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 answers but we, collectively, have done a good job in running a Sport where collective debt is nothing compared to other sports in the country. This may have meant that we have lost sight of the product and if that is the case an experienced independent can point the way ahead. Riders are rightly respected for the risks they take but they too have lost sight with regards to the unchecked rise in the cost of equipment in a sport where the standard of racing is more important than the time of a race. After all if four riders are in a race all on engines which have cost $5k does anyone really believe that it’s better than a race on £2k engines? But it’s a difference of £12k that has to be found and that is £12k less for the promoters to share with the riders and £12k more to be found through admission prices for the fans. We can’t keep hitting fans in the pocket year on year to pay for equipment increases. The riders, or very many of them, can see the end is nigh for GP style equipment in League racing and that’s a particular subject I intend to keep banging the table for.
I have spoken at length with Colin Pratt who is comparing this time to that approaching the amalgamation of 1965. I don’t remember that time (it being the year of my birth) but the comparisons Colin draws are there and the result was a stunning turnaround in the fortunes of the Sport, a result of brave decisions, which is what we need now. After this year we have three years remaining of a TV deal and renewal will depend on excellent viewing figures and a great show to boot. We can achieve those things without doubt as this Sport is still a very exciting, value for money, honest spectacle. The future is very bright but we just have to find it first!”
Appears with kind permission. From ‘The Cook Report’ column written by Jon Cook in the Lakeside v Poole programme dated August 2nd 2010
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