As you can see we’ve got a new website and a lot of changes have been made over the winter. We’re going to be more active than ever on social media, we’ve got a new club logo and badge, the race suits are unique in a sense as well. There have been a few seasons we’ve had a bit of yellow on them but they are slightly different this time, which lend themselves to the corporate side of the business with our sponsors, Tippers ‘R’ Us headed by Tru7.com. Everything’s changed really, even on the track and we’re looking to promote the club better than ever. We’ve got an exciting project we are trying to put into place that will make the whole speedway experience better and more interactive at Foxhall for the fans, as their money deserves. We are doing everything we can to push the club forward.
Trophies are my target in 2016 but obviously winning the league is the main aim. We haven’t put many trophies in the cabinet since we dropped down into the Premier League and that is something we want to do this year.
Changes have been made on the track but I have a broader view of the whole club, not just the team, although that is very key of course. For me, we were put on the back foot in the winter as we needed to invest in a new air fence, which for any speedway club nowadays, £20,000-£25,00 is a lot of money, but we needed to do that. At the same time, track wise, things had deteriorated a bit and there’s been some necessary investing but the reaction of local businesses community has been massive in terms of making sure we got the air fence and had the budget to build the team and start the season. If that is matched by the support then the financial side of the club will be on a good footing and that will help with the team so I think that’s the biggest thing for me. If you look specifically at the team, I’ve said it many times, since we’ve been in this league we’ve relied on potential and progression and it hasn’t always been realised. We don’t really have that this year and I’m not going to put pressure on the one or two we do need progression from but we’ve relied much more on that in the past couple of years.
You always have a guideline to the style of team you want. I made a decision that we needed a top heavy team with the right reserves very early on. Then you have to wait for the rulebook. I knew we had to start the team building around Danny (King) and Nico (Covatti), so I had certain ideas way before the end of last season but in terms on personnel you do have to wait to a degree to know what the rules will be. I started team building before we knew the rules but that was because we had pre-meetings with the BSPA and had a rough idea of what they might be.
We went away to Italy as a team in pre-season and it’s expensive going away pre-season but it wasn’t for the club as the lads predominantly funded it themselves which meant that it had to happen. I had given my backing to it because of how keen they were to do it, get the laps in and be together. I obviously helped a little to make it happen and it was a really good team bonding exercise. We only got one day on track but it was a good day and it served a very good purpose from a riding and bike shake down perspective. More importantly though it was about getting the six guys we had there together, to get to know each other. We had a couple of debriefs in terms of Ritchie’s (Hawkins) views of how he wanted to run things and I have to thank the whole of the Castagna family because the hospitality was second to none.
Our inconsistent home form last season was the topic of many debate but the only thing we can do from a club and management point of view is give them the same conditions every week and they have to go out there and do their job. It’s then down to the Team Manager and riders to do the business and score more points than the opposition. I have to say with a very new team and with less experience on the home track than I would ordinarily like, we may have to be patient early on. I’m not using that as an excuse, we want to win trophies and I’m not saying the League Cup is any less important, and Ritchie has told the team in no uncertain terms that every meeting we ride, regardless of the competition, is important.
I don’t tend to study the opposition too much in the build up to the new season and personally I can’t pick out a clear favourite. It’s a very competitive league. We start the season up against Scunthorpe at Foxhall in the League Cup and it’s a competition we want to win and in that short group format of the competition, we need to win this meeting. We then go to Scunthorpe and Peterborough in the same competition and we are hit and miss at both tracks. They are both fast tracks, wide open tracks and we can put very good performances in at both but this is a whole new team so I honestly can’t answer how we are going to fair! As far I’m concerned though it’s only a new team for the first month, maybe the League Cup competition. After that it’s not a new team, there’s no excuses and we’ve got to perform.
Thank you for your continued support,