Lost decade of speedway at Plough Lane as Wimbledon finally closes?

Lost decade of speedway at Plough Lane as Wimbledon finally closes?

The sound of speedway bikes will be heard for the first time since October 2005 at the Plough Lane Stadium, Wimbledon tonight (March 12th 2017), albeit at a farewell stock car meeting. It is good to mark the passing of one of the world famous British speedway clubs. With Merton Council approval given for the…

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Paul ‘Burbo’ Burbidge Speedway Reporting Revolution on Twitter continues, part 4

Drawing upon the full majesty of the 13 years of his ‘independent’ speedway reporting career, Bournemouth University’s finest media graduate  and Britain’s speedway reporter extraordinaire Paul (Burbo) Burbidge’s digital social media profile continues to hollow out and infantalise the news content of the speedway reporting landscape. It is access all areas, “I write news for…

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Monster Energy Speedway World Cup 2016 – horror UK television viewing figures

Monster Energy Speedway World Cup 2016 – horror UK television viewing figures

If judged via the television audience figures for BT Sports Speedway broadcasts in the UK, the Monster Energy sponsorship of the 2016 Speedway World Cup has massively shrunk the popularity and interest amongst British speedway fans. Without BARB information for the EuroSport broadcast years of 2013-2015, it is hard to establish if the unmitigated disaster…

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Speedway Grand Prix 2016 Total Rider Earnings ($)

Speedway Grand Prix 2016 Total Rider Earnings ($)

Speedway Grand Prix earnings for the 2016 series again show most riders earning less than the Help – whether it is BSI’s Torben Olsen or headline sponsor Monster Joe Parsons. Surely this can’t be right? with thanks, as usual, to Charles McKay for compiling these figures

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Stunning 2/3rds (ongoing) collapse in Speedway Grand prix UK television viewing figures

Stunning 2/3rds (ongoing) collapse in Speedway Grand prix UK television viewing figures

After the Speedway Grand Prix UK television viewing figures black hole of three years of Eurosports speedway grand prix broadcasts, for the first time since 2012 we have verified audience figures. Despite widespread acclaim for the knowledgeable and authoritative BT Sports Speedway studio team of Natalie Quirk and Scott Nicholls in combination with the established/experienced…

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Speedway Commentary Poem 1: Lines composed on the occasion of the inaugural Monster Energy Speedway World Cup Final at the National Speedway Stadium

Pats his engines to say thank you That was breathtaking, breathtaking   Criticism in the social media I’ve got 50p in my pocket   With the steel shoe off his foot He will delight the huge crowd   Gate 4 is a long way Harsh realities of speedway   What do you expect to see?…

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Waiting for Burbo: the mysterious case of SPoY, Speedway Grand Prix sponsor Monster Energy & Monster Joe Parsons

Waiting for Burbo: the mysterious case of SPoY, Speedway Grand Prix sponsor Monster Energy & Monster Joe Parsons

In a trademark opinion piece penned for the Point of View column of the Speedway Star (12.12.15), their “Chief News Writer” Paul ‘Burbo’ Burbidge questioned the inclusion of Tyson Fury on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPoY) 2015 shortlist. Known for a grasp of culture and politics that makes free commuter papers read…

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Speedway Grand Prix strategy questioned by Monster Energy ahead of sponsorship negotiations

Ahead of the likely renewal (on very favourable terms they completely dictate) of their headline sponsorship of the Speedway World Championship, Monster Energy’s Joe Parsons opened his contract renewal negotiations over the contract that expires during 2016 with pointed criticism of rights holder BSI/IMG’s  SGP stadium venue strategy. With only compromised or embedded media outlets…

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Tatum & Pearson live 2016 Tour – Poole event

The Kelvin Tatum & Nigel Pearson 2016 road show sees the renowned television speedway commentary duo return to Wimborne Road – the home of Poole Pirates Speedway and location of their inaugural speaking event – for the fourth of their six date Sports Talk Events Tour. With doors open at 7pm, thirty minutes before metaphorical…

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Top 40 Total Speedway Grand Prix rider earnings 2005-2015

Top 40 Total Speedway Grand Prix rider earnings 2005-2015

Top 40 Speedway Grand Prix riders from 2005 to 2015, judged by $ prize money earnings   (with thanks to Charles McKay)

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Speedway Grand Prix series 2015 – final Rider $ earnings

Speedway Grand Prix series 2015 – final Rider $ earnings

The final rider prize money/earnings table for the Speedway Grand Prix again sees the talent (the riders) earning less money than the suits (aka the ‘senior executives’) at the rights holders cum (dis) organisers BSI/IMG (despite the Warsaw Grand Prix fiasco) All figures US Dollars (with thanks to Charles McKay)

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Burbo Speedway Reporting Revolution on Twitter continues, part 3

Drawing upon the further majesty of the 12 years of his speedway reporting career, Paul (Burbo) Burbidge’s digital social media profile continues to hollow out and/or infantalise the news content of the speedway reporting landscape. Ostensibly part of a ‘new’ breed of digitally savvy speedway journalists (“I write news for Speedway GP website and manage…

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Bob Tasker – speedway fan, filmmaker and wit

It’s really extremely sad news that Bob Tasker of GRT Media has passed away today in Newcastle after a short illness. Bob was a lover of life, people, gossip and speedway – preferably all four at once. He travelled the speedway tracks of the UK tirelessly and, like so many, he did this much more…

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Speedway Grand Prix 2015 Total Rider Earnings (so far)

Speedway Grand Prix 2015 Total Rider Earnings (so far)

Riders must race in the Speedway Grand Prix series for the glory rather than the money if judged by their total earnings so far in 2015! Alternatively, it may be for the sponsorship opportunities competing provides?     (with thanks to Charles McKay)

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Darcy Ward: equals track record in his first ever ride at Glasgow Tigers Speedway (aged 16)

The rider every Glasgow speedway fan wants to see this afternoon is Darcy Ward. The ‘Meet the Visitors’ section of the programme succinctly summarises his potential appeal. “The Premier League newcomer of the year will definitely be Darcy Ward. The 16-year-old from Australia has taken the northern hemisphere speedway world by storm. He’s gone straight…

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Darcy Ward: Conference League Riders’ Championship debut (aged 16)

The meeting starts thrillingly when the 16-year-old Australian with the dashing, film-star first name – Darcy Ward – shows verve and determination when he zooms from the back of the field to the front. Although he rears and nearly falls at the start, over the course of the four laps he thrillingly picks his way…

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Paul Bellamy – the excitement & impact of his years at the helm of the Speedway Grand Prix recalled

Paul Bellamy – the excitement & impact of his years at the helm of the Speedway Grand Prix recalled

Not known for their philanthropy or diffident approach to business, the venture capital owners of global sports, events and talent management company IMG probably remain completely unaware of the Speedway Grand Prix, let alone BSI Speedway managing director Paul Bellamy. That said, a debacle on the scale of the recent Warsaw Speedway Grand Prix –…

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Sky Sports SPEEDWAY viewing figures 2015 (to date)

Sky Sports SPEEDWAY viewing figures 2015 (to date)

Like the speedway equivalent of Frazer from Dad’s Army, last week Philip Rising – Managing Editor of the Speedway Star – once again used an opinion column in the pages of his publication to warn about the “ills” and future of British Speedway in its current form/configuration (with especial emphasis upon the travails of the…

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Speedway search terms 2013 & 2014

The search terms that people use give a potentially revealing snapshot into what excites or makes them curious about speedway. Here are some of the more interesting and/or surreal terms that brought web users onto the Methanol Press site during 2013 & 2014. sky speedway contract reneal best flying haggis jokes cage used by cleaning…

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Speedway Grand Prix Attendances 2014

Speedway Grand Prix Attendances 2014

Fans who wish to savour the statistics of the Speedway World Championship continue to be very badly served by both the F.I.M and the Speedway Grand Prix series current commercial rights holders and organisers BSI Speedway (an IMG company). Both continue to choose not to publish official attendance figures for SGP series events. The F.I.M.…

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Speedway Reporting Revolution on Twitter continues, part 2

Drawing upon the full majesty of his 11 years speedway reporting Paul (Burbo) Burbidge’s digital social media profile continues to revolutionise our often turgid speedway reporting landscape. Part of a new breed of digitally savvy speedway journalists (“I write news for Speedway GP website and manage speedway gp social media. I’m also Speedway Star’s Chief…

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Elite League Sky Sports SPEEDWAY viewing figures up 22.4% in 2014 (but still second worst ever)

Elite League Sky Sports SPEEDWAY viewing figures up 22.4% in 2014 (but still second worst ever)

Judged by the industry standard of the minute-by-minute statistical sampling method employed by Broadcasters Audience Research Board, Elite League speedway shown on Sky Sports Speedway satellite television during 2014 improved in its popularity by 22.4% (up 12,563 viewers on average per meeting) to 68,563. There are quite a few possible factors behind this uplift: perhaps…

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Top 50 Speedway Grand Prix rider earnings 2005-2014

Top 50 Speedway Grand Prix rider earnings 2005-2014

The Top 50 Speedway Grand Prix Riders judged by their earnings from 2005 to 2014 are as follows:   Thanks to Charles McKay for help with these statistics

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Speedway Grand Prix rider earnings 2014 (& Top 10 SGP earners 2005-2014)

Speedway Grand Prix rider earnings 2014 (& Top 10 SGP earners 2005-2014)

The Speedway Grand Prix rider earnings table for 2014 makes interesting reading as Greg Hancock sneaks ahead of Nicki Pedersen in the overall 2005-2014 total earnings table by just $4,350.   The Top 10 Speedway Grand Prix Riders judged by their earnings from 2005 to 2014 are as follows: Greg Hancock             $657,150 Nicki Pedersen          $652,800…

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Glasgow Tigers v Edinburgh Monarchs (Premier League) 14th September 2014

Glasgow Tigers v Edinburgh Monarchs (Premier League) 14th September 2014

Ashfield Stadium – home of the Glasgow Tigers – is bathed in bright sunshine ahead of the latest instalment of their derby meetings with Edinburgh. Though notionally bragging rights and regional pride are on the line, the reality is that both sets of supporters expect the Monarchs to gain more than the single away point…

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Feedback on Strictly Shale from Justine Potter

Though delighted to finally have her picture in one of my books, in between a slew of early meeting 1-5s to Coventry, last night (23rd August 2014) during Lakeside v Coventry “artist” Justine Potter of the Lakeside Hammers track shop kindly gave me her candid opinions about my new photo book Strictly Shale: Circling British…

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Norman ‘Nobby’ Hall RIP

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Alf Weedon R.I.P.

Alf Weedon the finest speedway photographer of his generation (or, arguably, any generation) has sadly passed away on January 19th 2014, aged 93. Even in his late 80s, the lessons and skills gained through a lifetime in and around speedway people – whether trackside, pitside or in trackshops – meant that Alf knew more about…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – November 1st to 11th 2012

1st November Kenneth Bjerre “completely forgotten what it’s like to be speedway rider. early morning. Back home to uk again. Dinner & dance at peterborough tomorrow” David Howe “1st November and speedway season over, I’ve never been so happy to see the end of a season” Mads Korneliussen “Thinking big #2013” Ty Proctor “All set…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – October 2012

1st October Todd Kurtz* “Got a bullshit tooth ache. Hence the tweet at this hour of the morning! Help please” Kevin Doolan* “Time to cut laps of the swimming pool, splashing aint as much fun as roosting!” Paul Burbidge* “Advice to anyone staying at Kralj near Gorican, if you’re catching an early flight, pay the…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – September 2012

1st September John Anderson “Here at Berwick we have seen a reduction in gates since the start of the year. Financially we are just about washing our face, we have no outstanding debts, but another hundred or so through the gate every week would make it more viable.” Darcy Ward* “After lakeside drove though London…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – August 2012

  1st August Alan Boon* “Really enjoyed my road trip to Monmore Wood last night. Huge crowd for Div3 racing – some EL clubs would be happy with that! Heathens merchandise stall should be an example to all clubs – huge range of stuff on sale. Message to promoters – PEOPLE WANT TO BUY STUFF!”…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – July 2012

1st July Mark Lemon* “Proper little tweek to my left knee. Nothing I haven’t experienced before! Tiny bit of r&r needed #thanksforallyourkindthoughts” Mark Lemon* “Richie Worrall getting his morphine fix #littlestepbacktoabigfuture speedy recovery fella. I heard the realignment #crunch” Niels Kristian Iversen* “And for once we had no rain in both practice and the meeting…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – June 2012

1st June Sam Masters* “Aaaaw road works annoying me I got a train to catch! #bludgers” Chris Holder* “Jus got home from peterbourough! Awesome win again tonight! Darcy can’t be stopped!! Ricky scared us all! But got it done!” Hans Andersen* “Shocked just realised how fare we got to drive now #flatout just started our…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – May 2012

1st May Hans Andersen* “Morning people… YAWN way too early for travelling by plane to Sweden” Kenneth Bjerre* “Hope the weather is better in sweden tonight. Early morning at stansted airport” Chris Holder* “Stansted ✈… Errrrrrh to early” Nicki Pedersen* “Flying to Sweden now. swedish League starts tonight. Danish League tomorrow #fulltimespeedwayrider” Mads Korneliussen* “Germen…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – April 2012

1st April Fredrik Lindgren* “Funny how the water spin the other way around when you are halfway round the globe” Roman Chyla “I am wondering why there is no comments on yesterday’s GP in Auckland? As far as I am concerned, it was fully worthy getting up before 5:00am (CET), turning on my laptop and…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – March 2012

1st March Neil Machin “I’m aware of the criticism I get and the reputation I have, but I’ve been at this club for 19 years now and we always honour our agreements with riders and pay them on time. These are tough times financially but our partnership with Ian and the fact that we have…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – February 2012

1st February David Hoggart “When Ricky called me on Sunday to say he had failed to agree terms with Plymouth and had declined their offer of a team place for 2012, I had to think on my feet. I had already tried several clubs when we were unable to accommodate him this year and I…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – January 2012

January 2012 1st January Paul Burbidge* “If AJ gets chucked out of Zielona Gora a year early over this one SGP rider per club rubbish, there is something very wrong in Poland” 2nd January Martin Bennett “Having half watched [the Sky Review 2011] the other night I can’t help but feel the format is wrong.…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – December 2011

  1st December Nicolai Klindt* “just woke up.. times 8.00 in the morning. going for a radio/tv interview later and then practice from 5.00-8.00 tonight #theresnolimit oh……and not to forget the beach!” Chris Holder* “heaps of sharks over that side of aus! #sketchy”   Dakota North* “yeah work is shit, I’d rather be riding right…

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Speedway Life: Twitter & scuttlebutt – November 2011

1st November Taylor Poole* “Ac0rding t0 my acc0untant I need a will :P” Roman Chyla “Rumour has it no2. Scott Nicholls and Davey Watt will get wild cards for the 2012 SGP… if Darcy Ward and Piotr Protasiewicz will confirm their refusal. Protasiewicz is due to give his decision today. Ward has already declined the…

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Speedway Reporting Revolution on Twitter, part 1

Some romantics still believe the proper function of news journalism and news reporters is to try to speak truth to power. Sadly in the English language speedway media universe – without so much as a blush or backward glance – reporters usually only provide news and opinion suitable to those who pay them or, at…

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Speedway Grand Prix series average attendances: fall continues in 2012 & 2013

Speedway Grand Prix series average attendances: fall continues in 2012 & 2013

Latest figures reveal that the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series average attendances continued to fall in 2012 and 2013, despite the ‘blip’ poor results of 2011. Worse still, SGP series continues to decline in popularity at most series event venues and overall. This isn’t really a great surprise – since 2002 the trend remains one…

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Sky Sports British SPEEDWAY Audience Figures 2013: Worst Ever

Sky Sports British SPEEDWAY Audience Figures 2013: Worst Ever

There is no easy way to dress up that Sky Sports Elite League SPEEDWAY^ viewing figures for the 2013 season are the worst ever recorded. Where audience figures are available, the average audience fell by 9,194 (or -12.8%) to an all time low of 62,615. The full glory of the available figures is below:  …

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The strange case of Speedway Grand Prix programme shrinkage

  It’s a really tough job to learn anything of value or gain insights from Speedway Grand Prix reports on its website or in trade press reports, let alone any SGP programme. That said, though not an exact science, the ongoing declining popularity of the Speedway Grand Prix is, perhaps, further laid bare by recent…

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Cardiff Speedway Grand Prix 2013 track problems with added damp shale communication masterclass

Inside the Cardiff Speedway Fayre, it’s déjà vu all over again prior to the 2013 Cardiff Speedway Grand Prix that, nowadays, we’re instructed to by the organisers to call #BritishSGP on twitter. My rhetorical question to Johnny Barber (“are you looking forward to the meeting?”) – since I suspect he’s not going – elicits some…

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Speedway World Cup Viewing Figures 2012: slightly up but still second worst yet

Speedway World Cup Viewing Figures 2012: slightly up but still second worst yet

The good news is that the 2012 FIM Monster Energy Speedway World Cup finally halted the ongoing precipitous decline of the Speedway World Cup television audience on Sky Sports. The international big name sponsorship of Monster Energy was extensively trailed and hailed as the dynamic future by themselves, the speedway trade press and rights holders…

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eBay auction sells 2012 Lotus FI GP race suit worn by FI star Kimi Raikkonen for £4600 to raise funds for Alan Wilkinson Appeal

****STOP PRESS******* Just sold for £4600 – great fundraising for a worthy cause! Lotus FI GP race suit worn during the 2012 season by FI star Kimi Raikkonen is to be auctioned on eBay next week to raise funds for the Alan Wilkinson appeal fund. This incredible donation – authenticated by the Lotus F1 GP…

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Some speedway search terms used in 2011 & 2012

The search terms that people google or bing give a potentially revealing snapshot into what excites or makes them curious about speedway. Here are some of the more interesting and/or surreal terms that brought web users onto the Methanol Press site in 2011 & 2012: What was life like in medieval Weymouth Maskells Hailsham expensive…

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Selected Speedway Twitter photos 2012

With more speedway riders than ever on Twitter, fans now get to learn much more about their favourite characters and the reality of the lives they lead. Though not everyone has yet joined Twitter, the riders (and others from the speedway world) regularly share their thoughts and opinions. Not all of these comments meet with…

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Some Xmas Ideas supporting the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund

Some Xmas Ideas supporting the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund

Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund Calendar 2013 One of the most successful fundraisers in recent times for the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund has been the calendar which the current riders have been kind enough to contribute to and pose for. The first edition was produced a couple of years ago and was a complete sell-out, and…

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Sky Sports Speedway Grand Prix Viewing Figures: 2012 Worst Year Since Records Began

Sky Sports Speedway Grand Prix Viewing Figures: 2012 Worst Year Since Records Began

Despite the extremely rare notional ‘drama’ of a Speedway Grand Prix series actually remaining undecided until almost the last race of the season, the “most exciting ever” 2012 series saw average UK viewer numbers reach an all time low of 67,454. Worse still, these awful figures exclude the likely deleterious impact of the inaugural New…

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Sky Sports British Speedway Viewing Figures 2012: Third worst ever

Sky Sports British Speedway Viewing Figures 2012: Third worst ever

The latest Sky Sports British Speedway viewing figures for the 2012 season don’t make edifying reading for speedway fans concerned about the allegedly diminishing likelihood of contract renewal. Looking to the positive, from June to August 2012 speedway was consistently the second most popular sport on Sky Sports (after WWE) – albeit on Sky Sports…

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John Campbell – longest serving promoter in British Speedway – quits after 29 years

Edinburgh Monarchs promoter John Campbell has sensationally quit the sport after 29 years according to press reports Always approachable and articulate, here is one of my many enjoyable and illuminating conversations with him (taken from Bouquet of Shale):   Strong winds buffet the opening two days of the Open Golf Championships at St Andrews lessen…

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Eric Hobsbawn and Speedway

It’s to Charleston that I head before the Knockout Cup encounter with Peterborough, a meeting that will bring Peter Karlsson back to the track for his first appearance since his recent display of dangerous petulance. Interestingly, despite the historic strength and importance of Eastern Europe as a region that over the years has provided a…

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Mike Bacon reviews ’26 Shades of Shale’ in East Anglian Daily Times

Mike Bacon reviews ’26 Shades of Shale’ in East Anglian Daily Times

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new speedway book available and launched at the Cardiff Speedway Grand Prix Collectors Fayre Saturday August 25th 2012

26 Shades of Shale – the new book from speedway author Jeff Scott – is launched this Saturday 25th August at Cardiff Speedway Grand Prix Collectors Fayre (at Cardiff Rugby Club – close to Fanzone) This seventh speedway travelogue by Jeff Scott covers the 2011 season in trademark fashion mixing reportage, opinion and behind the…

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Speedway World Cup viewing figures: ongoing decline of television audience on Sky Sports

Speedway World Cup viewing figures: ongoing decline of television audience on Sky Sports

The reverse Midas touch BSI repeatedly show via the ongoing decline of their Speedway Grand Prix television audience on Sky Sports looks like an outlandish success story in contrast to the rapid collapse of viewer interest in the Speedway World Cup. Looking at the publicly available figures for 2006-2011, popularity has gone from robust to…

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Forgetful Paul Bellamy hails latest Speedway Grand Prix stadium with a roof

This week BSI managing director Paul Bellamy announced ‘news’ that 2013 will see Speedway Grand Prix staged in yet another stadium that they’ll fail to fill anywhere near capacity (in this instance the brand new 50,000 seater Friends Arena in Stockholm). In trademark his usual breathless specious fashion, Mr Bellamy claimed “Speedway fans should be…

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How to make a donation to the Lee Richardson Support Fund

After consultation with the Richardson family, the Lakeside Hammers Speedway Club will be setting up a support fund for Lee’s wife and three children. In the next few days online donations will be possible via a link on the Hammers website and from today cheques, made payable to Emma Richardson, can be sent to Gerald…

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Lee Richardson 1979-2012 RIP (selected Twitter & reactions compendium)

Nicolai Klindt “i’m hearing lee richardson has breathing difficulties and internal bleeding and is set for surgery in wroclaw. all the best rico!” Chris Holder “What a shit track in Wroclaw!!! Looks so bad!” Scott Nicholls “Sounds like nasty injuries to lee. Sad part of any sport. Really hope they take good care of him…

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LR Tweets

LR Tweets

THE British Speedway Promoters’ Association are deeply shocked and saddened by the death of Lakeside Hammers Captain Lee Richardson. Lee died on Sunday in Poland as a result of injuries sustained in a racing accident… The BSPA’s thoughts are with Lee’s family and friends at this awful time.

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Sky Sports Speedway Grand Prix 2011 viewing figures: up but second worst yet

Sky Sports Speedway Grand Prix 2011 viewing figures: up but second worst yet

Apparently the inaugural (will it be the only ever?) Speedway Grand Prix from Auckland New Zealand will be shown from 04.00 this morning on satellite television channel Sky Sports. Raced on a specially prepared (slick) track at Western Springs Stadium, the event will be shown in “High Definition” and, for once, – possibly because there’s…

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The trials & tribulations of running Newport Speedway: some quotes from Steve & Nick Mallett

The closure of Newport Speedway because of a dispute with the BSPA is the Valentine’s Day news that speedway fans didn’t want to hear and, given talk of potential interested parties, hope will soon prove to be only temporary. Over past years, club co-promoters Steve and Nick Mallett have spoken honestly to the media about…

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Speedway Twitter Photos – 2011 Selection

Along with the flood of tweets from speedway riders, satellite television reporters, fans, service industry personnel, bigheads and, of course, occasional blowhards: there were numerous Twitter photos posted too. Some of these photos take us behind the scenes in never before seen ways. Others showcase the mundane life that’s the frequent flier, hard driving daily…

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BSPA Competition to win a copy of #speedwaylife

To enter the BSPA website competition to win one of the two copies of #speedwaylife: Sideways Quotes, Tweets & Comments, click on the contact button above* and answer the following question: which speedway rider has tweeted the most? Please provide your name and full postal address along with your answer. * Note: please DON’T submit your…

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Word cloud for #speedwaylife

Word cloud for #speedwaylife

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Speedway Grand Prix – worst attendances in a decade mars 2011 series

Speedway Grand Prix – worst attendances in a decade mars 2011 series

After all the hype and what feels like the relentless season long cheerleading opinion from the notionally ‘independent’ in the media, the 2011 Speedway Grand Prix series attendance figures throw into yet sharper relief the ongoing credibility crisis with paying customers that organisers BSI/IMG continue to fail to acknowledge, resolve or address. Instead they prefer…

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Sky Sports Speedway Elite League Viewing Figures 2011: Down according to insider expert, up on BARB

Sky Sports Speedway Elite League Viewing Figures 2011: Down according to insider expert, up on BARB

After a catastrophic plunge in popularity in 2010, the ‘new look’ Elite League of 2011 – where BARB figures are available – attracted an average Sky Sports Speedway audience of 80,611 viewers (5,870 viewers a week up on previous year).  Hopefully, though it’s on a low previous year base figure, this 7.8% increase represents the…

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Maurice (“pronounced More-reece”) Gordon RIP

Maurice (“pronounced More-reece”) Gordon RIP

The shock news that kindly dedicated speedway enthusiast Maurice Gordon has sadly passed away (aged only 62) is difficult to comprehend. With an accent almost as exotic – to English ears – as the pronunciation of his name, Maurice could regularly be seen in his natural habitat at a speedway meeting (whether at his beloved…

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Neil Street (1931-2011) RIP

Neil Street (1931-2011) RIP

The charming and modest Neil Street has sadly passed away. Sincere condolences to all his family and friends. Neil inspired and cared for so many speedway riders over the years but, more than that, he made people feel special. Neil also inspired as a man – genuine, compassionate and modestly humble. Most of all, Neil…

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Speedway Grand Prix series Wild card – refusal on financial grounds becomes a real option for Darcy Ward in 2012

The Polish Ekstraliga in 2012 will operate a rule to limit each team to only one Speedway Grand Prix rider per team. Therefore, any rider offered a wild card for the 2012 Speedway Grand Prix should – for financial reasons – turn down the opportunity to ride in the SGP series. If, indeed, career earnings…

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Mike Bennett entertains at King’s Lynn speedway

Mike Bennett entertains at King’s Lynn speedway

“the Sultan of Cheese always delivers” NME “gives his bow a string” Q “there’s nothing else like this” Melody Maker “watch out Tony” Smash Hits

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The strange case of the new ‘new’ start time for Cardiff 2012 Speedway Grand Prix

BSI just announced a change to the start time of the 2012 FIM British Speedway Grand Prix at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on August 25th 2012 from 5pm to 6pm apparently completely forgetting that Paul Bellamy hailed their decision to adopt an earlier (5pm) start time as a sign of how fan friendly BSI are nowadays.…

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Alun Rossiter in Poole Speedway Hall of Fame (understand bar, Wimborne Road)

Alun Rossiter in Poole Speedway Hall of Fame (understand bar, Wimborne Road)

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New Speedway World Team Cup trophy unveiled

New Speedway World Team Cup trophy unveiled

Following on from the unexpected but fabulous – some would say iconic – redesign of the SGP World Championship Trophy, further brilliant eye catching news and an exclusive photograph reaches this blog about the pending launch of a NEW SPEEDWAY WORLD TEAM CUP trophy!!! The draft unreleased statement we received have reads: “A lot of…

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Cardiff Speedway Grand Prix Fan Zone – what’s happening in 2011?

Cardiff Speedway Grand Prix Fan Zone – what’s happening in 2011?

In a wide ranging interview to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Cardiff Speedway grand Prix, BSI Managing Director Paul Bellamy spoke enthusiastically about ensuring that the raceday experience of the fans got emulated that of important sports events elsewhere. Rarely prone to understatement, Bellamy lauded the innovation of Fan Zone as giving fans something…

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Speedway finally makes the lead letter in Dear Deidre

We’ve waited many years for the Sky Sports Speedway publicity department to stir themselves enough to explore synergies with other Rupert Murdoch owned News International sister companies and persuade them to properly cover speedway. It would also be lovely to find decent column inches on British speedway in the sports pages of the News of…

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“Better experience” Speedway Grand Prix website launches

“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…

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Sky Sports Speedway 2011 season starts on a high

I missed the first few minutes of the first Sky Sports speedway broadcast of the 2011 season. Since the last time I looked they call it the ‘Sky Sports Elite League’, I expected Nigel Pearson and Kelvin Tatum to provide a clear explanation of what was going on with Coventry and Peterborough now the season…

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Ian Thomas (speedway impressario)

Ian Thomas (speedway impressario)

The charming speedway showman and gentleman Ian Thomas has passed depriving us all of his wit, love of life, people, honest opinions and his skills as a close-up magician. Genuinely a privilege to have met Ian and briefly known him. A unique man. Rest in Peace! With a larger-than-life personality, quick wit, insight and enviable…

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Total Speedway Grand Prix rider earnings 2005-2010 (excluding reserve appearances)

Rider 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Total Jason Crump $64,750 $81,400 $60,850 $73,400 $101,600 $67,700 $449,700 Andreas Jonsson $43,650 $55,000 $143,350 $51,960 $58,550 $55,350 $407,860 Nicki Pedersen $51,900 $59,950 $88,150 $83,100 $54,650 $53,300 $391,050 Tomasz Gollob $44,550 $48,900 $61,050 $75,000 $72,650 $84,800 $386,950 Greg Hancock $45,650 $61,750 $59,750 $69,400 $60,200 $54,750 $351,500 Hans Andersen…

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Book Review of Keep Turning Left by Ray Lambert

Not to be confused with the excellent blog with same name, Ray Lambert’s recently published Keep Turning Left is an affectionate romp down memory lane. It’s a bargain priced must for any self-respecting speedway fans’ bookshelf. The book is a compulsively readable treasure trove of facts, photographs, stories, tables, letters, quirky observations, transfer fees, poetry,…

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Speedway Grand Prix 2010 attendance figures: “could be better” according to Vice President of FIM

After (allegedly) the most exciting Speedway Grand Prix series since the dawn of time, the ‘high’ quality of the racing product appears to have little impact at the turnstiles. A quick glance at the official F.I.M. figures for each venue recently published in Polish magazine Tygodnik Zuzlowy reveals that overall attendances remain more or less…

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Speedway Grand Prix 2010 Rider Earnings – Top 39 (US dollars)

Tomasz Gollob $84,800 Jaroslaw  Hampel $67,700 Jason Crump $67,700 Rune Holta $59,500 Kenneth Bjerre $57,200 Chris Harris $57,150 Andreas Jonsson $55,350 Greg Hancock $54,750 Nicki Pedersen $53,300 Chris Holder $52,600 Hans Andersen $48,450 Fredrik Lindgren $48,000 Magnus Zetterstrom $44,500 Tai Woffinden $39,750 Emil Sayfutdinov $18,700 Davey Watt $14,100 Piotr Protasiewicz $10,150 Janusz Kolodzirej $6,900 Nicolai…

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The new Jeremy Clarkson, Moley or British speedway’s voice of the people?

SHALE TREK Review by Paul Burbidge, Speedway Star 20th November 2010 WHEN it comes to writing about the shale sport, Jeff Scott has established himself as speedway’s literary equivalent to Sky Sports camera-come-mascot Moley. He is the man with a different angle on proceedings – an angle or viewpoint which is not always aired by…

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35% Collapse in number of paying customers in two years at Weymouth Speedway exacerbates liquidity problems

35% Collapse in number of paying customers in two years at Weymouth Speedway exacerbates liquidity problems

Weymouth speedway average crowd 2008 = 380 2009 = 320 (down 16%) 2010 = c.244 (down 23%) [excluding figures for May 21st & May 28th] Last season Weymouth Wildcats Chairman Phil Bartlett outlined his own ‘revolutionary’ proposal to restore profitability at the club, “If I had my way I’d lock up the pits gate completely…

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Sky Sports British Speedway Viewing Figures 2010 – Second Season of Double Digit Audience Decline

Judged by the industry standard of the minute-by-minute statistical sampling method employed by Broadcasters Audience Research Board, Elite League speedway shown on Sky Sports during 2010 continued the decline in its popularity started the previous season. BARB counts the average number of people watching any television programme throughout its duration (excluding advertising breaks) – for…

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Shale Snapshots 2010 – A Sideways Glance at Speedway Britannia

Shale Snapshots 2010 – A Sideways Glance at Speedway Britannia

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Alan Rolfe – Eastbourne Eagles Start Marshal (1972-2010) retires

Alan Rolfe – Eastbourne Eagles Start Marshal (1972-2010) retires

Eastbourne’s modest and friendly Start Marshal Alan Rolfe bowed out of direct raceday involvement at Arlington in typically understated manner – opting to get on with his job rather than seek the limelight. Race night just won’t seem the same without Alan’s neatly dressed professionalism. Always unflappable, prior to any race Alan combined the hand…

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Speedway Grand Prix Wildcards: Qualification versus Selection debate

Unusually, the permanent wildcards selected for the 2011 Speedway Grand Prix actually look surprisingly sensible choices. This hasn’t always been the case and the performance record of those permanent wildcards selected by the powers that be has often been spotty. Much more significantly, their performances have been historically worse than those riders who qualified for…

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Speedway Grand Prix Series 2010 ends in anti-climax at Bydgoszcz (on Sky Sports)

The last Speedway Grand Prix of the 2010 season finds Nigel and Kelvin trackside for Sky Sports at Bydgoszcz. As usual the excessive number of rounds of the SGP format ensures – like so many years previously – that there is absolutely no mystery about who will be world champion well before the so-called climax…

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The Art of Coarse Trackshopcraft by the Trackshopman of the Year

The Art of Coarse Trackshopcraft by the Trackshopman of the Year

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Page 99 Ford Madox Ford Test at Methanol Press

Ford Madox Ford famously said, “Open the book to page ninety-nine, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you” See below if reading these snippets from my books published from 2006 to 2010 prompts you want to buy any… Shale Trek (2010) p.99 Comment and the recent outcry over allegations about Poole’s…

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It’s speedway – but not as we know it – (review of Shale Trek by Gary Pinchin of Motorcycle News)

Speedway. First out of the gate wins. God, I hate that cliché. It’s true you don’t get much overtaking when you set four, brakeless, methanol-burning 500cc race bikes off around a 350 metre oval dirt track, but when someone does manage it you just want to punch the air and scream yyyyyesssss with excitement –…

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Jon Cook looks to the future of British Speedway

“For my own part I am fast coming to the conclusion that the only way to reinvigorate speedway in this country is to undertake an independent review that allows for the views of not just Promoters but riders and fans as to what does and doesn’t work in this Sport. Promoters don’t hold all the…

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