George Dodds's picture

October, November, December gone; January progressing nicely; just February and a bit of March to go and it’ll soon be shorts and t-shirt on the popular side for the all-singing, all-dancing 2018 season.
In days of old this would be about the time that the first inkling of who would be riding where would start to trickle out in the speedway and local press.
Now any promoter who hasn’t named his septet within three days of the end of the previous season is derided on social media as a sloth that has missed the boat.
Modern speedway suggests that it is always wise to wait for the rules to be released before too many names are persuaded to put pen to paper.
History also suggests that the sport’s rules have more flexibility, are open to interpretation and just as likely to be ripped up as your average MPs definition of honesty and integrity.
On the face of it there has to be something wrong with a situation which sees Eddie Kennett and Scott Nichols prevented – at least at the time of writing – from riding in the Championship while – with no particular axe to grind – Chris Harris, Nick Morris and Mitchell Davey are able to ride in two or more divisions.
All this at a time when we are supposedly trying to recruit riders from the world of Moto-X despite the fact that a long list of British riders such as Joe Jacobs are retiring because they cannot find a team place.
The Premiership is gambling that racing on Monday and Wednesday nights will prove as popular with supporters as it apparently is with riders.
Of course the wishes of the riders are important and their desire to make a living out of a sport which can be so expensive and cruel when it goes wrong is understandable.
With some justification people will tell you that the sport is nothing without riders.
Alternatively without supporters speedway riders would be amateurs.
Many fans will tell you that a raft of guests, riders missing domestic meetings to ride all over Europe and huge gaps in the fixture lists to accommodate their trans-European racing are reasons behind the drop in attendances over recent years.
The problem with the close season is that there is too much time to consider what is wrong with the rules governing the sport we love.
At least when there is racing to watch you can pretend everything is hunky and dory.
Four riders a race, keep turning left, make sure the pies are warm and the beer (lager or cider) cold.
What could be simpler?
Roll on March.