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 best advocate, the limited repertoire views of powerful vested interests (whether internationally, nationally or locally).
The result is that the speedway news reporter is frequently the equivalent of part dictation typist, part cheerleader. Many prefer to use their privileged British Speedway and (jet set) SGP insider access to unashamedly promote the joys of the Speedway Grand Prix, laud ‘star’ riders, provide identikit ‘comment’ and, apparently contractually, advocate the commercial interests of premium brand club promoters (Stockholm syndrome frequently impacts relationships). All difficult topics explicitly remain unreported, pride is taken that all difficult questions remain unasked unless they dovetail with the (usually short term, often changing) interests of (traditionally unacknowledged) commercial partners.
Some claim speedway news reporting has, nowadays, become the equivalent of a sex education film – the production values are high, the mechanics are there albeit in fashion that excludes desire as well as the rough and tumble fulfilment of real adult relationships with all its joys, insights, flaws, thrills, excitement and humanity.
Luckily digital social media is revolutionising this turgid speedway reporting landscape. Part of a new breed of digitally savvy speedway journalists (“I write news for Speedway GP website….I’m also Speedway Star’s Chief News Writer”), on Twitter Paul Burbidge is unafraid to use the privilege of his access to all the riders, UK teams and Speedway Grand Prix events to REALLY provide fans everywhere with hard hitting comment, stunning behind the scenes revelations and amazing insight or gossip. Welcome to the no holds barred real future of speedway journalism where views are ALWAYS “my own”. Here’s what we learnt during 2013:
Woke up to find out part of my old school Lytchett Minster burned down overnight. Suspected lightening strike.
Starts will be crucial.
Happy New Year to all my followers around the world. This year has been immense. Bring on 2013!
So Peterborough are expecting transfer fees for two riders they can’t fit into their side. And I thought there was a recession on.
Promoters need to sit down and decide how asset system will work going forward. We can’t have riders and fans being left in limbo.
I spoke to BSPA chairman Alex Harkess today. The ruling will be made at a meeting on Jan 15.
I need a Poole fan to interview for my 2012 Pirates season review for the #Speedway Star. Any takers?
I can see the asset rows rumbling on long after Tuesday. I feel for riders and fans who want to hear about #speedway racing not politics.
The BSPA need to make a statement on the Iversen, Andersen, Batchelor and Barker situations this evening. Fans want answers.
Very sorry to hear of Freddie Williams’ passing this morning. I interviewed him for the Cardiff programme last year – top bloke.
Gatwick’s baggage handling is a joke
The Burbing never stops
Happy Australia Day! I spent last year’s on Glenelg Beach in Adelaide.
I’m for making speedway cheaper and safer. I’ve just never heard of a new part introduced 6 weeks before the season.
The BSPA were too busy arguing about who was riding where sadly.
I’ve just had a press release from the SCB. It seems the @SpeedwaySeries can’t run on any SCB licensed tracks.
Time to commence my trip to Auckland. Going scenic route via Singapore, Sydney, Airlie Beach, Cairns, Adelaide and F1 in Melbourne. #nzsgp
Cracking five days in Singapore. Boarding my flight to Sydney now.
I hope everyone setting off to Auckland for the #nzsgp has a safe trip. I’ll be heading over from Melbourne on Tuesday morning.
Two hours late, but just touched down in Auckland. Bring on the #nzsgp.
Early start and long flight delay in Melbourne have left me starving. Time to find a restaurant to settle my stomach.
I’ll be heading to Auckland’s Polish Community Centre tonight for a special reception ahead of the #nzsgp.
I do like the sound of bikes being fired up in the #SGP pits for the first time. Almost time for practice.
The #nzsgp – home of the best chocolate brownies in the world. Absolutely spectacular.
Just had Ian Botham in the lift with me at @CPAucklandNZ.
The boy @D_Dublu_racing is making this look easy. If he keeps this up, everyone else could be fighting for second.
Great to see a few tears of joy from the Poles at Western Springs.
Well done to everyone involved in the #nzsgp. It has become a truly special event and a great chance to get to know everyone.
Next stop for me: Poole press day on Wednesday. Luckily it’s in the daytime. I may fall asleep at Swindon on Thursday. #jetlag
Needed a good night’s sleep after the marathon trip back from the #nzsgp.
It’s the morning of Poole’s press day and I open the curtains to see snow falling. Ridiculous.
Don’t think Darcy Ward will be getting just two points this afternoon. When you’re jet lagged, usually evenings are a struggle.
Can’t see for dust on the pits bend at Poole. I’ve relocated to the grandstand. Much better!
Love it when @D_Dublu_racing is stood in front of me and my dictaphone dies! Had to download one on to my iPhone.
Gutted to hear of another horror crash for @Ad_Royno4. Suspected head injury. Glad to hear he’s awake and I hope he pulls through.
Happy first birthday to my little nephew Dexter and Max Holder. Both born on #nzsgp weekend last year. Toys R Us will be hectic today!
Happy birthday @nickipedersenDK. Hope you’re having a good day!
Nice work on graphics from Chris Louis on Sky. I’d compare him to Gary Neville on the football coverage, but people like Chris.
I’ve just finished inputting squads for British, Swedish, Polish and Danish leagues into #SGP website for the league results.
I need to get mine renewed at some point. Awkward when you’re away every second weekend.
April 4 and it’s snowing outside my office window here in Dorset. What’s going on? This is madness!
Six month driving ban for Birmingham and Team GB’s Ben Barker
I don’t understand why Birmingham are still using their club PR to keep allegations about Smolinski’s engines in the spotlight.
If this was a football match, Fisher would’ve had a straight red card for that
Am I the only one finding it a bit strange watching Swindon in purple? Love the new kevlars, though.
Plymouth’s mascot waves each rider’s national flag as their names are announced. Nice touch.
Decent turnout at the St Boniface Arena tonight for Plymouth v Ipswich. There seems to be a positive feel about the place again.
Made the mistake of standing at track level on bend one at Plymouth. I look like I was last in heat one. #showeredinshale
well done to everyone at Plymouth. This place has been transformed from last year. Loved the buzz about the place.
Peterborough’s season was ruined before it started when the winter rule changes didn’t go their way. Could be a long season.
My thoughts are with the people of #Boston tonight. There isn’t any cause in the world which justifies an atrocity like this.
Tai has a league meeting on June 8 for Wolves, but Harris and Nicholls could race. How can the BSPA stop them?
I’ll be in Bydgoszcz. I haven’t been there since 2010, so I can’t wait to go back.
I’ve also had to fumble my way across the Showground in the dark. I crossed a pitch-black driving range to get to my hotel.
Track here at Poole is very much one line tonight.
Calm down guys. I said it was a one-line track and Wolves gated best. I’m taking nothing away from them.
Hi Adam, I’m just writing up the interview we did. Can I just check your parents names please? When did they move to France?
Also, is it right that they run two pubs? If so, what are they called?
I heard the word ‘concrete’ used a lot to describe the Bydgoszcz track during practice.
I’m wondering what the FIM procedure is when the tapes don’t work. Green light or elastic start?
When he gated in that final, I was on for £320. Still, £55 isn’t a bad return.
You can tell Bydgoszcz is developing as a city. Lots of new buildings and the airport now has a gate 2!
We were stood outside the terminal for half an hour waiting to board before the plane landed. Reward for priority boarding.
Porkie interviewing @AshMorrisRacing while he lies down in the pits at Monmore
Coventry have bagged a gem in new British Under-21 champ Robert Branford. Seems like a genuine, hard-working lad.
Finally got around to changing my Twitter pic.
British clubs must scour new visa rules, which have been in place for a year, to make sure all non-EU riders are back for 2014.
It’ll be interesting to see who gets the #britishsgp wild card this year. But it won’t be whoever wins British Final I’m told.
I’ve just heard that straight from BSI.
@TanyaAmott Happy 22nd birthday, Miss Amott. Enjoy your day!
A warning to anyone thinking of buying an iPhone 5. Don’t even think of going out for the day without taking a charger.
Can anyone help me with a live stream link for the Zielona Gora v Torun meeting please? Thanks.
When did this rain fall in Manchester?
Football is a professionally run sport. It’s not perfect, but speedway could learn a thing or two. This idea would work.
If Belle Vue are lying about this waterlogged track, they should be heavily fined and Poole awarded all four points.
Brandon looks a bit empty tonight
Great to see the SCB acting so quick to start an inquiry into today’s shambles at Belle Vue.
It detracts from the British Final that the winner won’t necessarily ride in Cardiff. But Bomber and Woffy should do us proud.
A few people don’t seem happy about Bomber getting Cardiff wild card. He’s hardly a spent force at the top? Who else is there?
Despite what some are saying, surely Poland and Sweden are the places for Brits to gain experience? You can’t just throw kids in at Cardiff.
BSI it seems in consultation with the FIM.
Stunning morning at Heathrow. Hope I get more of the same in Gothenburg this weekend.
Eggs benedict. We’ll have some of that!
My heart goes out to Emil Sayfutdinov this weekend. With his father seriously ill in Russia, he needs fans to get behind him.
Danish boss Anders Secher hit a deer on his way home from the track on Wednesday and had surgery on his right eye.
Duck Sauce’s Barbara Streisand – the #sgp mix – is blaring around Ullevi. Can we get this DJ at every round?
I can only imagine the emotions @emilracingseif must be going through tonight. Stay strong mate. We’re all thinking of you.
My flight leaves in about five hours. Getting some sleep could be an idea. Night!
On my way to Sittingbourne to see the Kent Kings’ big opening meeting. Can’t wait to see Central Park. I’ve heard great things.
You can never have enough pens in my job
After frustrating journey back from Heathrow yesterday, I’ve taken the train to Sittingbourne. Great way to get some #Speedway writing done.
Huge queues to get into Sittingbourne’s Central Park. This stadium looks Elite League from the outside.
Congrats to everyone at Kent #Speedway on pulling a massive crowd for their first meeting. I’d say over 3,000. Let’s hope they keep coming.
There are a few issues with the Sittingbourne that need resolving. Bends three and four are very bumpy. But still some passing.
If Kent keep majority of today’s crowd, it’s a viable Elite League track, and one that could stage top events. Huge potential.
Some big days ahead for Poole. Matt Ford will have to do something special to pull out a new No.1.
RIP Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson. I interviewed ‘Bart’ for Dorset Life. Such a nice guy. Shame I never got to take boat ride he offered me.
Does anyone have a link to some live updates from the World U21 semi in Italy this evening?
We’ve found some updates from Lonigo, courtesy of @KrisPanthers . Only the individuals, no heats, but it’s a start!
Good to see Ben Barker up. Yet to score and the frustration was there in his riding.
Has anyone got a link that works to stream some Swedish #Speedway tonight please?
Can I hear the Birdie Song being played over the tannoy at Smederna? Who says #speedway is stuck in a time warp?
Morning from London Heathrow. Barely any sleep, but heading to Terminal 3 to jet over to Prague for the #czechsgp.
Just had @nickipedersenDK and George Stancl in our bus to the Marketa Stadium, reminiscing about old times.
It’s at the end of a tram terminus or a taxi should do the job. I’m not sure which tram you need. It might be on SGP website.
Fantastic reception at the Mayor of Prague’s apartment tonight. Food was just divine. Can’t wait to return for the #SWC in July.
Poole were caught between a rock and a hard place. Run against Lakeside and lose a fortune, or get labelled cheats. Second option cheaper.
Credit to Matt Ford for not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes and claiming the call-off was due to an imaginary burst water pipe.
Poole have been calling for a squads for years and I back them 100%. If we run meetings on different days, give clubs flexibility.
I never said Poole were in right in calling off Lakeside, but I understand the reasons. If they aren’t punished, dangerous precedent is set.
There are too many questionable call-offs. But times are tough for promoters. Hence desperate decisions.
Niels, random question, where does your nickname ‘Puk’ come from?
Why do the Brits call Przemyslaw Pawlicki ‘Shamek’? Sounds like Polish car cleaning product. It’s Przemek, as in Tomek, Jarek etc.
Just popped into Millennium Stadium dressing room and bumped into Andreas Jonsson. Cardiff is bathed in sunshine for #britishsgp practice.
I hope @woffinden108 will be back on track in record time. Whatever the outcome, 2013 is the beginning of something special for this guy.
Lastly, well done to everyone involved in getting the #britishsgp on tonight. The track wasn’t ideal. But the riders still entertained.
I can’t doubt Sullivan’s class as a rider, but I’m not sure about him as a team manager. For Panthers’ sake, I hope he proves me wrong.
McDonalds looks good.
The Norwegian Met Office says it’s all good for Saturday. That’ll do me!
This is a rock-solid Birmingham team, but I never expected them to be 26-16 up at Poole after seven races. Very impressed.
Shocked to hear @middlo57 is laid up in hospital after being attacked by a dog. Life’s a bitch! I hope you’re feeling better soon.
The bad news is the sun has been bursting through my curtains since 5am. The good news? Bring on the #gorzowsgp.
A few spots of rain at the #GorzowSGP. I hope this blows over.
That was a very generous all four back for me from Danish referee Jesper Steentoft.
Tell me they’re not playing the Birdie Song here at the #GorzowSGP.
I’m coming to do some interviews, but I shouldn’t need to use my laptop. I’ll be in and out of the press box.
Matt Ford, it’s time for an overhaul. Start with Holder and Ward and rebuild this Poole team from scratch. Casualties unavoidable.
I’m starting to wonder whether some British promoters care about the state of their tracks. Too many horror stories this season.
Good effort Birmingham. Very exciting side and serious title contenders. If fans don’t turn out to watch this, it’s time to close the doors.
I first saw @ALindbck in 2003 and he looked every inch a world champion. He could still do it. If his head is right, he’s up with the best.
Didn’t expect Poole’s demolition of Eastbourne.
Eastbourne still has fantastic die-hard fans, but I can’t believe how much the crowd has dropped since I first went there in 2004.
Middlo says Harris is a definite, but other riders have scored better recently. Can’t doubt his ability and he is experienced.
So the #SGP qualifying semi won’t be staged on Monday. No date set.
The FIM are going to struggle to find a Saturday for this #SGP qualifying semi. SGP, SWC, World U21 and Euros have packed the calendar.
It’ll take a bit of organising. Whoever hosts it will want to get a decent attendance.
They won the KO Cup with guests in 2012 and now Poole might just have saved their season. The play-offs can still be done.
Time to take to the skies for Copenhagen.
Sayfutdinov keeping bikes close to track. Has broken 5th metatarsal and doesn’t fancy walking to the pits between practice runs.
Plenty of positive feedback on the PARKEN track throughout practice. The #danishsgp should be a cracker.
He may have a broken metatarsal, but Sayfutdinov’s limp was only thing that gave it away. Smiling, confident and up for it.
Very generous all four there. Hampel should have been excluded. That was a bail-out.
Lindgren, Jonsson, Jonasson, Sundstrom and Nermark – that would be a pretty useful #MonsterEnergySWC team if they were fit.
I was on the first bend. I heard the thump as he hit the air fence. Horrible.
@TanyaAmott Cracking job with the updates. Sounds like you witnessed a classic.
World champ @Chris_Holder23 had a successful op on his hip and pelvis, but surgeons opted not to work on his heel.
@TanyaAmott I know. I interviewed Bo Wirebrand on Tuesday. He couldn’t believe their luck, or lack of it.
Could not be more impressed with @rohantungate right now. He has stepped up big time when Poole need him most.
Getting slowly cooked at the Norfolk Arena. Gorgeous day for #speedway.
Brave call by Middlo to use his tactical joker against Iversen, Ljung and Fisher. No winners off gate 3 so far.
I think the Brits will just beat Australia tonight and Latvia will finish third. The #MonsterEnergySWC Race Off will be exciting.
@TanyaAmott I’m quietly confident, but I don’t always get it spot on.
Billy Hamill admits his USA team have some work to do on their bikes ahead of the #MonsterEnergySWC Race Off. But the spirit is awesome.
Success, we have a Latvian who speaks English. Thanks Kasts Puodzuks. Great effort!
Just overheard a proper team talk from the legend that is Billy Hamill. I hope his USA boys do themselves proud tonight.
Congrats to Australia. That was the most competitive Race Off I’ve ever seen. It took some steel to get through that.
Latvia have a bright future. Even Giruckis posed a threat. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of their riders in the UK.
Big moves must be made to show the BSPA takes Team GB seriously. Woffy and Bomber aside, we were out-gated, out-paced and out-classed.
We need more coaching and test matches for Team GB. We do nothing to prepare or help our riders when it comes to international competition.
The ACU has no control over British #speedway. If the BSPA want to run it, they need to take responsibility or put the ACU in charge.
Great fun when the plugs on the wall blow up in my hotel room. I’ve just had to move table to reach one that works.
Darcy looked like he had a little too much power in his opening heat. That bike was all over the shop.
Lukas Dryml was leading and Bjerre gave his front wheel quite a rattle with his dirt deflector on the way past. Bjerre should’ve been out.
Thank you Prague for an awesome few days. Time to fly home.
Coventry Stadium owners say the Bees can race there until at least 2023, despite interest in the site from #CCFC.
Whether Sandhu sells Brandon for a football stadium or housing, the road network around that place will not take it.
But Coventry Bees should not get complacent. If they start looking for a new site now, they’ll have a long-term future.
Went to Bristol today and came back in a Land Rover stacked with a @speedwaystarmag collection dating back to 1970. Thanks Pete Robinson.
If @GregHancock45 was a Premier League footballer, would he still be waiting for a UK visa? I doubt it.
@fierybird9 We get winning times from the FIM. They should be in the Speedway Star. Which rounds do you need?
We haven’t got any information for Gorzow before 2011. We have only been staging GPs there for three years.
Gutted @GregHancock45 won’t be making his debut for Poole tonight. With R/R for Holder instead, Coventry will fancy this.
I’m tipping @MaciejJanowski1 to go through the GP Challenge at Poole on August 24. He has timed his form perfectly.
We’ve got some lunatics on here as well. The crew had to explain a billion times about putting bags up in the exit row
@DFletcherSport Thanks mate. You’re being a really good friend to Tai. That [Hooters!] event was everything you hoped it would be. Great effort.
Really sad to hear about @ashworthski‘s crash. I’ve always enjoyed interviewing him. Top guy. I hope he pulls through.
This sets a precedent in the #SGP series. This is the first time a heat has been re-run. Riders will expect the same in future.
Easily the best #ItalianSGP I’ve covered. Decent racing and threw up some great drama.
@TanyaAmott We just need you to get a holiday home in Poole as well and then we’ll be sorted
Nice to see @Bjarne1Pedersen finish so strongly against Poole. Still class at Wimborne Road and that was a great win over Ward in heat 13.
Kennett won’t be happy if doesn’t get GP Challenge wild card. Went further than any Brit in qualifiers. But could he do it? Don’t think so.
But the promoters need to be able to draw a crowd. They needed Pavlic at Gorican.
@batchattack1 Just a prediction, Troy. It’s points and not predictions that win or lose riders meetings.
@batchattack1 Luck and the draw will have an impact. On your day, I know you can do it and I know you want it.
It’ll be interesting to see what King’s Lynn’s lawyers make of the British #speedway rule book. It’s usually open to interpretation.
Lakeside back into the top four, but they have just one home meeting left and it’s against Poole. Pirates have three at home.
His night was going nowhere and he pulled that win out of the fire.
Take a bow Emil Sayfutdinov. Performance of a champion in Togliatti.
On a personal note, I could not be keener to cover a meeting at Togliatti. Stadium looks world-class, full house and the place is rocking
Take a bow Peterborough. I wasn’t there tonight. What on earth happened to Poole?
I hope everyone has great time in Daugavpils over the next couple of days. Due to illness, I’m afraid I’ll be watching this one on telly.
I got told to slow down by Tomasz Gollob when I drove him to that advert we filmed in 2011. What a compliment!
I’m seven miles from the track. It’s overcast here.
Smolinski sent huge German contingent at Poole wild with storming win in #gpchallenge heat 4.
King thundered under Milik on lap 4 to snatch #gpchallenge heat 5.
As things stand, Smolinski is fourth on countback and will go into the #SGP series if Iversen stays in the top 8. No run off with Harris.
While Smolinski should have had a run-off with Harris for 4th, it was great to see coachloads of Germans on 2nd bend at Poole. Great crowd!
Under FIM rules, there can only be a run-off for first, second and third or a final qualifying place. But given that 4th will almost certainly be enough for an #SGP place, some feel Smolinski and Harris should’ve had a run-off.
The FIM were right under the rules. I’m pleased for Smolinski. But how can they decide a qualifying place on countback?
Lurking with intent as usual
This is an atrocious advert for #speedway. This meeting should not have taken place in a million years.
Very sad news that Emil Sayfutdinov won’t ride again in 2013. He deserved a silver medal at the very least for a brilliant season.
Miedzinski doesn’t come across as such a hard rider when you meet him off-track. He is quiet but friendly when I interview him.
I’m taking a break from #speedway betting. It’s proving an expensive game!
I recommend the fly marinaded roast potatoes at
Could tomorrow night be Darcy Ward’s last meeting for Poole? Sobering comments from Matt Ford
I hope it doesn’t come to that, but money would be tight with no Sky Sports coverage
That was one of the most hungry performances I’ve ever seen from a Poole team. Birmingham will be favourites, but it’ll be some final.
The best moment tonight for me was seeing
@Chris_Holder23 on his feet and out of his wheelchair. Good on you mate. Keep the recovery going.
Always great to be in Torun. Let’s hope the sunshine stays for the
#TorunSGP on Saturday
I have one spare ticket for sale for the
#TorunSGP on Saturday. First bend, upper tier. Let me know if you’re interested.
@taiwoffinden108 – our new world champ. Most improved rider of the season? No, most improved rider in SGP history. Amazing job!
Plenty of ghostly, hungover faces at Bydgoszcz Airport this morning. I’m sure the Ryanair service will soothe them shortly
The first year in SGP history none of previous year’s top eight reached the podium.
Someone thought it would be fun to trip me up on the way onto the plane in Bydgoszcz.
I have a cracked right hand to add to my broken right elbow and broken left wrist. I won’t be able to drive until almost Christmas.
This is going to be one huge AGM. No shying away from some big decisions.
Doing nothing is a big decision in itself. It will have huge consequences for clubs.
It’s fair to say it hasn’t been AJ or Fast Freddie’s year. But Sweden is a big market for
#SGP series – the commercial side is vital too.
I think Grigorii Laguta shot himself in the foot by missing the SWC and not entering the SGP qualifiers
Somerset have built this club slowly but surely. World-class track, top faculties and now a full trophy cabinet
Stunned to hear Jerran Hart has been jailed for 3.5 years for robbing a solider. Didn’t think he was capable of that.
Lindgren is keen to focus more on his fitness and bikes in 2014. Quitting Wolves is nothing to do with money.
Great calendar for this year’s SGP series. Riga looks an interesting stop, and I’m very glad to see the SWC final in Bydgoszcz.
Congrats to Leicester on being promoted to the Elite League. I’m hearing Krzysztof Kasprzak is being linked with their No.1 berth.
Despite its name, the EL reserves will not just be NL riders. PL Brits, who haven’t made it in Elite yet will also be included.
The Elite League may be weaker in the short term, but British
#speedway will be stronger in the long run for making heroes of these kids.
If a rider pulls out of a meeting injured, clubs can use R/R for them immediately instead of just reserves. Any rider below them in aves.
Sounds like there’s a fake Chris Holder account out there.
The most worrying thing about Birmingham was seeing Bjarne Pedersen walk before end of 2012. He’s a true pro. Something isn’t right there.
Great to see Mikkel Bech at Lakeside for 2014. Few riders in world
#speedway turn a bike better. He’ll savage teams on that track.
Great to hear
@DannyKingRacing is staying with Birmingham. Let’s hope all is in order behind the scenes now and they’ll be competitive.
All the best to the legend that is Tomasz Gollob. It must be great to quit SGP series knowing you’ve won nearly everything there is to win.
Merry Christmas to all my followers around the world. I hope you all have a happy, healthy and successful 2014.