I have been trying to get the video and photos of the US Open weekend into some sort of order to post here and in other spots and so I really haven’t written up the reports. So while you (all 3 of you who read this blog) wait for me to get the stuff up, here’s a picture of the winners rostrum from the Open. From left to right : Josh Larsen (runner-up) ; Tommy Hedden (winner) ; Adam Mittl (third place). I know that the gentleman with the trophy is a famous NY speedway rider of yesteryear – but I don’t have his name written in front of me – so as soon as I get it, we can edit this post and make it look like I knew all along.
As I wandered through the crowd it’s noticeable from the snippets of conversations I overhear and from the ‘dress uniform’ of Harley t-shirts and leathers, that a lot of the fan base are what are called ‘Gear Heads’. A lot of spectators here are into the bikes. I have followed the sport for 36 years and I still couldn’t name most of the parts of the engine but it’s obvious that the fans here know their stuff. When I stood on the terraces at
Kings Lynn Speedway, pits corner
Saddlebow Road, next to the same fans week in week out, the butcher from Downham Market, the bloke that worked at Curry’s TV in Lynn, I don’t recall ever having a conversation that included in depth conjecture of gear ratios. Continue reading
The pits area is getting crowded and it’s time for the non-rider/’hangers on’ to move out. So I take a wander over to the track shop, come burger bar. There is a willing crowd of potential buyers of t-shirts (because that’s pretty much all there is) but the ladies in the shop are asking everyone to come back as their stock is completely messed up and they need time to get the numerous t-shirt designs sorted into like piles of design and size. Local hero Adam ‘the rocket’ Mittl has his own line of clothing in the shop that’s selling well, but most people are looking for the Shawn McConnell ‘American Outlaw’ t-shirts. Continue reading
From 1973 through to 1989 I watched speedway in the UK. I had two home tracks between 73 and 78, Kings Lynn during school holidays and Ellesmere Port during term time. From 1978 when I moved to London, I was a regular at Wimbledon and Hackney and spent what few £’s I had going to watch Kings Lynn when they raced at Reading or Leicester or somewhere where the British Rail timetable would let me see a meeting and still get a train back to London. Continue reading
North American Speedway is all about the cult of personality and I don’t mean this in a negative sense. British speedway fans down the years have always remarked about the friendliness, openess and all around ‘good-guy’ nature of american riders who come across the pond to make a living. Well there are a few reasons for this but here’s what I believe to be the two most important factors; Americans in general are exceptionally friendly people, despite what we think about their behaviour overseas right now (and who is their major ally anyway?); American speedway riders have to rely on themselves, their own personality, charm (and abilities) to get them the support and sponsorship that enables them to ride in what is essentially a glorified hobby. Continue reading