Graham Cooke from the brilliant Blundson Blog
recently toured a number of tracks in Sweden. Along the way he took many pictures such as these of the Gislaved circuit, home of the Lejonen team.
You can now purchase a copy of Graham's new book all about his trip to Sweden, which runs to 67 colour pages. It's available as either a saddle-stitch bound
book or you can download a PDF file and print it yourself. Full details of the book can be found here.
"I wonder if there is someone out there willing to take a chance and open a track in the Liverpool area? Since the showing of speedway on sky, there must be a whole new audience out there."
"I have returned to speedway this year after a 15 year gap, and I have to say that the racing is so much better than it used to be. The Hans Nielsens of this world were so so dull, trap first, don't smile, don't say anything, don't do anything. The stars today are so much more approachable, and the Scott Nicholls and Chris Harris at the British GP were sensational. Do not dumb it down by having an enlarged Premier League full of average riders who will not spark the public's imagination, whilst the GP stars only arrive in the UK once per year.
Living in Manchester, I went to the Belle Vue v Coventry match, and whilst we lost pretty heavily, the crowd was pretty good, plenty of youngsters there, racing was competitive (two races between Nicholls and Stead and Nicholls and Shields were especially good). I think the main problem that British speedway faces is the lack of top quality facilities, and a lack of a sound training system to bring young British talent through. Whilst Belle Vue has a good grandstand behind glass, the rest of the track is surrounded by either a few terraces or a grass bank. And this is one of the better tracks. Somehow, improve the facilities and the crowds will improve.
Also, the press will take a lot more interest when British riders are at the top. Talking about Nicki Pedersen or Jason Crump is not big news in UK sport, talking about Chris Harris, etc is. Tracks should invest in UK talent, it will be a sound investment. The Premier League should form part of this, but it's increasingly full of european riders of average ability, but who I guess are cheap. Overall, the product is good, we have most of the world's best here and must keep it that way. TV exposure has never been greater. Invest in British talent and improve the facilties, and 5,000 plus crowds will be feasible at speedway tracks again. "
"Hi, I found this brilliant site today. I think the access to the free mag is great. I have just read the Martin Dugard interview. We have followed Martin's progress through the years and remember watching him and Paul riding for Eastbourne along with Deano, Floppy, Darren Standing, Cookie and others whose names elude me at the moment (it's an age thing!). Keep up the good work and I shall certainly be scanning the site for more brilliant info. We're going to the Brighton Bonanza for the first time this year, it looks fantastic fun (is Martin dressing up again?)"
This young man selects his all-time favourite seven and finds room for his father, though his uncle doesn't
make the cut!
Tracy Holmes wants a podium photograph from the 1935 Star Final - Can You Help?
Colin Day is looking for results from the 1965 British League - Can You Help?
Jerry Welsh wants to buy or swap videos of old Poole away meetings - Can You Help?
Jeff Scott of Methanol Press has come up with a 'bingo'
game we can play during the television coverage of the play-off finals. Points are awarded for each catchphrase uttered by
the presenting team. The full list is available on Jeff's blog,
but some highlights include:
"We'll let you go and get the dust/shale off" (Jon)
"He'll be feeling second hand" (Kelv)
"For those of you new to speedway" (Nige)
"Speedway riders like a little moan" (Floppy)
"Tonight's an important night for you guys" (Soph)
"Interesting story this, because we looked at this for the IOW at the
start of the season, there are several reasons it hasn't started yet, but it is still possible that it may happen. As they say watch this space! For now though we have all the IOW/Rye House
and Sittingbourne matches available on DVD" (see website)
"The article on Bernie or Roy, no matter what his name was, he was a true
gentleman as his team manager at Berwick Roy was always up for a good race, and will be sorely missed. I just wished I could have met him one more time but alas that will not happen,
but who knows one day maybe we will meet again."
"Although the cost of watching speedway has increased, I feel we're still
getting value for money compared to football. We mustn't knock Sky tv, as without their coverage, where would the sport be now? As a Long Eaton supporter, I now have to travel to watch
live speedway and perhaps only get to half a dozen meetings a season. I feel the sport needs promoting more. Most of my friends didn't know it was a TEAM sport, where you actually have a
team to support, as in football, rather than individual riders as per Moto GP. We need to tell Joe Public this.
Also, changing the subject slightly, but still relating to cost. Has anyone considered the impact this government's road pricing policy may have on the sport? The riders will want paying more to cover their costs, and I certainly would think twice before leaping in the car and travelling to a meeting. I know that this is just the reaction
the government want, but what about our sport?"
Dave Green makes a long-awaited return to the site with another innovative idea
for us to consider. Could tracks be providing video downloads of their meetings on an 'as it happens'
basis? He outlines his idea and identifies the benefits and problems associated with such a scheme.
We head over the Atlantic for this week's track photographs, to the Carson City Speedway in Nevada.
These pictures were taken by Keith Knapton on a visit to the track in August 2005.
Riders racing on the night included Brian Yarrow, Tommy Hedden and Bart Bast and as is usual at Californian speedway events,
there was a full programme of various grades of action (including the children of Bast and Hedden) as well as quad racing
"My good friend Alan Batt has loaned me his collection of programmes to photocopy any snaps I need. In his 'International' box, I found from 1964, The Russians V GB. Guess what I found inside? Igor Plechanovs autograph!!! Not only that, ALL the Russians autographs!!! When he gets back from holiday, I will show him the gold I have found and then ask if it is for sale."
"Would'nt know where to start with the memories, like everyone says the place had a special feel to it. I was born across the road from there and lived there until the mid 80s, there began my love of speedway and I was lucky enough to ride there many times at practices. Hi Cleggy, I rode with you and your Peter there many a time. Later I worked in the stadium for Starline Guards. Made many mates there and had the best times of my life, I often think if only you could relive it, just for one day, you would realise how lucky you were!"
"I agree with Harry Ward 100%. Even though I was always devoted to my beloved Dons, I would go to speedway whenever, and wherever, I could. It was nothing unusual for me to take in three or for meetings a week, and I used to love the Bank Holidays when I could take in two or three a day. As Harry said, I would see the same people at all of them! As far as the cost, it can be prohibitive, but that is not the important thing; it really is about the quality of the product. There are a number of reasons why the sport isn't what it used to be, but that's the same with everything. The real problems are the silly rules and the lack of good racing. It wouldn't matter how cheap speedway is, if the quality of racing is not there, and the atmosphere and overall entertainment value is not there, the people won't go. We have to improve the product. "
More photographs from the impressive collection of Charles McKay this week. This time
the focus is on the Poznan circuit in Poland.
We must thank Charles and the many others like him who take the trouble to send on photographs of the
circuits they visit. It's very much appreciated and more are always welcome, particularly of tracks that
we don't already have in the archive.
Ian was a Long Eaton fan, and former programme contributor, and that's reflected in his 'Dream Team' selection.
This is certainly one of the lengthiest articles we've featured in this slot in a long time, but it makes
for fascinating reading as Ian recalls many long-forgotten incidents. The magnificent Dave Perks leads this
fantasy team from the number one position.
Aaron Govern is looking for video footage of pre-1972 World Finals and a copy of the 'Flying Kiwi' documentary
on Ivan Mauger - Can You Help?
Mike Osborne, a 17 year old racer from the Midlands, now has a website. You can check it out at
"Anyone who ever saw Igor Plechanov ride must surely agree with every word of Dudley Jones fitting tribute . Igor was not just a great rider he was a great SPORTSMAN. Although he was as hard as they come and completely fearless I can't ever remember him being excluded for bringing another rider down or even for breaking the tapes. 'Tough but fair' totally sums him up. I have seen many outstanding riders over the years but Igor was one of that very small group that stands apart from the rest. He would have been a credit to any sport. Speedway is fortunate to have had him."
"The Ilford v Oz event is almost certain to be of the match race variety? Ben Unwin was often refered to as burnt onions. The first real team event was possibly Manchester White City v Barnsley 11th July 1928 followed by Sunbac club v Ilford club at Perry Barr 14th July 1928, next Barnsley v Man WC return match 22nd Aug 1928. Halifax, WC Tigers v York Wolves 23rd Aug 1928. There were at least another 8 home and away matches nearly all held in the north during Oct/Nov. Liverpool v Man WC score 55-32 on 17th Oct 1928, other tracks running team events included Salford, Middlesbrough,Leeds and Leicester. "
"I saw the comment about Shelbourne Tigers Speedway. I raced with George Fitzgerald. He was a great lad and a talented rider. Ginger, Larry, Vinny and the rest of the lads were a real load of fun to know. I was called 'Blue Boy' and was never blue with those lads. I had a bad crash racing at 'Workington' and stopped racing, more's the pity."