Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
22/10/2017
Track Pix: Hertingen
It's All About You: John Hyam
Your Feedback
 
15/10/2017
DVD: Shawn Moran Racing
12th California Reunion
Your Feedback
 
01/10/2017
The Tebbys - Stan and Jim
California 2017 Reunion
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
25/09/2017
Trouble for Monarchs
Svein Kaasa Cuttings
Your Feedback
 
17/09/2017
What Happened to our "Season"
Riders to Remember: Ray Moore
Your Feedback
 
03/09/2017
Ronnie Moore and the Atom Car
Nigel and Jack Memorial Day
Your Feedback
 
20/08/2017
Let's Promote Speedway II
Speedway Pennants
The Voice No. 66
Your Feedback
 
06/08/2017
Let's Promote Speedway
Your Feedback
 
30/07/2017
Woffy's Warm Up
1982 Overseas Final
Your Feedback
 
14/07/2017
Syd van der Vyver
More Magazines from Bill
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
04/06/2017
A Letter from Maurice Stobbart
Bill's Booklets
 
14/05/2017
A Mystery Solved
The Voice - Issue 65
Your Feedback
 
01/05/2017
Dave Collins
The Mystery Rider from 1948
Your Feedback
 
23/04/2017
Bill's Pictures
Toronto Board Track
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
16/04/2017
Melbourne in the 1950's
The History of Sim Speedway
Your Feedback
 
26/03/2017
All About You: Mike Redfern
Bill's Posters
RIP Plough Lane
Your Feedback
 
12/03/2017
NZ World Team Cup 1986 +
Glasgow Speedway Posters
Your Feedback
 
05/03/2017
Almaty Ice Speedway
NZ World Team Cup 1985
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
26/02/2017
Dream Team: David Pickles
NZ World Team Cup 1984
Your Feedback
 
19/02/2017
Dream Team: Martin Wilkins
NZ World Team Cup 1983
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
05/02/2017
Video: Berrington 2000
NZ World Team Cup 1982
Your Feedback
 
29/01/2017
Vic Ridgeon
NZ World Team Cup 1981
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
22/01/2017
Jim Ryman Crash at Boston
NZ World Team Cup 1980
Your Feedback
 
15/01/2017
NZ World Team Cup 1979
Skid Kids
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
05/01/2017
Otto Holoubek
NZ World Team Cup 1978
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 


A sport of speed and exhilaration....by David Hensby
17/03/2006

Ryan Sullivan

Over the years of speedway racing right from its inception, it has caused a thrill inside spectators. Many different feelings are felt whilst watching a speedway race, butterflies, sweating, dry mouth, shaking, goose bumps etc.... similar to those when you get when you see your first love!

Love, of course is what drives humans and passion gives the thrills that we feel. Speedway racing is one of the few sports that uses all our five senses to complete our experience and also leaves us wanting more!

Over the 30+ years I have been watching speedway, I still to this day get goose bumps and butterflies when I hear and smell that distinctive smell of the Castrol R and Methanol mix. My love for the sport only grows bigger, and the envy and awe that I feel watching the top-performers riding right on the limit is without question, a real high!

Speedway has also changed over this time, the main things that reflect in the sport is the bike design. The engines now 'laydown' and the front forks allow better and smoother control. Engine size and capacity hasn't really differed, but the tuning and technology that now is available provides us with amazing increases of speed. Take for instance the lap record at the Wimborne Road track in Poole, was in late 70's - 67.2 secs, now it stands at 57.06secs - set by Ryan Sullivan in 2004! The track size is the same; the surface is basically the same, so how can a speedway bike go so much faster?

Some questions that come to mind:

  • Has the rider's skill level increased over time?
  • Is their attitude different today, with the higher pace of life we now live? Is this reflective upon their on-track performance?
  • How much has technology really pushed the riders?

    With this vast increase in speeds, how much has safety been increased to keep up with it? We still see many injuries that are either very serious or have taken a life, but these are becoming a lot rarer in the world of speedway. It is still a risk though, that every rider who straps on the steel shoe takes and knows, each time they enter the track!

    The elimination of concrete walls, wire fences and trackside overhanging lighting, has seriously reduced some hard spectacular crashes from a rider being carried off in an ambulance, to getting up and shaking it off! The introduction of air fences has dramatically assisted in this advancement. You will witness many a rider going flat out head-first into the air fence and walk away basically unscathed. An amazing invention that should I feel be mandatory at all speedway events!

    So, where do we see speedway going from here?

  • A sport that is growing in popularity worldwide is now producing many new countries, with new stars.
  • Technology is taking it to new levels that will lead to maybe new fuel types, engine materials etc.
  • Riders taking more risks with the added confidence in the safety measures in place.

    These all provide us with some issues surrounding the actual sport, but what about the tracks, promoters, local council rules - that's another story!

     

    This article was first published on 17th March 2006


     

  • Dudley Jones:

    "I have just read David Hensby's interesting article. I have been watching speedway for more than 40 years and I think that there is one aspect that he has missed - quality of racing. This depends very much on the track, Kings Lynn, Ipswich and Somerset are examples of good ones. However, the modern bikes may be faster, but does that make better racing? I first became aware, at the Golden Greats meeting at Coventry in 1988, that modern bikes did not mean better racing. In terms of entertainment, the riders of the 60's and 70's were much better racers. The meeting also contained then modern Division 2 racers, who tended to go wider and full throttle, but lacked the shoulder to shoulder stuff which kept me going back to the terraces at Norwich, Rayleigh and Ipswich. Ove Fundin, in his new biography, makes the point very clearly. I believe that we should take a tip from F1, and ensure that the bikes are the optimum racing machines, not the optimum speed machines. "

    [ Use Mobile Version ]
     

     

    Comment on this Article | Contact Us | Go Back to Main Menu

  •    Please leave your comments on this article or on the site as a whole