Track Talk: Speedway can and will rise to this challenge
Here we are, rapidly approaching June, and the speedway season should be in full swing after all the pre-season excitement and early meetings with big crowds.
We’d had the best build-up to a new season for years, positivity in abundance. The sport seemed to be in a healthy place before the rug was cruelly pulled.
The issue with things feeling so upbeat and working well while a season is under way is that there isn’t a second to take stock and look at how we can best capitalise on the positivity. By the end of the year we say ‘we should have done this when things were going so well’ and by then the moment has passed.
As awful as this present situation is, universally it is a moment paused, not passed. We were in great shape, and should be damned if we allow an enforced hiatus to knock us back to square one. In fairness, the current directors of the British Speedway Promoters Ltd (note the BSPA no longer exists) are proactive and will ensure we come out of this as best we can.
All any of us can do is put trust in that and I hope equal consideration is given to use what we already have in stock to maximise the impact of a triumphant pre-season. More directly, though, we have our own favourite clubs to think of.
Pretty much every club now, across all competitions, top to bottom, has a strong online presence. Those who don’t should be using this downtime to make one smartish. Clubs are – finally – pretty well represented on social media (though there are exceptions) with up-to the minute updates, competitions and replays of meetings. Wolverhampton are particularly impressive and they have been doing some great Q&A activities with their riders.
It’s not just up to the clubs to seize the opportunity to bolster their own platforms in the absence of the main one being out of bounds, it’s also the responsibility of supporters to help these platforms thrive.
The excuse of lacking time is out of the window, along with the fixture list, and if ever there was a unanimous need to support, in all the ways left, it is now. All of us who support speedway are in the business of predicting. We all want to show we have the knowledge and few things beat the glow of calling something right. We live in days, though, when guess work is so damaging on every level.
Going on whims or feelings has the potential to spread rumour and doom when we really need to be promoting positivity. Please don’t lose interest in your club and please don’t feel that everything is going to fall down.
Folk with better business sense than you or I will be rising to the challenges ahead as we speak, but as a movement we can stick with the sport and our clubs. Chris Van Straaten, at Wolverhampton, is an astute businessman, I know that from personal experience. Any opportunity you have to keep the sport afloat at this time should be taken. Merchandise, magazine subscriptions, programmes, social media sharing, liking and retweeting, whatever we can. It is time to truly show your support. Watch out for a new 2020 fortnightly programme for Wolverhampton coming soon.
I would like to thank Ian Boldsworth for his rally cry aimed at Rugby League fans in April’s Forty20 magazine – much of this column is inspired by his piece as I feel his sentiments are bang on the money for speedway.