It’s edging ever closer isn’t it? It’s almost that time of the year where the bikes roar again and the methanol fumes fill your lungs, now all we need is for this cold weather to get a shift on and we will be ready to rock and roll!
There hasn’t been a great deal in the news since the last time I wrote on her but the main big news, at least in my opinion is that for the next two years, at least, there will be Live Speedway on BT Sport throughout the season.
Now in my opinion this is great news as it means we will see British Premiership action as well as the Grand Prix and the new Speedway of Nations events all live and on one platform, meaning better value for money for the subscribers and fans.
Now as always in this day and age, you can’t please everyone and some folks had plenty to say, arguing that Freeview would have been a better option, as it would be available to a wider audience and while that may be true to a certain degree, would the coverage be as good? Would other channels take it seriously like BT Sport has done? I’m not so sure.
I feel BT Sport did a great job last season after coming in late with a deal to broadcast British League meetings last season and in 2018 they can only build and improve on that into 2019 and hopefully beyond. I feel it is vital to the survival of our sport that a TV deal allowing nationwide exposure is in place year on year.
The other news in the headlines over the last week or so is that the BSPA are in talks to hand over the rights to the Team GB and allowing them to be franchised. With BSPA funding limited, it is hoped that this would allow more funding which in turn should allow us to compete as a nation on the world stage.
While the full details at this point remain a little vague, the idea would be to run more international training camps, something that hasn’t been done since 2016, and presumably test matches abroad giving the British riders much needed experience on the international circuits.
With Speedway riders becoming more focused on the fitness and nutrition side of things in recent years, I would imagine that the current relationship with personal trainers and such like would also continue under this set up.
While it still remains to be seen what happens next, surely this sort of change in direction would in turn be a step in the right direction, as it has proved many times in the past that we can be ultra competitive on home soil, but travel sickness sets in on the international circuits, often proving to be our undoing.
One last thing I do want to touch on is the Speedway of Nations Tournament I mentioned before, which replaces the World Cup for this season. Essentially an international pairs event, the concept is one I find very interesting.
While the World Cup was generally terrific racing, the outcome was often fairly predictable as to whom the winners would be, and lesser nations tended to struggle, however in a pairs event, the competition is blown wide open.
Suddenly teams like Latvia and Russia, who are probably a rider or two light to compete in a team tournament, but have the firepower to pull off a victory in a Pairs event with riders like Andrej Lebedev capable of beating anyone on their day. Riders such as Emil Sayfutdinov and Artem Laguta need little introduction too.
With teams like Finland and Italy also set to feature in the competition, we may well see a surprise packet make an emergence on the scene like we saw at the World Cup last season. The team selections will also prove to be interesting, with teams like Poland having an abundance of World class riders at their disposal.
Then of course there is the question of Tai Woffinden and Team GB, should he decide to have a change of heart and don the Union Jack once more, then Team GB may well be in with a shout of causing an upset in the tournament, but that also remains to be seen!
The only thing that’s for sure, is that nothing is for sure!
Now, let’s go racing!
Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman, have an idea for a feature, or you simply want to chew the fat over all things speedway, you can email me Mythman666@hotmail.com. If your compliments, or indeed gripes can be contained to just 280 characters. You can send me a tweet @Mythman666.
Until next time...and there will be a next time.
Right I’ll hae’tae gan