Witches could be part of revoltion

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches promoter John Louis today agreed that his club could be staging just one home Elite League meeting a fortnight next season.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches promoter John Louis today agreed that his club could be staging just one home Elite League meeting a fortnight next season.

This revolutionary move has been proposed by Poole Pirates supremo Matt Ford, who says it is the only way to keep top level speedway going in this country.

And if it was to be brought in it would transform the shale sport after over 50 years of regular weekly action at Foxhall Stadium.

You may also want to watch:

Ford, one of the country's top promoters for the past ten years, believes economic turmoil has hit speedway fans' pockets hard and that they cannot afford to attend every seven days.

Ipswich's attendances have held up well and after winning their last seven meetings to go top of the table the club is on a high.

Most Read

But Louis has some sympathy with Ford's plans. “If you asked me now how I would vote on running at home once a fortnight I would have to say that I don't know,” said Louis. “It would depend on a number of factors.

“But there are moves afoot to go down this route, and it is something we have to consider.

“At Foxhall we have an agreement with our landlords Spedeworth to stage a minimum number of meetings, and this would have to be looked at.

“Whether staging a Conference League home meeting every other week would be a success - I have my doubts.

“In my 40 years in the sport, British speedway has existed on a home every week basis. But times do change.”

Ford believes the Elite League must switch to the same successful formula as their Swedish and Polish counterparts.

His crowds have dropped worryingly, and the only way he can see speedway getting out of its slump is to stage alternate home and away weekly fixtures.

“Attendances would rise again, counteracting a halving of the league programme,” said Ford.

“I feel it's inevitable we're heading that way with Wednesday and Thursday night fixtures.

“Clearly the whole country is struggling at the moment. Everything is rising in price. Filling your car with petrol costs more and you're looking at a recent 25 per cent increase in food bills.

“Many of our supporters are struggling to afford to come on a weekly basis and next year there will have to be changes because running approximately 30 meetings is too many.

“Visiting fans are almost non existent in speedway now so you have to stay loyal to your home supporters. If people have a chance of seeing the same opposition four or five times a season, you won't achieve crowd levels you would wish for or need to sustain Elite League speedway.”

Ford, who brings his Poole side to Foxhall Stadium for a televised meeting next Monday feels his plan would help entice world stars who chose not to ride in England to come back.

“Those riders who just don't want to do 50 meetings a season but would be happy to do 20 to 25,” he said.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter