With most of the Uk basking in some very welcome late March sunshine, the British Speedway season was on the cusp of starting when the Board of Directors met on the 17th March for their regular meeting and made the correct decision to suspend all Speedway meetings until at least the 15th April due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis.
The news was understandably frustrating for not just fans of the sport, but riders and promoters alike.
Poole Pirates were looking forward to commencing the new season in the second tier of British Speedway- The Championship. Co-Promoter Danny Ford explained. “Obviously we were really excited to getting the season kicked off, but unfortunately the virus has put a delay on the season. It’s disappointing, but ultimately health and safety is the most important thing”.
Ford added that the sport needs the income but accepts that people’s life’s are more important. “With Speedway in particular we need the crowds which is the lifeblood of the sport, so the decision wasn’t taken lightly I’m sure, but ultimately I do feel it is the right one, as when you look at all the other sporting events they have had to be cancelled along with mass gatherings that have had to be cancelled, it does seem to be the right move.”
Danny mentioned that Poole are doing everything that they can to support the riders. “We actually went for a bit of team building in France just over a week ago which was well timed considering what is going on over there, and it was great to get the whole team together ahead of the season. We’ve been in constant contact with the whole team just making sure that they are all clued up. We’ve also got some Aussies in the team, and they have given up a lot to come over here by putting their life on pause to come over here and follow their dream, and I do really feel for those guys. We have been in constant contact with them and have supported them in every way that we can.”
Ford was unsure about a quick resumption. “At the minute it’s very hard to say. It’s a month delay as we were meant to start on the 15th March. That is something we can probably work with; it is quite easy to work around that. I think we would only miss out on three home fixtures during that time including the Neil Middleditch testimonial meeting, so that wouldn’t be an absolute disaster, but we obviously need to assess things as they go and I am sure we will have a clearer picture as the day comes along”.
It’s really hard to speculate because nobody really knows what is going to happen. If the delay is pushed back even further then some fixtures may have to be cancelled, but it’s impossible to say at the minute as we really don’t know how long this is going to last. Hopefully it is sooner rather than later.”