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Let's See the Bee!
By Dudley Jones

As a long standing supporter I find the current team colours most dissappointing.

My own team, Ipswich, have had some great race jackets in the past. In recent years, however, they have sometimes had a small witch, about the size of patch you can buy in the track shop, appended on an arm or elsewhere.

I have been pleased when teams like Plymouth ride in colours for all to see. Wimbledon also proudly wore proper colours.

My wife, who is not so lucky as me, supports Coventry. Several years ago the so called 'Bees' were riding in a white jacket with 'Exide' written, quite small, in blue. Swindon seem to be the 'palm trees' recently, rather than Robins. Come on the Exides, I hear you cry!

There is a serious point here. Speedway started as an individual sport, but soon lost its interest for supporters. Team racing was introduced, and has been the mainstay of the sport ever since. It seems reasonable to assume that those on the terraces wish to support 'their' team.

Surely a good team logo, that can be seen clearly during the racing, is an essential factor in making people identify with the team, and keeps them coming through the turnstiles week after week.

Is the sport in such a poor way that a small space on the front of the rider cannot be spared to carry the team colours? We see football players sporting adverts, but the colours predominate.

I put it to those who run the sport that having race jackets with bold logos (and less writing) might just get the fans coming through the gates in far better numbers. Life is visual and the much larger crowds of the 1970s and 80s might in some part have been due to supporters being able to identify with their team much better if they could see the bee, or comet, or tiger emblem from the other end of the stadium.

Please let us see the fighting bee. the skull & crossbones and of course the ace of clubs, nice and big. Let the supporters identify with their teams, have a rule requiring clear bold team colours.

 

This article was first published on 31st August 2006


 

  • Ian Muir Martin:

    "I fully support Dudley Jones regarding the Body Colours worn by current Speedway riders. I am lucky - I regularly attend Redcar where the 'Bears' motif is boldly displayed. However I must say that the standard of identification these days is, in general, very poor. There used to be no finer sight than seeing four riders hurtling round the bend and being able to see straight away who was in the lead and seeing two TEAMS battling side by side - EASILY RECOGNISED. Now we have to make do with helmet colours.

    Earlier I used the words 'Body Colour' this is the expression that I was brought up with - the very words mean, to me, identification of TEAM. In these days of bikes all looking the same some form of IDENTIFICATION is essential. I hate to use the expression but in the old days you could identify a rider in a number of ways: Body Colour, Style, Bike and Helmet Cover. Today, basically, it is the Helmet Colour. SUPPORTERS need to have something to identify with - so come on the 'powers that be', this is OUR sport as well, surely there is plenty of adverting space on the BACK of the Body Colour. LEAVE THE FRONT FOR THE TEAM AND THEIR SUPPORTERS."

  • Alan Campbell:

    "Totally agree Dudley. But hey, Oxford Cheetahs race suits are superb. The race jackets that really annoy me are the GP ones. All adverts and a tiny flag of their country. Come on BSI lets get back to a full flag race jacket."

  • Bob Ferry:

    "I fully agree with Dudley Jones about the present day race jackets. They are meant to identify who you support, they mean something to the supporters, "look they are riding for us, that's our team they are riding for". Todays race jackets are meaningless, simply a hotch-pot of advertising. They are really bad at international level with only a tiny little flag on the shoulder to signify which country the riders are representing. Quite often this can't be seen as it is too small. If a rider is proud to represent his country, then he should be proud to wear his countries colours, big and bold. Or at club level, again big and bold. Today the fans want something more to follow than just a helmet colour during a race. With riders and bikes looking more and more alike, we need a race jacket that can be clearly seen."

  • Roger Hulbert:

    "I totally agree with Dudley Jones's comments. Although I accept that speedway needs sponsorship to survive, the traditional colours and logos should still be prominent. It is what identifies the wearer with the club he represents. Mind you, I wouldn't hold my breath expecting the BSPA to do anything about it any time soon. The worst offender in my opinion is the body colour worn by the riders at the GPs. What are they supposed to signify I wonder?"

  • Bill Reynolds:

    "Yes I totally agree with your race jacket article, a sense of identification works wonders for team support (just look at Reading Bulldogs), it has not worked. Bees should be BEES, Wasps should be WASPS and so forth. Let's keep this sport simple and bring back the crowds, in the best interests of speedway let's do it."

  • Richard Tyrrell:

    "I agree with the content of this article whole heartedly, but whenever I bring the subject up my comments meet with a stony silence or I am acused of living in the past. Having been introduced to speedway at an impressionable age the thought and sight of old, instantly recognisable club colours evoke memories of excitement with the visit of such great teams and riders to the track I supported then, and still do today, Oxford.

    The green and yellow of Norwich Stars and the red and white stripes of Southampton, such a basic design, can be added to the writers list, even along with the original Oxford colours of a yellow sash on a blue background. Not only do the team colour designs seem to change every season but we are now faced with the spectre of 'team suits'. On the face of it this is a step forward especially on the first night when the 1 to 7 are dressed the same although there are still those who think that riders should have that individuality of wearing their own suits. But it is better that wearing football shirts under the body colour, which is something that used to happen and quite inovative at the time.

    But what happens when your number 4 gets injured or your star foreigner is away on some championship round or other? The guest or Premier League replacement appears in your team lineup wearing what? - a football shirt. So the spectre is immediately broken with some of the team now wearing suits and others football shirts. Throw in our team last season and you not only have suits and shirts but sometimes a Conference League race jacket as well!! What does that do for our great sport?

    For me a set of race jackets is paramount. In club colours with the club logo prominently displayed. All riders look as if they belong, if only temporarily, all the time. What can be more rewarding that being handed your race jacket, just before the meeting begins, with a word of encouragement from the Team Manager? Or is it true, I do live in the past?"

  • Phil Fitzgerald:

    "Couldn't agree more with Dudley Jones' article. The race jacket pic in the article sports all the corporate graphic design blandness of a European rally car. Speedway must exploit its obvious uniqueness amongst other motorsports with big bold team logos. They exhibit camaraderie and the romance of "going into battle" with another team. Surely team sponsors can just occupy the back of a jacket?"

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