Inside Track 2014: World number three Niels-Kristian Iversen’s weekly look inside the Norfolk Arena
17:14 18 April 2014
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So many riders can’t be bothered to compete in Britain now due to the poor state and preparation of most of the tracks.
People give plenty of reasons why the top guys don’t compete over here but the rubbish conditions to race on is one of the main ones. I think all of the teams are trying to be really professional but plenty just don’t seem to really bother about their circuits. They don’t seem to be keen to spend any money, or time, on making them good to race on.
There’s only a few clubs that do and that’s a big shame for speedway and its fans and riders. A poor track takes some of the fun out of it for us guys who do speedway because we enjoy it.
We rode at Coventry on Friday. Brandon’s got a brilliant shape and through the years it’s been well prepared and produced good racing. But when we turned up last week it looked like it had hardly been worked on at all. I could have done a better job in the hour that I was there before I got changed.
Speedway’s meant to be a spectacle but is it any wonder crowds are going down? It just needed a sprinkle of water, but it was left bone dry and it was like concrete off the gate.
Everybody turns up with brilliant equipment and wants to be professional but tracks like that just aren’t suitable for those that ride it. That’s a bit of a joke if you ask me.
During the meeting you just didn’t know what your bike would be doing when you dropped the clutch. There was no consistency. I know it wasn’t full of holes and ruts but that still makes for a dangerous surface. I shouldn’t complain too much as I only dropped two points but it wasn’t good for racing. It was just too slick.
It’s a joke and it’s not good for the riders, especially Coventry’s. Their team is full of racers. Chris Harris and Ryan Fisher need to have some dirt to work with. They’re not known for being the best gaters so they need to have the track prepared to suit them. It should benefit the home team – and racers. After all, our sport is meant to be about entertainment.
What really annoys me is people talk about health and safety but when the surface is a pile of rubbish, it’s the tracks that cause accidents. We have to pay all this money for safer kevlars, and there are air fences at circuits. Yet people keep on blaming things like silencers for crashes. But it’s nothing to do with them. It’s the rubbish state of the tracks.
It’s not good enough in general across Britain. I’m pretty sure the clubs with bad tracks know who they are. Money does come into it, but you have to put money in to get results out. I want good equipment so I put the finances in and get something back. Now it’s time for more to be invested in sorting tracks out.
‘UK should look abroad to get better’
At King’s Lynn we are all asked about the track before a meeting and Buster (Chapman) takes that into his preparation.
We know every week that we are going to have a brilliant surface to race on and that’s what you need as a rider. And that’s because of Buster’s tireless work. He puts the hours into his track preparation, he knows what he’s doing, and he’s got the equipment. But that same machinery is at other tracks mind. Clubs are just focused on other things.
Buster has stock car racing and other events at the Norfolk Arena and he still manages to get the same type of track and racing conditions each meeting. That doesn’t happen just by chance. He is prepared to put time and money into the circuit where other promoters are not keen to invest in their own equipment and shale. That’s why you get some good racing at some tracks and not others. It’s why some people come and watch speedway at certain stadiums and then don’t come back.
It’s not the same across Europe though. Sweden and Poland are head and shoulders above Britain when it comes to track preparation – if you take Lynn and Wolverhampton out of the equation. I’ll give you an example of how things are better in Sweden. You can arrive at a track and it’s rained the whole time you’ve been driving there. With one hour to go, they bring the track equipment out, they blade the circuit, take off all the slop, sprinkle on some new material and it’s good to go. That would never happen in England. The meeting would just be rained-off.
In Britain those that prepare tracks, in general, need to watch and learn from what they do in those two countries to improve.
- Niels-Kristian Iversen was talking to Gavin Caney.
* To read Niels’ exclusive weekly column first, and in print, buy Wednesday’s paper. Visit www.edp24.co.uk/sport/kings-lynn-stars for an archive of Iversen’s articles.