“Better experience” Speedway Grand Prix website launches

With the 2011 Speedway Grand Prix series about to flare back into life this weekend in Leszno, BSI ramped up the excitement still further with a series of thrilling announcements. Hot on the heels of an email that contained such awesomely important SGP & SWC news that its subject header had to be typed out in capital letters (“NEW SPEEDWAY GP OFFICIAL APP NOW AVAILABLE”), it’s hard not to go all giddy when we learn, “NEW WEBSITE FOR 2011….new look, new features, better experience”. Ignoring the question ‘who writes this stuff?’, it’s definitely a case of ‘be still my wildly beating heart’! It’s impossible to resist immediately logging on to bathe in the glory of the “better experience” BSI promise on the new website.

Sadly, though they’ve had six months to work on it since the end of the last SGP series, BSI decided to relaunch with some of the “new website” still under construction! (plus they also cut n pasted some text from the old version) While we can all forgive an element of ramshackle and bodging, surely it shouldn’t be beyond the wit of BSI management – nevermind their publicity and web design teams – to ensure that they have full functionality from, as Kelvin would say, “the get-go”? Maybe, “better” roughly translates as “incomplete”?

If you want to buy some (overpriced) official 2011 merchandise online, well – tough – it’s “coming soon”!

Those with a nostalgia for the business vision and leadership skills of John Postlethwaite to go along with their 28 to 30 inch chests and more money than sense, can still (of course) dress themselves at the thinking man’s up market TK Maxx: Digg Deep!

If you’re a member of the media and you’d like to cover the Speedway World Cup due to be staged in less than three months, well – sadly – accreditation applications have (apparently) “currently closed”. With such sterling efforts to support the Fourth Estate, it’s no wonder that the SWC  jewel in the crown of BSI’s ‘worldwide’ speedway brand ensures ‘let’s go to the speedway tonight’ isn’t always on the tip of the general public’s tongue!

Predictably, the “press centre” remains sleekly content free and “Coming Soon…” Sensibly, BSI require journalists to prove their credentials via various administrative hoops to gain accreditation but, perhaps, before they just cut and paste the copy from the old website about this process into the “new look” “new website” they could bother to read it first? Whoops!

This could avoid living in the past and, though I’m sure she’s still curating the invitees named on their media list, disallow using out-dated copy that advises, “Nicola Sands will be in overall charge of all aspects of media accreditation in 2009”!

The most wonderful feature of the “better experience” on the “new look” “new website” is the delightful sponsors roster link. Can anyone in their wildest dreams ever have imagined that a decade of BSI at the helm of the SGP series would lead to such an august roster of household brand names wishing to associate themselves with speedway and its ‘most prestigious’ competition? The various city sponsorships read like they’ve been chosen from a Who’s Who of Hemel Hempstead twin towns! While saying aloud some of the other sponsors names immediately kills any curiosity and makes the effort of googling them to find out about their business activities just that bit too much of an effort to bother with. While, obviously, all speedway sponsors should be applauded surely the brand recognition of the BSI/IMG SGP series – let alone the huge number of countries who apparently love to show the thrills and spills of SGP racing – should dictate not every company keen to involve themselves is pathologically provincial or relentlessly obscure?

More interestingly (and they do say imitation is the finest form of flattery), it looks like the approach of the BSI commercial sales team continues to be to identify possible targets to expand its portfolio by quickly looking at who’s recently sponsored (let’s say) British Speedway in some significant way. Their modus operandi then appears to be to exploit the sponsors’ naivety about the real status of the SGP series by love bombing (a.k.a. ‘lure them away’) with specious tales of glamour and delusional talk of increasing worldwide ‘appeal’. It only seems like yesterday Neil Machin enthusiastically advocated the tailor made services of Stockport based “specialist underwriter” and speedway insurance new boys Doodson in the pages of the Speedway Star (January 23rd 2010). This was closely followed by an awareness boosting BSPA initiative early season 2010 that saw the innovation of team logoed sponsored pens with pull out Doodson posters (genuinely a new departure in pen technology) – except in Poole where complications with pre-existing (insurance) sponsor Castle Cover saw them prefer a map there instead – trying to synergistically boost awareness of speedway and sports insurance. And now, this week, we have the thrilling news that Doodson have quickly gone onto greater things to become the “title sponsor” for the Cardiff round of the 2011 Speedway Grand Prix.

Talking up the commercial validity of this sponsorship decision, BSI Speedway managing director Paul Bellamy commented, “It’s great to bring a new sponsor to the series. Doodson is a prestigious brand that goes hand-in-hand with such a prestigious event. Doodson see the advantage of being associated with a major world championship series and the opportunities that brings in terms of branding and international television exposure. They will also be able to take advantage of the many business-to-business opportunities and reach out to new clients through the series’ impressive hospitality programme.” With business opportunities like these Doodson can’t fail but leverage the situation to become big names in Gorzow, Hemel and, appropriately for “international insurance group” with a specialism in motorsports, Torun (“city of sport”). If this is such big news, surely BSI could email the fans with this news rather than just advise the media and simultaneously bury it in the platitudinous ‘Latest News’ section of their website?

Hopefully, the “new look” “new website” will also be fully functional by the time Cardiff rolls round and BSI’s fabled attention to detail ensures that Doodson will also manage to reap the rewards from their involvement with the Cardiff SGP BSI promise. Meantime, let’s hope the 2011 SGP series delivers the on track thrills we’ve been promised by its advocates.

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