Today is the biggest day in the speedway calendar in this country. this is because today see’s the speedway Grand Prix circus come to the town of Cardiff and the millenium arena. Close to an estimated 50’000 fans from all over the country will flock to the stadium to witness this event. And when I say from all over the country I mean all over the country. Fans from as far afield as edingburgh and Poole will flock to see there favourites and just maybe witness that rarest of things, a home rider on the top step of the podium.
Speedway is one of the most exciting motor sports you could hope to see, with more passes in one sixty second race than you can get in an entire two hour forumula one race. Four riders, gladiators really, doing battle on an oval track, on bikes that accelorate faster than an F1 car, sliding around the corners at high speeds with NO BRAKES.
And yet I call this a secret sport. (Actually I borrowed the phrase from my son.) How can this be? A lot of blame has been layed at the feet of the promoters of our great sport, saying that they don’t do enough to promote the sport. While I think that their is some truth in this I dont believe it to be the whole story and the promoters can only promote within their budget.
I support The Birmingham Brummies and in Alan Philips we have one of the best promoters that the sport has to offer. Over the past season he has paid for many different promotions and offers to attract more to this fantastic sport. He has had some success with this but not enough.
The bottom line is that without the support of the press, and in particular the local TV stations, this will continue to be a secret sport.
As I have mentioned, this week see’s the GP come to Great Britain. Chris Harris (a Birmingham rider) and Freddie Lindgren (a wolverhampton rider) will be riding. Yet if you were listening to Central news or Midlands today, you would not know about this. Not only that Tai Woffinden a British rider for Wolverhampton is sitting one point of the lead and won the last GP. Yet the local TV stations don’t see this as newsworthy. On top of that Tai, who is a great lad by the way, Started his cardiff preperation by cycling from Wolverhampton to Cardiff to raise money for cancer research. This being the disease that sadly overcome his father a few years back. If that is not newsworthy then I don’t know what is.
Mr Steve Clamp from Central new has been contacted previously about the lack of speedway coverage on his station and he has replied that no-one wants to see this sport covered. Well 50’000 fans in cardiff disagree with that.
I have a message for Mr Clamp. It is your job to make sure that all of panopoply of sports, regardless of your own prejudices’ are covered. In fact I am pretty sure that is something that is layed down by offcom. I understand that football is top dog. But this is the close season and there are so many other sports and fans of those sports out there. I note that even the national press this weekend has seen fit to report this event (and I dont mean just a few cursory lines they have produce full page spreads.)
Shame on you Mr Clamp.
Shame on you Central TV
Shame on you Midlands today.