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 able to watch the sport at the highest level in really comfortable and fantastic facilities.” Hum…if for a moment we ignore that the “highest level” of speedway is staged weekly in Poland rather than in the SGP, lets consider the full glory of this statement:

Are “comfortable and fantastic facilities” preferable to great race tracks? Er, no

Do BSI/IMG produce great race tracks? Er, no

Do fans demand “comfortable and fantastic facilities”? Not if judged by the ongoing collapse in attendances

Are SGP meetings staged indoors (or with a retractable roof) known for memorable, exciting and/or close racing? Er, no [the recent Copenhagen SGP in 2012 is, arguably, the exception that proves this rule]

Is the SGP format exciting? Not if judged by ongoing trend decline in UK television audience numbers

Are these “comfortable and fantastic facilities” located in low cost countries or cities? Rarely. In fact BSI take pride in choosing “premier weekend destinations” much more suited to corporate pockets

Are food and beverages keenly priced in stadia with “comfortable and fantastic facilities”? Er, no

Do “comfortable and fantastic facilities” make processional races more fun to watch? Possibly

As if these claims weren’t silly enough, apparently Mr Paul Bellamy has forgotten all about the ‘couldn’t organise a trip to the pub’ Gelsenkirchen fiasco presided over by BSI when he claims the roof enjoyed at indoor stagings of the SGP, “takes that uncertainty out of it for fans travelling from overseas”. Golly, my memory may be fading, but didn’t that indoor meeting not take place because of wet shale? Did Nicki Pedersen – still the best box office rider in the SGP – call Gelsenkirchen a “scandal”?

Soo, without a 100% record when it comes to staging their own SGP meetings under a roof, what is the status of this BSI “uncertainty” free ‘guarantee’? Possibly better than previously but, when the Gelsenkirchen SGP meeting didn’t take place, let’s consider how the organisers rectified the situation:

Did BSI refund fans travel costs? Er, no

Did BSI refund fans accommodation costs? Er, no

Did BSI launch a full enquiry? Yes

Was the report published? No

Were lessons learnt? Apparently, yes

What were these lessons? Unknown

If an SGP round is postponed, do you get a ticket refund? Yes

Is there any other compensation? Some fine words of apology and a free ticket from a limited selection of other next season SGP events

Fortunately, (and ignoring it was the much less popular second staging of Gelsenkirchen BSI so royally cocked up) we can all take future reassurance about SGPs from Mr Bellamy? Hopefully…. “Our strategy is to take our time, make sure we’ve got all the logistics and organisation in place first, rather than jump the gun.”


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

  1. Craig Myers
    October 25, 2012 at 10:17 am

    “Ongoing trend decline in UK TV audience” – I suggest has more to do with no successful British riders in the GPs , rather than the GPs not being exciting. So much so , the organisers feel the need to have a British rider in the line-up whether they’re able to compete at this level or not. Chris Harris is a terrific rider but has never been at this level. Tai Woffiden (really should be riding as an Australian but that’s another issue) is a talented rider but I doubt he has what it will take to be a top eight rider.

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