This is our final update of the year, so we'll take the traditional approach
of reflecting on the year just gone. '2005: A Year in Summary' is our high-level
overview of the past 12 months. Join us to recall who won what and how.
Throughout the season we featured a regular 'Soundbites' column that
recorded the views of the riders and promoters that were in the news.
This week we bring you the 'Best of Soundbites 2005'.
Don't forget that Motors TV (Sky Channel 413) are showing highlights of the
Brighton Bonanza. Transmission times are as follows:
Sunday Jan 1st - 7.15pm
Wednesday Jan 4th - 11pm
Thursday Jan 5th - 1.30am
Friday Jan 6th - 10pm
Bryan Wilcock is hoping to purchase some Barrow, Crewe, Hull and Workington
programmes. Can you help?
It simply wouldn't be possible to bring you Speedway Plus without the contributions
and assistance of many other people. End of year thanks to the following, with
apologies to anyone inadvertently missed out.
Paul ten Hoeve
Chris Morton MBE
Robert J. Rogers
Updated on 24rd December 2005
The GP series will be back to 10 rounds in 2006, but is it time to extend
its horizons further? Chris Seaward identifies some possible venues and
has some advice to offer the powers that be.
Graeme Campbell felt our pictures of Armadale were a little depressing, so he's
sent us some new ones. We've added these to our existing set that date back to 1999.
Those of you counting the days until the 2006 season starts may be interested
to know that there is a 30 minute feature programme from the recent Brighton
The programme concentrates on Bobby Schwartz, Eddie Kennett, Martin Dugard and
young sensation Lewis Bridger. Due to the short duration there isn't time to
show too many races but it captures the flavour of the event and shows some
of the spectacular action.
There are six scheduled slots on Motors TV which is available on Sky Channel
413, the first showing is on January 1st at 7.30pm and details of the others
can be found at www.motorstv.com.
This is a joint venture between Media Answers Limited and T2TV. The programme
is produced and presented by Kings Lynn centre green presenter Mike Bennett and
is acting as a pilot for Motors TV with a view to showing more regular
speedway, sidecar and supermoto events during 2006.
Commentary is by Ken Burnett who made the initial approach to the TV company
and persuaded Media Answers to take on the production.
Motors TV have a feedback forum on their website so the better the response to
their first showing of speedway, the more chance of further events being
"Great shots of Costa Mesa. What a fantastic little set up. I believe it is featured
in the movie 'On Any Sunday 2; - with the story on Bruce Penhall.
You know this Costa Mesa track makes me wonder why something like this can't be set up
somewhere in London. I've recently moved to London from Australia and am devastated
the Wimbledon Dons have been kicked out of Plough Lane.
A track like Costa Mesa, but wider for more racing lines, would provide great
racing entertainment - does the rider choose the shorter slower route on the inside or
go hell for leather around the outside? Either way, a track such as this would provide
many passing opportunities - something speedway desperately needs to keep it a viable
source of entertainment for the general public.
Which brings me to your interesting business proposition of speedway in the
"Dragons Den" article. Surely with the right marketing and a track like the one
I've explained above (getting rid of the all too common "over after the first bend"
general public perception) speedway could attract decent (profitable) crowds. Here
is an opportunity for someone. For heaven sake, London's population is massive! "
"Every Saturday years ago we used to watch Manchester United/City in the afternoon and
then go to Hyde Road to support Belle Vue in the evening. Those were days when speedway
attracted really big crowds.
They are not going to come back while we have this ridiculous play off system.
Belle Vue this year won the league this but are not champions because of a one off
match. Belle Vue lost 12 matches over the season, does this mean that every team that
beat them can also have a valid claim to be champions? The league is not a knock-out
competition, it is a measure and reward for consistency over a season. What would
happen in football if Chelsea won the league by 10 points, and then lost in a one-off
game to Manchester United? I feel sorry also for Coventry fans whose victory is
obviously tainted by the fact they were not the best side in the league this year.
Come on speedway, this is not the way to win back supporters. "
"Thanks for the pictures of the Trelawny track. It had the best racing I have seen in
40 years of watching speedway. It must also have been the coldest place in Cornwall.
I miss it greatly - bring back speedway to Cornwall and the West Country."
"I remember Keith Bloxsome as a rider who I thought might have been better with backing
and decent gear. He was always a real trier whilst at Kings Lynn. Who could ask for
Updated on 16th December 2005
The multi-talented John Berry has now turned his handed to novel writing. His
first published fiction work is 'Sliding into Hell' and we're delighted to
bring you an extract from it.
This fast-moving story takes us into the world of high finance, bitter
vengeance, greed, deception, betrayal and romantic twists, set against a
Our track photographs this week are of the famous Costa Mesa circuit in
California. This tiny track is undoubtedly the most reknowned of all the
American circuits and has played host to many of the sport's biggest names.
Pictures are courtesy of Wayne Newton.
"Thanks for the great pictures of the Trelawny Moto Parc. We visited that wonderful
little place around easter 2003, and I have never seen anywhere more suitable for a
speedway track. I took quite a few pictures of the speedway racing and the stadium, but
unfortunately lost them when our computer crashed last year. Your pictures show the
venue at its finest, and brought back some really lovely memories."
Our Polish contributor Maciej Wegrzyn is looking for score details from
the British Riders Championship in 1946-1948. Can you help?
Long-standing visitors may recall the Keith Bloxsome controversy
on the site a few years back. Keith was a good team man for Belle Vue, Boston,
Glasgow and King's Lynn back in the seventies and eighties. Keith got back in touch
this week and was kind enough to describe the site as "excellent, up to date
and well informed".
If you're looking
for a car, motorcycle accessories or golf wear then why not check out
Euro Moto Direct
Updated on 9th December 2005
Last week we featured an overview of the new Simon Wigg tribute book, this week
we're delighted to feature an extract from it. The extract covers Simon's move
to Hackney for the 1987 season.
This section of the book is auto-biographical and the words are all Simon's. Gareth
Rogers interviewed Simon in 1994 and these recorded conversations, never before
published, form the basis of the book. There are also contributions from Simon's
brother Julian, his wife Charlie and from the sport's biggest names - Ivan Mauger,
Hans Nielsen, Egon Muller, Barry Briggs, Mark Loram, Jason Crump, Chris Morton, Peter Collins
and many more.
The book retails at £15.99 and runs to 272 pages. No bookshelf is complete
without a copy of 'Wiggy!".
Another magnificent looking stadium this week, which predictably means that it's
not one from the UK! It's the Leszno track in Poland and the photographs are courtesy of
Paul ten Hoeve.
"I've just watched the Ashley Jones video tribute and I have to say that it was
absolutely wonderful and extremely professional. It is, of course, a huge tragedy that
the video had to be compiled but I think that it will bring great comfort to a great
number of people.
Well done. Very emotional. I never knew the guy and only saw him race once but I have
speedway in my blood and it is so very sad to lose him."
"I would like to thank Speedway Plus and mbicmedia, for giving us access to the very
professional and moving video tribute to Ashley Jones. Unfortunately I didn't get to
see Ashley ride, but the video moved me to tears. All of the riders put their lives on
the line every time they go to the tapes to entertain us. Perhaps that's something that
most of us supporters don't think about enough at times.
If there are any consolations,
Ashley paid the highest price for doing something he loved, entertaining us. I would
like to express my sorrow and pass on condolences to Ashley's family and everyone who
was part of Ashley's life. R.I.P. Ashley Jones."
"Wish I could have been there, always have fond memories of Sunderland and how Bill
Thomas used to let me sneak in - I earned it by collecting the helmet colours off the
riders. Do my bit now by donating to John Robson's son (Stuart).
"I have only ever been to Hyde Park once a long time ago when as a Kings Lynn fan we
went to the league riders final which was won once again by Barry Briggs. I remember
the day at the zoo entertaining us with the disgustingly funny monkeys and the best
speedway racing that we could remember. Now as a born again speedway fan with my kids
loving it as well it is sad to think of the loss of this fantastic race track with
its superb corners for overtaking. Seeing this site has reminded me of a distant but
Ian Muir Martin:
"This is a FANTASTIC Site. I have downloaded the two Magazines so far - absolutely
FIRST CLASS. Everything a Speedway Fan could possibly require is on this site.
Please keep up this most excellent production - and - THANK YOU so very much."
"A very interesting article but they appeared to miss the fact that Cordy Milne could
well have won the 1939 Final, this was likely due to the bonus point system."
Updated on 2nd December 2005
An unexpected BBC2 appearance from a legend leaves Dave Green
wondering about the economics of speedway promotion. How would an aspiring
promoter fare in the Dragons' Den?
This week we can bring you some fascinating pictures taken at Owlerton in
the sixties. It's clear that the stadium remains much the same although
the crowds these days aren't quite as impressive. Robert Brocklehurst was
America's surving World Champions are to gather on the Queen Mary when she
docks in Long Beach in January. This will be the first time they have gathered
in such a manner and the event aims to raise funds to support the participation
of the USA in next year's World Cup. There are numerous ways that you can
get involved in this initiative, Bill Amick provides full details in this
Robert Bamford is looking for heat details from the Shelbourne v Swindon
meeting on 5th July 1970.
Steve Trickett wants to purchase an original Ellesmere Port Gunners
Retro-Speedway, publishers of Backtrack and Vintage Speedway Magazine, have
some new books available that are sure to interest all fans of our great sport.
The first is 'Wiggy' a fitting tribute to the memory of the great Simon Wigg. The book includes
a never-before published interview with Simon and features contributions from his
wife Charlie and his brother Julian. Click on the book cover for a full overview of
the book and to find out how to order your copy.
Next up is 'Sliding into Hell', the debut novel from former promoter John Berry.
The story follows the life of a young speedway star out for revenge on those he blames
for ruining his life. This fast-moving story takes us into the world of high finance,
bitter vengeance, greed, deception, betrayal and romantic twists, set against a
speedway background. Click on the book cover for a full overview of
the book and to find out how to order your copy.