Our first home meeting was disappointing obviously on the basis that we lost and we lost quite convincingly. It was a combination of things. Obviously we have four members of the side that have no more experience of Foxhall than the opposition at the moment. Combine that with the fact they were all nervous and I know everyone wants to win meetings, especially your first one at home but I think the fact that we lost being predominantly down to half the team being nervous at least shows they want to do well. You’re not worried and nervous if you don’t want to do well. In that respect I could cope with that because that was the reason. I did also say that we might take a few weeks to gather up our home strength and I think that is true still and the first meeting showed that.
It was worse than I would have liked but I think when we went to Scunthorpe we put in a much better performance. Again it wasn’t a convincing performance because I think teams will go there and win like Sheffield have done, so we need to do better than that. I’m not saying ‘Oh we went to Scunthorpe and got a draw, everything is ok now’ because it’s not. It did show though that they’ve got one meeting out of the way, away from home they were far less nervous and you could tell that in the team and barring a break down and throwing away a few points we should have won. All in all not a great start to the season but I can see the positives. I still think we’ve got it right and have got a competitive side. As a team with my help and Ritchie’s (Hawkins) help and Danny’s (King) help, we’ve got to get things going at home because we can’t afford to be poor at home.
The one main positive to take is the keenness of the boys in particular Darryl (Ritchings). He’s done a an awful lot of miles to make sure he’s grabbed every opportunity to be with the team and on track. Danny and Nico (Covatti), they are what they are, you’re only ever going to get 100% from them. The track didn’t play into their hands on the opening night but we had to run it slick because it’s a new base and we couldn’t afford to lose it straight away. It’s had a lot of time now since its been ridden on and its had some weather and we can get what we want from it now. Not that they used that as an excuse either but we need to give them what they want and they need more grip and we knew it would be slicker than they would want but it’s how it had to be. Generally the attitude throughout the team has been first rate though.
Ritchie has settled into the role really well, he’s been everything I expected and more really. He’s really up on the rule book and he’s got a good temperament with the lads. They know that he understands, they know when he can sense whether 100% effort is going in or not. That’s what it’s about really, if the effort is there and the results aren’t, then apart from working with them you can’t ask for much more to improve results. Everyone is really comfortable with him and from what I’ve seen he has not put a foot wrong.
The League Cup is a good bedding in competition for this team, that said we don’t want to give it up and it’s not that it’s not important, we were just going to need time. The fact that we are in a competition that’s just the right length of time is a really good thing for us in terms of the Premier League. Like I said that’s not saying ‘well we’re not going to make the semi-finals’, we are going for them 100%. It’s clear now we can’t afford to drop any more points at home and we will need to win away from home. It’s not a difficult equation, we know what has got to be done and we need to start on Saturday against Sheffield.
It’s not been a great start to the season for British Speedway in general, you’d be a fool to say it has. However, I don’t see Tai (Woffinden) announcing he will not ride in the British Final as a big disaster. Of course it’s a shame as I love watching him ride, and ride for the British Championship because certainly at Wolverhampton he’s come up against track experts in Bomber (Chris Harris), Scott (Nicholls), Eddie Kennett has always mixed it with him and there’s always been someone who has popped up, recently it’s been Craig Cook and Danny has got in there too, so I will miss that. I don’t blame him and I don’t think it’s a major problem for British Speedway, the final will still be very competitive. No one should make an issue of it, he is a top world class champion who wants to stay there and any decision he makes to do that should be supported. Of course I’m disappointed, I would have loved to gone to Belle Vue and watched him ride but I don’t have a problem with it.
One of the major issues has been Plymouth going bust after one meeting which I don’t understand how that can happen but for whatever reason it has. There does seem to be some positive news coming from there though, so maybe that is just a blip the sport could have done without. Then there was the National Stadium opening meeting was a major PR disaster, an embarrassment for them and something they obviously did not plan. It needs to be fully investigated to find out how it got to the point where 6000 people had travelled and got into the stadium before anyone made a decision. Namely it was the riders when they rode on it that said it wasn’t fit to ride and that should not happen. We are supposed to have bodies in place, namely the SCB, that ensure everything is right particularly with a new track and that has failed somewhere along the line and needs to be looked at.
Thank you for your continued support,