"Years ago I did raking at Rye House plus I doubled up at Hackney whenever there was a shortage of track staff. You were not paid but did get free entry, a programme and at the interval a cup of tea. From what I remember the rules were 5 minutes from the start of one race until the start of the next which would include any track preparation that needed to take place with only a extra time given if a rider had two rides on the trot, starting gate malfunctions or fence repairs.
These days you have to wait for riders to go back to the pits after an unsatisfactory start, wait ages for any air fence repairs (old days you just put the kick board back).
For us olduns who cannot get to watch live speedway the solution is simple, get a sky or virgin box and subscribe to watch speedway, that way you can live pause or record and watch at a time to suit you. I've been informed that you cannot do that if you stream a match which means you are back to watching them take two hours to run a meeting.
These days I am quite happy to record the highlights of the British League matches (when they decide to show a league match) and Grand Prix's on Quest which ironically with the league matches, unless there's loads of re-runs or delays you get to see all 15 heats in an hour programme and I subscribe to Premier Sports to watch the Swedish (Tues &Thurs) and Danish (Wed) where even if there is a delay due to the weather they will still show all the match, even though you do tend to be watching the same riders in both leagues most of the times.
Interesting enough for those who don't follow the Danish league they have 5 riders in a 14 heat format which makes it a bit awkward if somebody gets injured.
Having moaned about all that Speedway is still a great sport. Perhaps they should take a leaf out of footballs pages and have a ladies speedway league, how many of us would watch that?"
"I suspect the demise of rakers was to save on staff costs & free entries. I raked at Powderhall many years ago and I do think that rakers can refresh a surface in.very short time working with one track grader. Rakers have to forget about filling programmes and get out as soon as the last bikes go past.
I do not think the multiple tractors etc move much dirt in towards the white line to be honest. Rakers are better on wet nights as they can get druse Shale on to the slick bits and shift any slop as needed. Might be worthwhile giving rakers a try again - you would only need two at each end if the flag marshals at each bend joined in."
"I think the enquirer answers his own question as Malcolm Craven was the only Craven who rode for West Ham and could have performed at this time. Details of the years the various Cravens rode can be found on The Speedway Researcher web site."
"I'm making a short film about motorcycle stunt riders and am looking to find out more about Bill Deegan's Hell Riders - especially their last years in the late 70s I believe. Does anyone know anyone who was with them, or can direct me to any descendants of Bill, or perhaps knows where I can find photos or videos from the shows? Thank you!"
"I cannot believe the dog track has closed. I have been working away for a long time, but I have come home now . I was talking to my grandsons and I told them we should go. So I checked it out and I could not believe it was not there anymore. I used to go three times a week for years, well it will save me a few quid ha ha"