"Ian Davey has a good stab at what hundreds of others before him have also done - tried to state what has gone wrong with British speedway. And no doubt, those hundreds before him had just as many different opinions, and I count myself amongst all of that, on various fourms and publications over the years. He certainly has a point that, compared to F1, no-one central body seems to be in charge of the sport, which probably hasn't helped. There's always comparisons with other sports, but this can sometimes be divisive.
Given the cost of living crisis, speedway is not value for money, with around 20mins worth of actual action, at best. I've been to Stock Car meetings which give you far more for your buck. Millions (and I don't think I'm exaggerating here) of people in the UK don't even know what speedway is! I await Part 2 with interest, and although we should never say never... It's dead, but it won't lie down."
"Ian, This is a well written and very fair facual summary, so much better than many that are just keen to bash and blame promoters. I will look forward to the second article and hopefully some practical discussion on the future."
"An excellent article from Ian, and one that older fans especially, will echo. Its almost impossible to pinpoint when the rot set in, and looking back its almost impossible to believe that over 92,000 fans packed into Wembley in 1981 for what was to be the last ever World Final there, and yet 5 years later attendances at some tracks had collapsed.
John Berry once told me that his plans to revamp the sport would have worked, whether they would or not is open to debate and I never got the full story, but I think promoters made a huge mistake in 1986 by voting not to at least put him at the head of it. His vast experience could only have done good.
Since those days of course we've had machinery changes, start rules change and quite frankly interminable delays between races all combine to ruin speedway as the spectacle it once was. Of course old romantics such as myself look through rose-tinted glasses as far as the quality of racing is concerned, but I well remember tramping home from West Ham and Hackney some weeks disappointed with the fare on offer, only to return the following week to witness a corking meeting. The product hasn't basically changed since 1928 and to me is still the best sport by far on the planet, but it needs somehow to attract the youngsters and that I'm afraid will be very difficult with the plethora of alternatives on offer as Ian has rightly pointed out.
We have been betrayed in reality by the media who no longer publish the results, and TV companies in particular. The BBC has always made a point of ignoring us, begrudgingly showing highlights of The Internationale in the 1970's but very little else, and ITV really haven't been much better. Sky should hang their heads in shame for not just abandoning us but not even featuring us on their sports news channel any more either. I think the best we can hope for is that current interest and attendances are maintained for the foreseeable future."
"The decline of speedway! Yes , a very sad state of affairs and I look forward to reading Ian's suggestions on what he thinks needs to be done to hopefully get back to something like the glory days. I have posted many comments on this website over the years.
Most sports and businesses reinvent themselves to generate interest to a younger generation. Instances being the 'locals' pub has disspeared and have now become 'Kitchen and Bar', Vehicles are switching to electric, Cricket brought in the 1 day game, Rugby changed the name of teams and have mascots and in some cases cheerleaders, Rugby along with Football has started promoting Ladies teams with television channels willing to broadcast games. British Speedway has not adapted, they brought in play-offs as the Americans do, but even that now is a joke as you have 6 teams in the Premiership (name adopted from football) and four go into play-offs.
The decline I feel is down to three basic facts, speedway has always penalised teams that are good (originally a gate handicapping of top riders, rider control and then team averages) the only team sport I can think of that does this. Promoters never promoted the sport, they relied on papers reporting events and thirdly they never had the foresight to purchase or build stadiums, always renting them.
It's hard to know now how to improve the situation, promoters have never listened to the supporters, they've always been concerned about their own business interests and not as the sport as a whole. The only thing I can think of to improve their lot is to try and sell the sport to television companies or to start a 'British' Speedway channel that people can subscribe to, so you can live pause and record. Of course you need to improve your product which means no limits on teams strengths, you simply run on what you can afford.
My situation is at the moment I have no means to stream and I can't get to see any live speedway although I do subscribe to Premier sports to watch Swedish and Danish Speedway . I look forward to Ian's ideas on how to save our beloved sport. "
"I agree with your comments and wish speedway could provide fans with a meeting each week like we used to have, this is why crowds are down once a month is just not good enough to keep people coming back. I think the promoters need to find a group of ex-riders and supporters to decide on a new rule book and the promoters to rigidly stick to it"