Tony Webb's article on Garry Middleton led to a number of you getting in
touch to share your own memories of 'Cass'. We've pulled them all together in this follow-up
article. It's not too late for you to contribute your own thoughts on Garry - simply send us
an email or fill in the feedback form
at the bottom of the page.
We've teamed up with Methanol Press to bring you this fun end of year competition. Up for grabs is any book of
your choice from the Methanol Press catalogue. These include the 2008 Speedway Yearbook, Shale Britannia and
Jeff Scott's acclaimed travelogue series.
The prize will be awarded to whoever comes up with the most amusing caption for photograph on the right. Full details
and a larger version of the photograph are within the article.
Methanol Press have recently launched their "Credit Crunch
Christmas Sale", with several of their books discounted and free postage being offered on all orders.
"Agree with the comments of correspondents
talking about the need for a change to the GP format and the fact that fans were probably the last consideration in the debacle which saw the
final GP switched to Poland, allegedly for reasons which had nothing to do with the weather. It used to be the case that the GP's were must
see TV for speedway fans but now I can't be bothered watching the whole thing, knowing that I'm going to be watching the same riders
(with only wild card exceptions) and I can usually pick the winner from a group of half a dozen.
It seems that with an increasing number
of riders deciding to give British speedway a miss in order to let them prepare better for GP's, that one competition is now in danger of
superceding the good of the sport, at least in Britain. Even if it is the world championship, that can't be good for the sport as a whole.
The old system of qualifying had many faults, but at least there was a measure of spontaneity and excitement, and it did throw up the
occasional surprise. The way it is now, you can virtually predict the outcome before it even starts, and good exciting racing
appears to be the exception rather than the norm. Much prefer a system where the underdog has the chance to get through to a World Final,
rather than have a situation where 95% or more of the riders are out of it before it gets under way. "
"I would like to see the Grand Prix moved to the
'off' season ie
November to March. With the use of indoor stadia and introducing Grand prix from Austrailia, New Zealand and the USA. This
would keep an all year round
speedway interest for the Sky Watchers and holiday opportunites for us that hate winter. It would also free up
all the GP Stars to return to GB and race in
the summer season. We could could also have aturday night racing return. Just a thought!"
Tony Webb presents this detailed and well researched article on the life and times
of one the sport's most controversial characters. Garry's life after speedway remains a complete
mystery and Tony suggests it's not even known for certain whether he's still alive.
Charles McKay is our photographer for these pictures of this Swedish circuit. These are the last
of Charles' photographs (for now at least), so an excellent opportunity to thank him publicly for sharing
his vast collection with us.
It's here - and just in time for Christmas! Yes, the long-awaited official DVD box set of the 2008 Speedway Grand Prix and World Cup series is available now. Covering all rounds of the SGP and SWC, as well as some great extra features, this is the latest production from BHP Sport, and it's released under licence from the FIM. And what's more - click the link below and order yours before Nov 30th and you'll get a massive 20% off !!!
"What a wonderful story of high's & low's. A true tale of one's love & passion for this addictive sport. Memories of heroes in a polite private acknowledgement of ones presence. And the oh so sad story of the lady gathering shale with her beloved's name badge. My heart goes out to all of you Racers, but take heart that you will be back soon. We however, may not be so fortunate. 'Ommer Um Cradley'. Gerald."
"I don't care about the GP format too much, I do care about seeing good racing at tracks where passing is possible. Slick tracks and flat tracks are boring. Whether its indoor or outdoor is not an issue for me just give me plenty of passing on safe tracks. If this means some tracks have more than 1 GP per year then so be it."
"Great idea, getting back to the old way to qualify, which would get rid of the wild cards who only score a couple of points (if Lucky). Only drawback to that plan is at the moment GB don't have the quality riders to make it through to the GP's. What is needed and it has been talked about for a number of years is for engines not to be tuned up and be the basic engine that comes from the manufacturer (in all competitions), that means all riders have the same level of equipment and the costs will be less for the riders. It means youngsters can come in to the sport without having to spend x amount of money to try and compete and it will be more down to rider ability that the best tuned engine and I think closer racing which would make it a better sport to watch. But I don't think that will happen (do you)."
"Thank you to Dave Green for his article entitled "Faith Restored by Bydogoszcz" which I found to be the most balanced view of this years final GP and the GP circus in general. Thanks again Dave and I look forward to seeing more of your common sense again in the future. "
"Great to see this article. I never saw speedway at Yarmouth, but I was a regular at the Firs at Norwich in the last years.
It has always seemed to me that if ever there was a ready made track to reintroduce the sport to it was Yarmouth.
Nice little stadium. It existed through the lean late 1950s, contested the first Provincial League season and went forever.
Why, oh why, did Yarmouth not reopen when Norwich closed? Half the distance from the Firs, 20 miles compared to best part of 50 to Kings Lynn.
Yarmouth could have risen, like Poole perhaps, to the very top of the tree. the loyal East Anglian support could have been theirs (although I would not wish to have lost Kings Lyn as a consequence).
Let us hope that this little acorn might just grow into a strong oak tree, with Yarmouth re-emerging.
Not the bloaters perhaps (who knows what a bloater is now?) but perhaps the Gulls or the Raiders (Viking raiders)."
Geoffrey Langley believes the time has come to make some changes to the
Grand Prix system, including a return to same-season qualification. As ever, we'd be delighted
to hear any alternative proposals of your own.
Fresh pictures of Lonigo taken by Ian Adam at this year's Italian Grand Prix.
Ian, Glasgow's long serving track photographer, has his usual end-of-season picture CD available for sale.
The disc contains approximately 3000 images from Ashfield and retails for £18 (including postage in the UK).
Contact Ian on email@example.com to order or for further details.
Jay Reed of No-Brakes-UK is auctioning these models for the Kim Jansson fund. Full details on
Graham Reeve from the Speedway Control Bureau and referee Craig Ackroyd have agreed to take part in a live
webchat on NewcastleSpeedway.net on Wednesday
26th November at 8pm. In order to join in you'll have to register on the site in advance of the session.
"As someone who did attend the
debacle known as the German GP then I have to say I have no faith in BSI, IMG or the FIM. On the subject of the GP that took place in Bydogoszcz
I have to say what a farce. This was the THIRD GP to be held in Poland and the second at this particular track. How long before we have all the
GP's being held in Poland for financial reasons?
After the ridiculous costs involved now in the Cardiff GP considering the high seat prices and
inflated hotel prices the attendances are soon going to dip. Unfortunately the only thing the temporary tracks give to the sport is a surface on
which the world class riders can't race. The only passing is due to mistakes that happen because the tracks break up. Considering I have
been unfortunate enough to view both the Ullevi and Gelsenkirken debacles I may have a dim view of the GP circus at the moment.
on the day were very sad. When I arrived at 5.PM there were only three security staff handing out a statement in German from BSI. To this date
I am still attempting to get my money back and lost around £400 on the trip I am further amazed that there has been no Editorial comment
in the Speedway star. It seems that for some reason they don't feel able to criticize the organisers. If BSI are not careful they will
see their own product diminish in size. Some may say that will be somewhat ironic considering the damage that has been done to British Speedway
by BSI's selfish attitude. On the day yes the third Polish GP did provide good racing but the damage was already done. "
"A very well written article and sums up
what a lot of people must have been feeling that day. I only wished I could have been there but whatever happens those days of Smallmead will
stay in my memory forever. Mostly happy days and all those friends I have met along the way. We have a lot to be thankful for and I just hope
that the new stadium does happen. Thanks Smallmead."
"I did enjoy your article. The 'Men in Black' rode at the last meeting at Reading. We hope that all the fans enjoyed our races as much as we did. I rode at the old track at
Tilehurst for Rayleigh Rockets and remember it well. Thanks to all the fans for their welcome. We at Rayleigh lost our track, hope you get yours
back and we can come back some time to race for you again."
"I remember Jackie Biggs on a more personal level.
He was like a second dad to me when living in London. My mother and father introduced Jackie to his wife, Sheila, and enjoyed many social times
with him, including the time he came to our Guy Fawkes night and kindly made a 'special firework' for us. IT WAS A MINI BOMB which he set off
behind our garden shed and left a huge crater as a result. Ray Cresp actually accompanied him on that night."
Vintage racer Gus Kuhn is the subject of a website that details
his varied motorcycling career and motorbike business.
Nick Barber's annual memorabilia auction takes place this Saturday in Coventry. Full details at
nickbarber.co.uk. Last year's event was captured brilliantly
in the aforementioned Jeff Scott's book - Concrete for Breakfast. This book is still available from Jeff's website - link above.
"I only saw the event on TV so did not have the benefit of soaking up the atmosphere. I have to agree about the spectacle though - first class. I wonder if it would have been as good if the rain had stayed away and allowed Ole to manicure the track. Most of the poor GPs are caused by poor racing conditions rather than rider quality and effort. Most people acknowledge this but the authorities continually ignore it - to the severe detriment of speedway's reputation as a spectacle. Ole was a great rider and seems to be a reasonable administrator but has not impressed me with his track preparation skills (I assume that he has a free hand in track preparation). The proof is when they hold GPs on natural tracks (particularly Polish ones) which are renowned for passing and they become a non event."