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Track Talk: Weather hits start of the season hard

By Nigel Pearson | Speedway | Published:

There’s not much Chris Van Straaten hasn’t experienced during his time in charge of speedway clubs.

Bad weather has disrupted the start of the season

And yet the Wolverhampton owner has admitted the weather which has wiped out the start of his season has dragged him down.

Parrys International Wolves finally get to launch their 2018 Premiership campaign at home to Rye House on Monday with the weather set to improve this week.

And Van Straaten, who has been at Monmore more than 30 years, is leading calls for research into new tyres to adapt to wet conditions.

“We have to look at the climate and perhaps accept this is the way things are changing,” he said. “Most of British Speedway has shut down over the last two or three weeks.

“We haven’t staged a meeting and across at Birmingham they’ve lost their last two to the weather.

“I think the tyres are something we have to look into because they are not as good as the old ones.

“We need to look into the possibility of making tyres which can be used more in wet conditions.

“Back in the day at Cradley I used to marvel at the skills of Bruce Penhall and how he used to twist and turn the bike – he was brilliant to watch.

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“But on the modern day tyre, if Bruce was riding them, even he would struggle to ride the bike like he did then.

“The weather is something we cannot control and if we start to accept this is the way the British weather is going to be at the start of a season then we need to do something.

“Having said that, we are all pinning our hopes on the old theory that after a bad winter and start to the season we are going to have an Indian summer! Let’s hope so!”

Monday’s meeting promises much with British icons Scott Nicholls and Chris Harris fronting the Rockets’ challenge.

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Both riders always revel in the Monmore conditions and are sure to be a major threat on opening night.

Meanwhile, there’s a big night across at Perry Barr on Wednesday when the Brummies host the British Under 21 semi-final.

Wolves man Nathan Greaves is one of the pre-meeting favourites to win the event and qualify for the final at Berwick on May 1.

And there’s plenty of Cradley interest with current Heathens duo Kyle Bickley and Bradley Andrews in the field and Greaves won the league with the club in two successive seasons.

It’s a quality field and I’m delighted to see David and Peter Mason handed such a plum event after missing out on the final itself because it needs to be on a Tuesday when they can’t race at Perry Barr.

With so much speedway missed already, it’s a good chance for Wolves and Heathens fans to get along and enjoy some good, competitive racing.

Children under 16 will be admitted free and general admission has been set at £12 adults and £11 for concessions and students which is great value.

As this is a national event, Birmingham Speedway season tickets will not be valid.

Nigel Pearson

By Nigel Pearson
Columnist - @nigelpearson

Sports broadcaster/writer specialising in Football, Darts and Speedway for Sky Sports, IMG, BT Sport and talkSPORT.

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