Underdogs Getting their Day


Saturday 24th September will be remembered by every motorsport fan for the night when the sports most respected and likeable character finally won his second world title. Greg Hancock was not a favourite for the title at the beginning of the season but the oldest rider in the field came through to lift the title 14 years after his last victory.
Hancock’s victory also marks a big milestone for the small Speedway nation of the USA.
Similarly all cycling fans will remember Sunday 25th September as the day the Great Britain road racing team got their day in the sun. Marc Cavendish’s victory whilst not a complete surprise given his reputation in the sprint was still not a fancied rider for the title as Team Great Britain had only 8 riders. Due to the UCI’s qualification system the top nations of France, Germany, Spain and Italy had 9 making it harder for the British boys to control the race for the manx missle.
In our own sport too the weekend did give the less fancied or tipped teams their limelight. In the EIHL the Fife Flyers picked up their first ever point with a road shootout loss to Hull Stringrays.
Meanwhile the first weekend of the EPL season through up some perhaps unlikely results. The Telford Tigers beating preseason favourites Guildford and Bracknell Bees beating Slough Jets.
Many excuses, reasons and theories can be given as to why these have occured. For example where Guildford a bit rusty in their first league game, had Hull had a bad game, and Bracknell were facing a Slough team that had come of a poor preseason.
Whether these results are just underdogs having their day or whether it is a sign of things to come will not be clear yet. But it is hard not to enjoy an upset as long as it isn’t against your team that is.


It could be worse

There are a few UK cities where long established but forgot sports live on backed by a strong force of passionate fans. The ice hockey cities are among those as are the Speedway towns. Short track dirt motorbike racing has been in the UK since 1927 and since then the team format of the sport has gone through many changes.
Like ice hockey this has been to do with some clubs having more than others and differences of opinions without a con-census. Like ice hockey in the UK this is mainly to do with the owners running the league.
However speedway’s latest spat has seen the league champions and play off contenders both quit the top flight and miss their opportunity to join the lower two leagues. This left the Coventry Bees and Peterborough Panthers without a league to ride in and groveling back to the top flight elite league asking for there place.
However the elite league had already promoted two clubs and told Coventry and Peterborough that they could ride but without the Sky TV money.
To make matters worse an announcement was due on friday and has now been put back meaning either the league season will be delayed or started without them. Leaving a serious lack of available personnel.
Away from the league problems Speedway has many other things in common with Ice hockey including club debt, under sponsorship, poor facilities. Whilst we can all agree these need to change it is the how that can not be agreed upon. But the Speedway problems highlight the need for action to be taken sooner rather than later as Ice Hockey in the Uk will not recover from a similar incident. So the powers that be need to heed the speedway warning and act now.