at my Aunts on Sterte Road, nipping over the train track, a quick sprint down to the pits, autograph book in hand.
Tell us about your favourite meeting of all time
Hmmm, got to be Havvy or Mark Loram winning the world title. Not really a favourite meeting, but a great memory....getting to the Marketa stadium in Prague a wee bit too early 4-5 years ago, hitting the beer tent with some guys from Coventry and making friends with half of Europe! Gotta love them Poles, Swedes and Danes. Absolutely cracking day out, very sore head the next morning.
Tell us about your favourite rider of all time
Simmo - legend. If ever a wee lad needed a hero, he was it. The Middleditch family...I think of Poole speedway, I think of Ken and Neil. Always loved Martin Yeates as well!
Tell us about your favourite track/stadium
Got to be Poole Stadium.....not necessarily for the quality of racing compared to other tracks, but as I live in Northern Ireland now, I only get to see a few meetings every year in Scotland or a GP, so when I come home and get into Wimborne Road, its like a spiritual homecoming.....goosebumps, excitement, nervous tension, a visit to the track shop to buy a few bits of merchandise.
What are the best things about speedway?
The fans. I think we are all anoraks! Everybody is so knowledgable. Love getting into conversations with fellow supporters. I love the atmosphere in the pubs in Cardiff on the afternoon of the British GP!
What are the worst things about speedway?
Speedway World Cup....basically its trying to get 5 individuals to score the most points. Jokers? WTF is that all about? Can we revert to a format where two riders from two countries are out on the track at the same time and seeing some team riding? Or am I thinking about the World Team Cup? Can we have that back please?
What one thing would you do to improve speedway?
The existing qualification system for the GP. 8 best scoring riders automatically qualify for next season? No way! Perhaps the top 3? The next best 8-10 to seed into 2 GP qualification semi finals with the rest made up from earlier qualifiers. Whatever! I'm getting a bit tired of seeing the same old faces. Let's shake it up a bit. This might satisfy some of the supporters who fancy a return to the days of the old one off final and increase the chances of a few upsets.
Tell us about a rider you wish you'd seen
Any rider from the 30's through to the 60's! Just recently watched Once a Jolly Swagman (again) and to see the amount of supporters on the terraces and grandstands gives me the shivers. Speedway riders from that era must have been like the rock stars of today.
What does the future hold for speedway?
To be honest, I'm not that optimistic. I think that if there had been an upsurge in interest from regular Sky Elite League and GP coverage, it would have started to manifest itself long ago. I think Speedway is too much of a niche sport and lacks the wide appeal of BSB, WSB, MOTOGP. Laymen dont relate to it like tarmac bike sports. A real shame because it is a relatively cheap(er) form of bike sport in which to compete. I'm at a loss on how to further market the sport and bring back the glory days.....
This article was first published on 8th July 2010
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