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Motocrossers, Race Times and an Apology to the BSPA
By Dave Green

Richard Lawson

Delighted to see young Richard Lawson and Craig Cook making such a positive impression in their first season at Workington. The Cumbrians had a reputation in the seventies for discovering and promoting local talent and it's good to see that happen once again. It's particularly important for the more isolated clubs to identify any talent that's on their doorstep, one imagines the cost savings will be substantial if compared to travel costs for those commuting from down south or abroad. Similarly supporters are always happy to see 'one of their own' doing well for the team and will generally be that bit more patient as the youngsters make their way. Much better all round than the Comets bringing in a journeyman rider from abroad on a weekly basis to score the same number of points.

Of course, Lawson and Cook aren't new to motorcycling as both have had success on the Moto-X scene (they used to call it scrambling in my day). Clearly this is an avenue that other (or indeed all) clubs should be looking to exploit in order to bring new talent into the sport. If memory serves, both Danny Bird and Ross Brady came from a similar background and were very quickly scoring points at senior level. In contrast, it seems that many novice riders take to the track with little or no previous experience of riding a bike. As a result they have to slog through months of mastering the necessary throttle control and building up their general level of confidences. These guys from the Moto-X world seem to have those from day one and are immediately able to concentrate on developing a broadside and picking out racing lines. They also probably come in with a better grasp of machine set-up and maintenance than your average fan-turned-rider. Though in Lawson's case having a former rider as his father would also be an advantage in this case.

Hopefully we'll see more of these Moto-crossers taking up speedway over the next few years, even if some of them develop no further than journeyman standard themselves, the fact they're based in the UK would be a welcome benefit.


If often puzzles me why people record race times in their programmes, to me they are almost irrelevant. The only exceptions to the rule are when a track record is broken or when the circuit is sodden and we can excite in race times around 10 seconds slower than the norm. Interesting to hear certainly, but a waste of ink if you write them down. Worst of all is that hush that descends over the stadium as people wait to hear the official race time - I've often got some interesting point to make to the person next to me and I have to wait until those all important three digits have been announced before I can do so! The fascination with race times is all the more pointless when you consider that the race has often been timed by an octogenarian with a stopwatch that used to be his father's. Let's get rid of the times and just enjoy the racing?


In my last article (The Numbers Game) I suggested that the new system for awarding match points would be scrapped after a single season. Having seen it in action, I must concede that I was wrong, it does actually seem to work! A number of meetings I've attended this season have been enlivened by the prospect of the away team snatching the precious extra point on offer. There have even been a couple of occasions where the match has looked done and dusted very early on, only for a successful use of the tactical ride to throw the destination of the extra point into doubt. So, here it comes.BSPA general conference, you got something right! Now don't screw it up by tinkering with it next season!


This article was first published on 30th July 2009


  • Ken Nicholson:

    "Dave, I suspect you might be in the minority with regard to race times. I think the main interest is in using them for comparative purposes, i.e. so that you can judge the differences in standard between top riders and reserves, between different leagues or from season to season. What has often struck me is how consistent the times are during a meeting, so that they must be reliable to some extent. Either that or they have been made up! (PS Ideally, it is 4 digits that should be announced and not just 3!)"

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