Dick Barrie's picture


The great thing about being handed a blog to produce is that one can pontificate.

Of course, a wise pontificator well knows that he or she – in my case he – cannot solve the problems of the world by mere words.

To solve problems – in life, in love, in speedway – one has to act. Boldly.

Today, with my salad days wilted and far behind me, action has to be left to others and us old farts are left to pontificate about how much better it might all be -- if we had any energies left to do something about it all……

As I prepare this weblog, tapping away at my keyboard as Aeschines of Sphettus (one of Aristotle’s best mates) might have done if he had owned a lap-top, I can pontificate my backside off, purporting to be distilling the wisdom of a lifetime’s experience – but inwardly I’m just fretting about what’s going on in our world, and my impotence to nowadays wreak change.

I’m writing this stuff four days before the first round of the World Team Cup, set for Saturday night at King’s Lynn.

There are four teams involved, but the two I have to concentrate on are Great Britain and Australia.

There are around 250 registered speedway riders in Britain. According to Motorcycling Australia, they have less than eighty. Which is about right, as our total population is 65 million, Australia’s just 24 million.

Britain stages about 750 professional speedway meetings in a year. In Australia they hold less than thirty!

How is it the Aussies, from a country with a total population about a third of the UK and with maybe only five regular speedway stadiums, are going to whup Team GB’s collective butts on Saturday night?

How is it that several riders who can’t even squeeze into the Australian quintet – think Brady Kurtz, Sam Masters or Jack Holder – could and would each waltz straight into the British team, had they been born in old Wales (say in Port Talbot) rather than New South Wales?

How is it we cannot make these numbers work in our favour?

At the very top, we do all right. Britain has won the individual world championship eleven times -- twice by a man from Port Talbot -- to Australia’s eight (and Poland’s miserable two!) but when we look for strength in depth, and try to organise a four- or five-man team for this Saturday, we’re coming up ‘way, ‘way short.

So, as I pontificate away posing such questions I have to turn my old cataract-riddled eyes to the future, looking desperately for whoever is going to come along and act.

Act in the revitalisation of speedway on this small island.


Want to disagree with Dick (as many do?). He will always be happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk