COMMENT: Speedway season starts with a farce



First published in Sport Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

THE speedway season is up and running – well, after a fashion, and with a huge dollop of farce.

Last Sunday’s showpiece Elite League Riders’ Championship was called off at short notice when the track at Coventry was belatedly deemed ‘totally unacceptable’ for racing.

And then the opening Swindon Robins meeting at Blunsdon’s Abbey Stadium was cancelled on Thursday in equally bizarre circumstances.

Fans starved of action in the close season were warmly anticipating the visit of last year’s champions Poole Pirates for the Elite League Shield encounter only to hear that the meeting was called off in mid-morning due to an adverse weather forecast.

We have enjoyed a relatively dry spell in the last three weeks and locals in West Swindon on hearing this news may well have battened down the hatches in fear of a biblical deluge. It never materialised.

Would the Swindon fixture have been called off so prematurely had it been due to air on Sky Sports who help to bankroll the sport, I wonder?

As a spectator sport speedway takes some beating, as anyone who has been to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff for the British round of the world championship will testify.

But both club managements and the officials who run speedway are prone to making decisions which not only baffle the fan base but turn an already financially beleaguered sport into a laughing stock.

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