March 15 2014 Latest news:
Friday, June 15, 2012
I know you can’t control the weather, but more really needs to be done to prevent these rain-offs, especially in England.
I’ve had one meeting called off so far in Poland, two in Sweden, three in Denmark, but six in England. It’s incredible. I’m only 28, but I’ve never known anything like it.
You get your travelling costs covered in Sweden and Poland if you arrive and it gets called off, but you don’t in England, which makes postponements for King’s Lynn even worse.
You pay your money to travel across Europe to get to the UK and you don’t get any money when you get here. It’s happened six times now and it’s a nightmare.
It’s like turning up to work and someone saying, ‘sorry, we have no electricity in the office, you’re going to have to go home and you won’t get paid’. No wonder we’re all downbeat.
There’s been more rain-offs in England than anywhere else and I believe it’s because clubs do not have the right machinery or equipment. Buster (Chapman) has, but if it’s too wet he still can’t use it.
I just don’t understand why teams, in a country where it rains more than most, haven’t invested in track covers. They might cost about £2,000, but if they help get just one meeting on that wouldn’t have been, they’ll cover that outlay.
So many times I’ve driven like 3,000 miles across Sweden, it’s been steaming down with rain, and I’ve thought there’s no chance the meeting will be on. Yet you get to the track, the covers come off, the tractors go on, and we’re ready to go.
Safety must come first and if a meeting needs to be called off then so be it. But we need to be more determined to get them on. It’s as if the sport’s stuck in the past. It rains and people just accept that meetings will be called off.
But all it takes is four people 10 minutes to cover the track, like you see in cricket and tennis, and we could be racing more.
You can’t put a price on how important it is for the club and the riders, financially, to get these matches on. I’ve lost about £4,000 this season in expected income already.
I’ll get that money back soon, but not all of it. Fixtures will start to clash in different countries so we’ll be forced to miss meetings. And we’ll be the bad guys because we’ll have to say no to one of our clubs.
That affects our income. We race and score points for a living. Speedway is our job. It’s just been so frustrating because while the rain keeps falling a rider’s money just dries up.
• Read Mads’ exclusive column first every week on Thursdays in the EDP’s Lynn Free Press pull-out.
• Follow Mads on Twitter, or read his previous columns, by clicking on the links on the right-hand side of this page.