Mark Dell pays tribute to Kelvin Mullarkey, the legendary Rye House Rocket who passed away recently.
"He was a character, a great competitor, a fantastic captain for the Rockets and at times a controversial opponent."
Many congratulations to Speedway Plus contributor Peter Colvin for his starring role on the BBC's Eggheads programme this week. Peter single-handedly defeated the quiz experts in the final showdown, winning the £7,000 prize pot for him and his fellow Glasgow Tigers fans. Even better news is that the team have generously gifted £2,000 of their winnings to the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund. Well done to all involved.
"Firstly can I say how pleased I am that we have a book on my good friend Bill's life. There are however several "howlers" I've spotted already & that's just in the previews! It's a pity that Carole, Graham, Andy or Bills brother Bob did not read the copy prior to it's publication. So please don't take it as fact because that what it says it in the book!"
"I was in Sydney when I heard the news that Mal Carmichael had died. I met him in Townsville when he was doing the speedway circuit with Peter Bradshaw. I was only 17. We had a relationship and I followed him to Melbourne. I was smitten, oh the memories. Still think of him after all this time. RIP Mal."
"Difficult early years, then they changed the track and widened the corners. Great racing with George Hunter, Neill Collins, Davey Trownson and visitors like Bruce Cribb. Wonderful to remember Carlo Biagi's testimonial with the Collins bros and Tony Briggs. Not quite Old Meadowbank but near it! "
"I am amazed at the lack of foresight by speedway administrators that has allowed the sport to decline to the stage where it has no public appeal particularly to the younger generation who are so critical to speedway, as we know it, long term survival.
To be at the stage where we cant get a few hundred extra to keep Rye House going where as the sport used to fill Wembley is unbelievable, Most races are processional with no passing or change of position and you can write the result in your program before the start of the race or at the latest after the first corner. Consequently there is no spectacle or excitement compared to the days of the upright engines when bikes were harder to ride and we had contrasting foot forward and leg trailing styles.
To survive spectacle, uncertainty and excitement must be re introduced into the sport and there is only one way to do this handicap racing.
Having spoken briefly to Keith Chapman at a Polish GP event a couple of years ago it is obvious that for some unknown reason the sports administration are totally opposed to handicap style racing and content to let a great sport continue to slide into history without making the radical changes necessary to save it. "
Milton Keynes rider James Jessop share his thoughts on the past, present and future.
A request from Jim Henry [ Jamesjhenry@yahoo.co.uk ]:
"Has anyone the early edition of Speedway News which, if my memory serves me correctly, carried a photo of one of the UK royal princes. Was it the future King George VI then known as Prince Bertie? King Alphonso of Spain was reputedly a fan of the pioneer racesrs. By the way the only enobled dirt track rider was Lord Craigton! As Jack Nixon-Browne he had promoted and raced at Carntyne, Glasgow in 1928. He later became a Tory MP and continued in politics in the Lords."
"This idea has some merit. It would most certainly make the crowd feel involved but could also turn the meeting into a sort of Pantomime with the heroes and villains paraded in front of everyone. Would it also be fair for the top points scorer to find all of a sudden their hard nights work is rewarded with the worst gate? Also you could guarantee which ever country is staging the meeting the odds would be stacked for their riders should they make the semis/finals. Great thinking outside the box though Tracy, keep it up. "
"It seems I'm always replying to Dave Pickles observations. I think the reason is we're of the same sort of age and have always been passionate about speedway. I was going to Rye on Wednesday to see Belle Vue but decided against it. I don't think the fixed race night is the reason for the decline in spectators. A fixed Wednesday race night should have freed up more foreign riders but then they allowed Swindon to be exempt and also limited teams to one 8 point rider.
You have no continuality, having to wait 3 weeks for another home meeting then not knowing how many of your or the opponents team are available. This is the reason people are not going. I've got used to not going speedway and the reasons I didn't bother that Wednesday are the track produces poor racing, and Rye were missing 2 riders who's doubling down Championship teams had priority over their services.
Saturday nights I spend down the pub with my mates reminiscing about the good old days of speedway, not about looking forward to the next meeting. Like most sports you'll always have your diehards who'll go week in week out no matter what but unfortunately in speedway they're not being replaced by new supporters.
British speedway needs to realise sport is about competition where the strongest not only survive but prosper. On a ironic note I hear there's talk about a new northern track opening at the same time there's talk of Buxton closing through lack of riders. Perhaps trebling or quadrupling up or mechanics and promoters races to make up the teams. Perhaps even betting, and although betting on the final score might be illegal you could bet on the number of guests your team will have.
Lastly RIP Kelvin Mullarkey, unfortunately characters like him political correctness doesn't allow, with perhaps Nicki Pedersen being the exception. Perhaps that's what's missing, characters. "
"Hello from California, I'm former 2nd Divsion speedway rider, I competed here in southern and central California in the late 70's to the mid eighties and speedway here in California is in pretty dismal shape compared to its heyday back when I was riding and we were sending our best to compete in the British league we still had lots of riders here putting on a pretty good show. I sure hope you all over there in Britain can overcome your issues and bring speedway back to its former glory that the British League has always been in my eyes the epicenter of speedway. The tape rule here in California has been you are excluded if you break the tapes. "
"Hi Terena. Joe Screen was number 17 and Roman Matousek 18. So in the event of a reprieve on the day, Screen was next in line. Per Jonsson had qualified for the meeting but his career had come to an end by injury. From the Nordic Final, Claus Jacobsen had qualified for the Prague Semi as reserve. But he got to take Jonsson's place at Bradford. So had Nagy pulled out a week before, maybe Matousek would indeed have been his replacement. But on the day, Screen at 17 would have lined up. "
"Robert Nagy qualified for the 1994 Inter Continental Final via a different round to the Overseas Final which Joe Screen failed to progress from. So surely had Nagy dropped out before the meeting started, should it not have been the reserve from Nagy's meeting taking his place?"
"Re: Handicapping.. Being a similar age to Dave Pickles we've probably both 'read the book, worn the t-shirt and seen the film' as the saying goes. Handicapping would be a backward step as is with the reverting to the old tactical substitute rule of replacing a rider off form with a better rider.
Every year they muck around with the rules to try and make all teams equal in stregnth in the belief closer matches are going to get these mythical non speedway supporters to start following speedway. Sport is about competition to see whose the best, not to penalise good teams to give everybody an equal chance of winning (Speedway Nations a good example, Poland usually winning the World Cup so lets reduce it to two man teams, thus giving other nations a better chance of winning).
If speedway needs to take a backward step, then go back to 1968, have two leagues, no track sharing, no doubling up, no maximum team averages, riders on contract and loaned out if surplus. That way you could have a workable promotion and relegation where teams are formed on what the promotions can afford."
"Missed the really good Leicester teams but what a great racing tack - really difficult to emulate. Spent a season watching a late Arriving Johnny Boulger, Gary Middleton and the fantastic Ila Teromma (unbelievable at the Riders Championnship at Belle Vue) try to cope with top flight opposition. Fantastic track!,,,"
"Just been in touch with Nathan Murray who was selected to ride and appears in the programme at number 6. Sadly, he was unable to travel due to a lack of funds. So adding to the scorechart; NATHAN MURRAY Q ns."
"John Boyd summed up lack of media attention to British speedway perfectly, it's run by amateurs. Too many leagues with not enough riders, track sharing, doubling up, team averages restricting team strengths. Sport is about competition, speedway is the only team sport that penalises teams that are successful, no wonder media doesn't take notice. The latest is the revamped World Cup, two riders per team, the minimum number of people you can call a team. A great sport being run down by the people that run it. "
"Absolutely right, why did the BBC not comment on the passing of a Motorsport legend? It's shameful of the media to not cover it, just another indication of how speedway is on the media list. If a back room sport like darts can make headlines and attract massive coverage then we need to speak to the people behind the rise in public interest in darts and talk to them about changing speedway's fortunes."
"Perhaps the (two?) exceptions that prove the prevailing rule, actually, Ivan's passing was marked by a full-page obituary in The Guardian, Thursday 19th April, and is available to view on the newspaper's website. The Telegraph also published an obituary which is available online too, though access is subject to a pay-wall."
"David I think you expect to much. Speedway fans which I class my self as, know how good Ivan was. To the press etc he was just a rider. You are right about Lewis Hamilton. But there again Formula 1 get millions of viewers. That is all the TV and media want. Wouldn't it be great to get the results on the news, we need more publicity to push our sport forward.Good for you on getting on t o BBC and ITV."
"Although it's been many years since I have regularly read a daily paper, I believe from posts on Facebook, that at least one of the broadsheets (I believe it was the Daily Telegraph, no less) featured a fairly extensive article as an obituary to Ivan, as well as some of the so-called the red-tops.It's just that they took a while to appear in print after the sad day of his passing....."
"Yes I remember Charlie Monk being almost unbeatable at White City apart from Silver Sash races. I also remember Bengt Jansson going over the 'hump' on the first bend and breaking his leg in 66? And Jim Airey? Takes me back- good times growing up and travelling on the underground from Hillend! "