Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Fast Track Thumbs Up (and other things)

ITEM: So we’re a month into the new season, and each Elite League club has raced at least four times. The pre-season predictions are largely coming true, with the hotly-tipped King’s Lynn and Poole blazing a trail at the top of the table, while unfancied Leicester and Birmingham occupy the bottom spots.

The new race format has been broadly welcomed, with only the quirk that sees the away number four wait until heat 5 for his first race, up against the home team’s top riders, coming in for any criticism. Hopefully that can be ironed out soon enough, maybe even in time for the B fixtures, and we can declare the experiment a success.

Of course, the biggest talking point has been the Fast Track Draft (FTD) reserves, and the effect their efforts are having on their teams’ fortunes. Nothing ever works perfectly first time out, but it’s been – to my mind, at least – an unqualified success thus far, the only issues a result of poor research and draft picks than any real fault with the system.

Most fans are realistic about the aims of the FTD. It was never designed to create twenty fully-formed Elite League riders, and going with so many after years of majority neglect of British riders by the two senior leagues was never going to produce an even spread of talent. The gulf between the likes of Kerr, Newman, and Garrity at the top end, and Clegg, Reade, and Ritchings at the bottom is bigger than you’d hope, but a necessary evil.

My own hope for this season is that five of the twenty make it into top fives next season. On 3.00 averages (or thereabouts, depending on how the BSPA decide they will transfer), there are already five or six who could make that step, and that’s without accounting for riders included in FTD positions who will mature as the season progresses.

For the rest, I’d hope that all bar a few are invited back, and the numbers made back up to twenty by riders who opted out of this season’s draft like Olly Greenwood, Josh Bates, and Liam Carr, as well as improving National League talents like Luke Crang and Nathan Greaves.

Although Leicester fans may disagree (and how ridiculous of them, by the way, to blame their team’s poor start on the new format and FTD reserves!), the FTD lads have added an extra dimension to the season, and those who follow me on Twitter may have noticed I’ve been keeping track of those FTD reserves who’ve claimed scalps from riders in opposing teams’ 1-5. That some of these 1-5ers are the type of rider that the draft is – in the long term – designed to make obsolete makes it all the sweeter. Here’s a list of those riders who’ve claimed 1-5 scalps so far:

6 - Lewis Kerr (Richard Lawson, Ryan Fisher, Claus Vissing, Jakob Thorsell, Adam Skornicki, and Daniel Nermark)
5- Adam Ellis (beat Nicolai Klindt, Nermark, Peter Ljung, Robert Lambert, and Nikolas Porsing)
3- Kyle Newman (Mikkel Michelsen and Kyle Howarth, twice), James Sarjeant (Simon Gustafsson, Nermark, and Simon Stead)
2 - Stefan Nielsen (Ljung and Thorsell), Tom Perry (Richie Worrall and Michael Palm Toft)
1 - Lewis Blackbird (Palm Toft), Benji Compton (Gustaffson), Jason Garrity (Klindt), Ben Morley (Skornicki), Ashley Morris (Lambert), Charles Wright (Gustafsson)

And to show things the other way, here’s the 1-5ers who’ve been beaten by FTD reserves:

3 – Simon Gustafsson (Benji Compton, James Sarjeant, & Charles Wright), Daniel Nermark (Lewis Kerr, Adam Ellis, & Sarjeant)
2 – Kyle Howarth (Kyle Newman, twice), Nicolai Klindt (Ellis & Jason Garrity), Robert Lambert (Ellis & Ashley Morris), Peter Ljung (Ellis & Stefan Nielsen), Michael Palm Toft (Tom Perry & Lewis Blackbird), Adam Skornicki (Kerr & Ben Morley), Jakob Thorsell (Kerr & Nielsen)
1 – Ryan Fisher (Kerr), Richard Lawson (Kerr), Mikkel Michelsen (Newman), Nikolas Porsing (Ellis), Simon Stead (Sarjeant), Claus Vissing (Kerr), Richie Worrall (Perry)

Of the latter group, Nicolai Klindt has already been given his marching orders – replaced at Swindon, disappointingly by Dakota North – and there must be a few others on borrowed time even at this early juncture.

One pleasant side-effect of the FTD riders occupying the reserve slots has been an end to those reserves who – through injury, poor form, incorrect assessment, or other nefarious means – score sixteen or seventeen points from their maximum seven riders, a far more imbalanced situation than any difference between the top and bottom FTD reserves could ever produce.

Whatever your opinion, the FTD reserves are here for this season at least, and hopefully beyond. It would be folly not to get behind your team’s reserves, and the new system as a whole, although wishing failure on brave experiments is very much an English disease. If you’re still sceptical, why not join the great majority of us, and (hashtag) Back The Brits? You never know, you might find an extra dimension to your evenings out at the speedway, supporting these young lads trying to make that next step. You know it makes sense.

Fast Track Draft Reserve averages (up to, and including, April 22 2014, draft numbers in brackets):
01(03) Kyle Newman............2...10...20...2...22...8.80
02(01) Lewis Kerr.............5...22...43...4...47...8.55
03(04) Lewis Blackbird........4...19...31...4...35...7.37
04(06) Adam Ellis.............8...37...54...5...59...6.38
05(12) Steve Worrall..........3...14...19...2...21...6.00
06(08) Paul Starke............3...12...15...3...18...6.00
07(02) Jason Garrity..........6...25...32...5...37...5.92
08(07) Ashley Morris..........5...21...26...5...31...5.90
09(17) James Sarjeant.........7...25...27...9...36...5.76
10(10) Tom Perry..............9...40...45..10...55...5.50
11(09) Joe Jacobs.............3...11...13...2...15...5.45
12(05) Stefan Nielsen.........7...31...36...4...40...5.16
13(20) Lewis Rose.............5...18...19...4...23...5.11
14(16) Daniel Halsey..........6...23...24...5...29...5.04
15(18) Ben Morley.............9...33...35...6...41...4.97
16(11) Simon Lambert..........5...21...15...3...18...3.43
17(21) Max Clegg..............7...24...14...4...18...3.00
18(23) Dan Greenwood..........3...10....5...2....7...2.80
19(14) Ben Reade..............5...19....9...2...11...2.32
20(13) Lee Smart..............4...13....6...1....7...2.15
--(NA) Charles Wright.........1....5....9...1...10...8.00
--(NA) Matt Williamson........1....4....2...2....4...4.00
--(NA) Benji Compton..........3...12....8...2...10...3.33
--(NA) Tim Webster............1....3....1...1....2...2.67
--(22) Darryl Ritchings.......2....5....3...0....3...2.40
--(19) Ben Hopwood............2....6....2...1....3...2.00

ITEM: Over the winter Chris Holder joined the ranks of those Grand Prix riders who have chosen to opt out of British racing, citing the cluttered schedule as a distraction from sitting around all week between Polish and Swedish fixtures, and the odd Grand Prix. He probably needs British racing as much as it needed him (and your opinion on both those things may differ from mine), but both seemed resigned and happy to go their separate ways, even if he was still hanging around Wimborne Road like a ghost of Pirates past.

The thumb injury suffered by Darcy Ward in the opening Grand Prix in New Zealand, however, brought a quick volte face from Holder, and suddenly he was very interested in racing for Poole and in the Elite League, which probably told its own story. Estimates of the length of Ward’s absence changed on a daily basis, but it turned out to be just a two-week break from racing for the Nanango numpty.

Two weeks without a number one – just four fixtures, three of them at home – is something most teams will face at some point this season, and such absences are covered well by guests and rider-replacement. With Ward second only to Niels-Kristian Iversen in the Elite League rankings, Poole could have used Matej Zagar, Peter Kildemand, or Tai Woffinden at home to Eastbourne, any EL number one bar Iversen or Woffinden at home to Coventry, all bar Woffinden and Zagar at home to Swindon, and Zagar or Woffinden away at Swindon.

Poole, though, sort to circumvent the regulations (plus ça change!) and insert Holder into their team, despite having taken him out of the team days before. Oh, yes, this is where it gets a little complicated, so stick with me…

Poole declared their 1-7 at the start of the season with Darcy Ward at number one. With an eye on the “Champions’ League” meeting later in the season, they replaced Ward with Holder for the Elite Shield meeting with Swindon, scheduled to take place on March 27, which was lost to a waterlogged track. On April 4, the day before Ward was injured in New Zealand, they switched Ward back into the team, ready for the start of the Elite League season. One problem, though: Ward, having been re-declared in the Poole side, would not be eligible for any facility covering his absence other than a 6-point Premier League rider, and so the guest scenarios outlined above would not apply. They could switch back to their previous declaration, with Holder, but he, too, would be ineligible for guest cover until he had ridden in a fixture, and he was unavailable for their upcoming clash with Eastbourne.

However, and you know there’s always a “but” or a “however” when it comes to Poole, they were allowed a guest for Ward against Eastbourne, and then were given special dispensation by the BSPA management committee to include Holder for their next three fixtures. This in itself is curious, because the special dispensation should have been sought prior to Holder’s initial declaration on March 26 because the regulations governing team building (regulation 16.3.3, to be precise) expressly forbid a rider in a team's declared 1 - 7 at the end of the previous season being subsequently re-introduced into that team without the express permission of the BSPA MC. Murkier and murkier.

Holder was given special dispensation to take his place in the Poole line-up for the fixtures against Coventry and Swindon, and although Ward rode in Poland at the weekend and is presumably fit to race in the UK, Holder will keep his place for 28 days – an injury replacement for a rider who is no longer injured!

Putting aside the legalities of the issue – and we always have to regarding Poole, because the BSPA and SCB turn a blind eye wherever possible – I’m not sure I feel comfortable with a rider who has turned up his nose at British speedway picking and choosing his fixtures when it suits him. The same could be said of Greg Hancock last season, racing in the Elite League only after his Polish club had sacked him for being too expensive, and Adrian Miedzinski the year before, using the Elite League as a tune-up for his Polish endeavours.

I’m not unrealistic. I know where British speedway ranks against the Grands Prix, Polish EkstraLiga, and Swedish Elitserien, but that doesn’t mean we have to prostrate ourselves before these part-timers. British speedway needs – and deserves – riders who are fully committed to a minimum 36-meeting season, and should give short shrift to those unwilling to make that commitment.

You may argue that we need the world stars, but it interrupts the narrative of the season if we allow them to make cameo appearances at the expense of building our own stars. The 2014 Elite League should be about Darcy Ward, Niels-Kristian Iversen, and Tai Woffinden, not Chris Holder, Greg Hancock, or Jarek Hampel when they fancy the odd meeting to top up their paypackets.

We need to stand proud of what we’re re-building here. The Elite League is not the best but it’s a fantastic product when done right. Let’s make sure we don’t let outside influences and distractions affect that. Say no to rule-bending. Say no to guest stars. Say yes to British speedway.

ITEM: Richard Hall is just over halfway through a 30-day ban imposed by the Speedway Control Bureau for his actions at Scunthorpe on Sunday April 6. Hall accepted the ban – on top of a “red card” from that meeting and a £300 fine – without complaint, and will presumably resume his Redcar career in the Tweed Tees Trophy against Berwick next month.

Hall was banned for assaulting a prone Josh Auty, after Auty had been excluded for bringing both riders down on the first turn at the Eddie Wright Raceway. Hall claims that - as a result of the crash - his cut-out failed to work, resulting in an expensive blown engine, and then heard Auty swearing at him, causing the red mist to descend. The referee threw Hall out of the meeting, although Redcar were able to replace him with reserves for the rest of the afternoon.

Hall’s actions were decried by many (although not by as many as you’d have thought, which says more about the two riders’ relative popularity amongst fans and fellow riders), and was a form of retribution rarely seen in modern speedway. In times past, Hall – or his team’s “enforcer” - would have waited until Auty was fit and put him into the fence during a race, a “revenge” far more dangerous than a kick to the midrift (and one that many fans applauded Chris Holder for doing to Nicki Pedersen in the Best Pairs meeting a week earlier!).

The day before, half a world away in New Zealand, Darcy Ward saw his Grand Prix end early thanks to an error by Martin Smolinski, who crashed into the hapless Australian, causing a concussion and a broken thumb. Ward went off to hospital, Smolinski was excluded from the race, but went on to win the Grand Final, lifting the first GP trophy of the season. Ward later suggested, on Twitter, that Smolinski ought to have been further punished for his actions, with some sort of “yellow card”, which would presumably carry on into further GP meetings. Another incident like that in Western Springs would then see Smolinski receive a “red”, and suffer some sort of suspension.

The card system is used in Polish speedway, with mixed results, but has never been seriously discussed anywhere else. The referee – as with Hall – does have the authority to exclude a rider from a meeting if he considers their conduct to have been extreme, but this is largely reserved for non-racing incidents (although Magnus Zetterstrom was thrown out of a meeting for Somerset some years ago for violent conduct whilst racing!). The logical extension of such a system would see riders suffer suspensions, and – in theory, at least – punish those more prone to wild or over-riding, of the kind – ironically – Josh Auty has been accused of in the past.

We’ve all probably seen incidents that would be worthy of yellow, or even red, cards. However, speedway is largely a “friendly” sport, with rivalries between riders generally conducted in an orderly fashion. Occasionally it can spill over into handbags on the track – much to the delight of the crowd – but the respect between fellow racers is evident to see when they take to the track. To include a system of punishment beyond what we have now risks upsetting that delicate balance between competition and comradeship, and would be an unwelcome addition to our sport.

It’s rare to say that something in speedway, particularly on the regulations side, works well, but it really does. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Leave the red cards, and everything that follows with their introduction, to football, and let’s get on with the racing.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Sorry Stags (and other things)

ITEM: The early hours of Saturday morning should see a good number of speedway obsessives setting their alarms for the first Grand Prix of the season from Western Springs, on the outskirts of Auckland, New Zealand.

Although celebrations have been oddly absent thus far, this is the twentieth Grand Prix series to have been staged, since its inception in 1995. In that time we’ve seen it grow from a handful of meetings to its present, bloated and elongated incarnation, striding across the speedway fixture list like an annoying giant, eating villagers’ cows and stomping on their carefully (and not-so-carefully) built houses. But I digress.

This will be the third time that New Zealand – or rather one wealthy individual New Zealander – has welcomed the GP to its shores, which has so far brought little but poor racing, a disruption to the early part of the season in the UK, and very little discernible effect on the domestic speedway scene in the land of the long white cloud. On that front, there is currently just one New Zealander riding outside his home country, and he has declared for TeamGB, should his form ever warrant such a call.

Still, this won’t stop those of us desperate to see any kind of speedway getting up early to watch what unfolds in Auckland, because - if nothing else - the GPs are a good source of narrative entertainment for those who like that kind of thing.

There are several stories worth following this season. Can Tai Woffinden retain his title, already carrying injuries from his domestic endeavours, and against stiff opposition from the Australians? Can Holder and Ward remain injury-free long enough to maintain a challenge to Woffinden, who certainly benefitted from his main contenders falling foul of crashes last season? Will Martin Smolinski’s unique approach to the series – opting out of racing in Poland, Sweden, and the UK – pay dividends and show the way for future competitors? Will Troy Batchelor declare himself the real World Champion?

One of the major storylines is whether the GP series can stand despite the absence of Emil Sayfutdinov (and to a lesser extent Tomasz Gollob), and the inclusion of riders few would place in a top 15 of the world’s best speedway riders. The simple answer is that of course it can, and no-one at BSI, the speedwaygp website, or the Speedway Star will pretend otherwise, but there has to be nagging doubt over the legitimacy of a world title race which has already been opted out of by one of the main contenders.

The GP series will always claim to have the world’s top riders in it, and there is no empirical way of disputing it, save for an official rankings system developed and endorsed by the FIM, but a look at the top of the averages for the three main leagues does tell a story of its own.

The top 4 from the 2013 Polish averages are all GP competitors this season, but beyond that you find Sayfutdinov, Grigorij Łaguta, Gollob, Patryk Dudek, Artem Łaguta, Adrian Miedziński, Grzegorz Walasek, Janusz Kołodziej and Piotr Protasiewicz , none of whom will be racing in the GPs in 2014. Only 6 GP regulars finished in that top 15, with most of the rest clustered directly below. Fredrik Lindgren was way down in 24th, and Smolinski and Chris Harris didn’t ride in the top division in Poland.

In Sweden, arguably the toughest if not the richest of the three senior leagues, the picture for GP riders is a tiny bit rosier. Once again, the top 4 from 2013 will compete in the GPs in 2014, and they are joined by a further 3 2014 GP regulars in the top 15. Non-GP competitors include Grigorij Łaguta, Protasiewicz, Dudek, Kołodziej, Michael Jepsen Jensen, Miedziński, Peter Kildemand and Bartosz Zmarzlik. Outside the top 15 you find Andreas Jonsson (16th), Harris (21st), and Batchelor (22nd). Kenneth Bjerre, Zagar, Smolinski, and Krysztof Kasprzak did not ride at all in 2013.

Over here, with our league seen by some of the top riders as an unnecessary complication to their racing schedule, we still find 12 of the 2014 GP line-up in the top 15 of the 2013 Elite League averages, filling out the top 8, with Kasprzak, Batchelor and Smolinski also making the top 15. Harris, in 25th, is the lowest placed GP rider in the list, which also includes Hans Andersen, Kildemand, Bjarne Pedersen, Peter Karlsson and Davey Watt. Only Nicki Pedersen, Jarek Hampel, and Andreas Jonsson, of 2014’s GP regulars, did not compete in the UK last season.

What does all this tell us? Well, nothing much except that Grigorij Łaguta, Piotr Protasiewicz, Adrian Miedziński, Janusz Kołodziej, Patryk Dudek, and Peter Kildemand have a better argument for being included in the world’s top 15 riders than Chris Harris, Martin Smolinski, Kenneth Bjerre, and Krzystzof Kasprzak – all four of whom came through qualifying at the GP Challenge.

Given all this, can the GPs continue to claim to be a better way of deciding a World Champion than the old qualifying system, which led to a one-off World Final? It’s an argument that will rage as long as there are those of us with good memories of the old way of doing things, and one that can never really be settled either way. What is certain, is that for those who like that kind of thing – and there are a lot of you – the GPs do offer a dozen meetings with most of the world’s best riders in, and as such are at least the 21st century’s equivalent of those open meetings such as the Brandonapolis, the Laurels, the Blue Riband, and the Golden Gauntlets. Only now you get to watch them from the comfort of your own home.

Despite its flaws – the amount and severity of which differ from person to person – the GP does provide a spectacle worth following. Although I despise the way speedway – and particularly British speedway – is at the behest of a private company rather than the national federations it should be serving, I’ll still be tuning in when I can, eager to find out the latest instalment of the story. If speedway as a whole is my literature, the GPs are the trashy airport novels that pass the time but don’t really amount to much in the literary canon. For you they may be Dostoyevsky, and isn’t that a wonderful thing?

ITEM: Scunthorpe Stags are not going to win the National League. That may seem like a brave prediction but it really isn't. The Stags are terribly understrength this season, and deliberately so. Their approach, underwritten by Poole's Matt Ford, is to use novices (if not absolute beginners) in an effort to unearth the next Tai Woffinden, Richie Worrall, or even Josh Auty (all of whom came through the Scunthorpe training system in one form or another). Hopefully the riders starting out with the Stags will go on to ride for the Scorpions in the Premier League, and then the Pirates in the Elite League. That's the plan, anyway.

And it's not necessarily a bad plan, in isolation, at least. However, starting teambuilding so late meant they missed out on some of the best prospects in that category - Danny Phillips and Matt Williamson, who ended up at Cradley Heath, would have been earmarked were they available, I'm sure - and so the Stags team is very short on experience indeed. Again, in isolation, that needn't be an issue - the majority of the Stags' outings are being run as double-headers with Scunthorpe's Premier League meetings, and so the costs are minimal, with no need to attract a fanbase to a team that will receive some heavy beatings.

However, the Stags aren't racing in isolation, they're competing in a (at least semi-) professional league, and their total inability to present any kind of challenge to the teams they visit may well have its own impact on the attendance figures of those teams. Whether - what is, at least still in name - a development league should have "giants" such as Cradley Heath and Mildenhall competing in it, as well as other standalone clubs who still have to attract enough fans to pay their bills, is a moot point. It has them, and we have to deal with the realities of that situation. In an ideal world, thousands would flock to see these lads taking their very first steps, but it's far from that, and the fans at least want to see some accomplished racers (even what passes for accomplished at this level) for their money and so Scunthorpe are robbing them of that in a way that wouldn't be allowed in either of the other leagues.

There have also been noises from the Scunthorpe camp, and their supporters, that their way is the true way, and that the rest of the league is betraying its ideals, which is beyond ridiculous. I can't say that the way the National League is run is perfect - although perhaps it could be better administrated than by Peter Morrish - but to reduce it to the level of the already-valuable second-half Midland Development and Northern Junior leagues would be a backward step, rob young riders of an important step in their progression, and also the sport of some of its less well-off clubs.

There is, perhaps, a middle ground, and the experiment of the Fast Track Draft in the Elite League this season may well point a way forward. With the EL filling its reserves slots with riders with no significant experience of the top league, it wouldn't be too difficult to legislate along those lines in the National League, with reserve berths held for riders with less than a season in the sport. It wouldn't rule out some of the journeymen who've become fixtures of the National League in recent years without really developing much beyond reserve level, but would force them out of the spots that really should be reserved for our brightest prospects. If you take a look at this season's National League, the experience of those in the reserve slots is relatively low, but does vary from team to team:

King's Lynn Young Stars: 126 National League meetings (Josh Bailey 7 & Scott Campos 119)
Kent Kings: 85 (Dan Blake 52 & Brandon Freemantle 33)
Devon Demons: 79 (Richard Andrews 71 & James Shanes 8)
Coventry Storm: 56 (Martin Knuckey 15 & Ryan Terry-Daley 41)
Cradley Heathens: 42 (Danny Phillips 18 & Matt Williamson 24)
Mildenhall Fen Tigers: 36 (Connor Coles 30 & Connor Mountain 6)
Stoke Potters: 7 (James McBain 6 & Rob Shuttleworth 1)
Buxton Hitmen: 5 (Adam Extance 1 & Sean Phillips 4)
Scunthorpe Stags: 2 (Reece Downes 2 & Liam Sanderson 0)

Campos, Andrews, Knuckey, Terry-Daley, Blake, Freemantle, Coles, and McBain would all fall foul of a FTD-style imposition (harsh on Knuckey and McBain, perhaps, who are geographically isolated), but it would open up 8 reserve slots for the kind of riders who Scunthorpe have devoted themselves to, putting the youth development back in the league without too much chaos, and providing geographically-distributed options for those just beginning their speedway careers.

There's no perfect way around it, and with a league with such a disparity in relative wealth you are always going to have the haves and have-nots, and those willing to bend the regulations to suit their needs. What I do know is that, even in its current form, the National League is bringing through young British talent and providing value-for-money on the terraces, and we shouldn't mess with it too much for fear of what over micro-managing can do to, well, just about everything in life.

ITEM: With the Fast Track Draft providing young British talent with an opportunity at the top level of the sport in this country, it's a good time to reflect on the successes we've had so far. Although compared to the conveyor belt coming out of Poland (and to a lesser extent Denmark and Australia) we have relatively few outstanding young talents, they are there and I expect the likes of Garrity, Howarth, the Worralls, and the rest to go on to have good speedway careers, at home and abroad. The remarkable thing, though, is that their development can be laid almost wholly at the door of some very dedicated volunteers at a handful of training tracks across the country.

That the sterling work done at Northside, Buxton, Scunthorpe, Rye House, and Iwade goes largely unheralded is no surprise. Its not the British way, and its certainly not the British speedway, to give credit where it's due, despite the harsh truth that without these tracks (and those who work there for little or nothing) we'd have little to no talent coming through at all!

So it's all the more disheartening to hear that Iwade's future is in the balance, not because of the usual threat from nimbys or any financial issue, but from our own administrators, who seem to have interpreted the edict that all FIM-graded tracks should have to have an air-fence (or suitable equivalent) as de rigueur for any track staging licensed speedway of any kind, even youth and amateur competitions. The costs of an air-fence is prohibitive at best for professional clubs staging league racing, and played a part in the closure of the Isle of Wight (although by no means the sole reason). For training tracks, whose sole income is ploughed back into the running of the facility, it's a nigh on impossible expense, and should they be forced to follow their league counterparts, closure seems the only option.

The merits of an air-fence are hard to ignore but there's an element of throwing the baby out with the bathwater here. Can we afford to lose Iwade, whose own safety record is exemplary? Of course not, but what’s the alternative? Could the BSPA support the facility as a national training centre? Would BSI, so often accused (and not only, but chiefly, by me) of taking without giving, be willing to plough some of their Cardiff profits into the enterprise? How about one of the Elite League clubs without its own training facility (perhaps overbooked Wolves or curfew-bound Birmingham?) see profit in a partnership? I don’t know but I hope something is sorted, and soon. It would be just like British speedway to kill a source of young talent in the same year it does so much for those a little further down the road. Let’s be different for once, yes?