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Accept The GP Is Here To Stay....But....?
By Bill Gilliham

It is very unlikely that the Speedway GP Series will be replaced by a "sudden death competition" as earlier....too much is tied up in the entire bilateral agreements with all parties. Let us accept the inevitable for the moment and then throw an almighty "spanner in the works"!

Let all the national leagues and programmes continue unaffected, as at present, but let's establish for the Grand Prix Series a completely new set of rules, including qualifying rounds....

Every GP event should see every rider:

  • Mounted on an identical frame

  • With identical motor and motor set-up

  • Machines will not be available to pit crews before the day of the trials

  • Pit crews may not re-engineer (open) the motors, but may adjust timings, electronics, clutch settings, gearings etc.

  • Tyre choice and change is at the discretion of the pit crews, as per the regs.

    Revolutionary, OK, but different.

    The margins to the GP organisers are massive and the involvement of at least two engine manufacturers, plus equipment suppliers could be substantial.

    Virtually all GP riders are on GM at present....what if the next round was sponsored by JAWA and all riders had to ride the Czech engines..then the next round....all on GM again....yet all on the same frames.....this could be tantalising.

    The costs to riders and their teams would be substantially reduced, concomitantly their GP remuneration could be reduced (making league racing more lucrative) and yet the rewards could be greater for all.

    All of a sudden we will find out who can really ride any speedway bike and really be the Champion of the World, day in and day out.


    This article was first published on 12th August 2010


  • Mike Wilson:

    "Quote- All of a sudden we will find out who can ride any Speedway bike and really be the Champion of the World - Unquote.......How can you say that, I garantee you that all of the SGP competitors will have tried every available frame and engine on the current market and settled on the setup that best suits their style. World Champions work harder and are focused on the ultimate goal. There will always be those who qualify for the SGP but never even come close to winning a round let alone the holy grail. That's how it was in the One Off Final and every Motorsport on the Planet today. There will be winners and there will be losers. Trying to create a standard system would make a joke of the Pinnacle of our great sport. Imagine making F1 a car lottery. Sorry I do not agree with any system that tries to make winners out of losers........"

  • Jim Chalkley:

    "While I agree with Bill Gillihams ideas. I would go one further & suggest that all speedway bikes be bog standard. In that I mean as bought over the counter no goodies added, then it will be down to the skill of the riders as they will all be on identical machines. It will also cut down the cost of maintaining the machine & even a novice can go out & buy the same bike as the world champion rides over the counter be it JAWA OR G.M."

  • Steve:

    "I like the idea, it would stop 'cheque book racing', however I very much doubt it would even be considered as an idea. Everyone knows that Jason Crump is probably able to spend 2 or 3 times more than most other GP riders due to his massive sponsorships etc, this would certainly even the playing field. It could also work for the League as well, it would remove the cost of engine tuning, potentially lower the riders wages as they wouldn't have the tuning bills, and therefore make it cheaper for the fans. I seriously doubt it will ever happen though."

  • Geoff Langley:

    "This must be the most ridiculous and unworkable suggestion I have heard. For one thing GM do not produce fully assembled engines. There is no such thing as an "over the counter" GM. Anyone buying a GM basically recieves a box of bits which has to be sent off to a tuner. Every tuner has his own individual methods and techniques. So if the engines are to be theoretically equal they would all have to be sent to the same tuner and he would have to prepare all of them exactly the same, which is impossible. Any rider will tell you that you can get two engines from the same tuner and they will have slight differences. That is one reason you see riders change bikes during a meeting.

    Even assuming you could achieve the impossible and get 32 engines (assuming two per rider) exactly the same you still have to face the fact that tracks are different shapes and sizes and small tracks like Cardiff require different power characterisics to a big track, and different riders require different power characteristics according to their riding styles. Who decides what power characteristics the engine should have? Small riders like Rune Holta and Kenneth Bjerre will obviously need their engines set up differently to bigger men like Andreas Jonsson. Whichever way you do it will favour some riding styles against others so the theoretical level playing field will never exist.

    If the GP's are to be as fair as possible the best plce to start would be enforcing the rules to ensure that engines are stripped and measured after every GP. It rarely happens and that is why riders are talking about engines being "Polish fast" (in other words oversize)."

  • Dudley Jones:

    "Bill Gillihams thoughts on improving the GP series are interesting. However, the suggestions largely focus on equipment, and I am not sure how practical it is to define and control this in the way suggested. There has always been disparity between riders equipment, even when JAP, and later Jawa, appeared to effectively monopolise supply. Some riders have always had first class equipment, where others did not. this did not stop the greats from reaching the top, (athough they might have done even better with 1st class kit).

    It is probably true that GP is here to stay, at least so long as the money talks, and that is why I have tried to argue that we could have a knock-out event like the old style championship running in parrallel with GP. Indeed, the two might even be complementary, with the old style event being used, at least in part, to select the GP riders for the next year.

    Whatever, I think that Bill's early point about a qualifying system for GP is essential if GP world champions are ever really going to be able to say they were the best, rather than best of perhaps 20 or less, admittedly very good, riders."

  • Jim Chalkley:

    "In answer to Geoff Langley, you hit the nail right on the head [Polish fast] if engines were standard then Polish Fast wiold be a thing of the past. You mention small riders & big riders, they would have to choose a gear ratio to suit there weight. A small rider could use a higher gear ratio than a bigger rider, then he would not spin on the gate nor on the slick tracks that seem to be the norm for today. As for checking the engines after each GP, I bet the riders would just love that!"

  • Mike Wilson:

    "Dudley Jones says he would like to see a knockout system run parallel to the SGP which could even be a qualifier event. Excuse me if i'm wrong but I thought we already had one.."

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