Referee Rants, Replays & Real Irritations

Published on 3rd July 2022
Author Mythman

I’ve often said that a lack of speedway can be a frustrating thing, and after the best part of a month without any sideways action at Shielfield is starting to irritate me just a little. Of course, this isn’t anyone’s fault, the weather has largely been to blame, and it is what it is.

So, you might be thinking that because there has been a lack of speedway, I might be struggling to put together some content. Well, I hate to disappoint you all, but I have a LOT to say! Not only that, but I’m also going to say the things that others are apparently scared to.

Strap yourselves in folks because someone has stuck 50p in me!

Much like all of you, whenever I’ve had the chance, I have taken the opportunity to watch televised meetings whenever I have the chance and it seems like every meeting I’ve seen has had at least one, if not multiple shocking refereeing decisions. I realise this isn’t exactly earth-shattering news, these sorts of things have gone on for years.

While I can appreciate there is ALWAYS going to be an element of human error involved, heck, I’ve seen me watching a meeting and not know what’s happened in real time and form an opinion based on what I thought, only to see it differently with the benefit of a replay. Now, I also realise that there is also not always the benefit of a replay, but see when there is, why are these decisions, wrong decisions STILL being made?

Take Berwick’s recent meeting at Poole, there were four instances of classic first bend bunching and in all four instances a rider was excluded, why? Now, admittedly, there wasn’t contact in every instance, but it was the classic case where two or more riders are in the same place at the same time and, on a night where the track was a bit tricky and patchy there are going to be riders running out of room.

This meeting was streamed on the British Speedway Network, and when watching back the replay of every incident, for me there was a case that every single one could easily have been all four back, contact or no contact.

So, my point being, every viewer could see a replay of every incident. Why, oh why, doesn’t the referee use these? In fact, if it was up to me, there should be the benefit of video replays at every track for the referee to use whenever these instances roll around. I realise this wouldn’t always be possible and it would be impossible to catch all the action but that is an argument, debate, or discussion for another day.

The other argument to be made is that if there is ANY doubt whatsoever and you can put all four riders back in the race, then do that. After all, the public want to see four riders in a race more often than not, and when the result is directly affected by these decisions, I feel the public and viewers are being robbed.

No need to be controversial and make exclusions for the sake of it, but that to me, is what the issue is. Now, I’m setting my head out on the chopping block here but in my opinion, certain, not all, but certain speedway referees are only satisfied if at the end of the night the fans are talking about them and not the meeting they have just watched.

To me, if a referee has done his or her job properly, then you likely won’t even know they were there. Obviously, I know that wouldn’t always be possible because some decisions simply are 50/50 and you’re never going to please everyone.

But tell me I’m wrong when both team managers agree the referee had a shocker and it ultimately cost Berwick AT LEAST a point at Wimborne Road.

Is that all? Oh, I wish it was, but it isn’t!

The subject of the next rant if you like, is the recent televised meeting between Sheffield and Ipswich on Eurosport which for various reasons was delayed for the best part of an hour following a heavy crash for Danny King.

Now, I’ll admit, there isn’t really any argument against the fact that the meeting, wasn’t a great advert for British Speedway, of that there probably isn’t much doubt. But what I will say is that when there as actual racing taking place, it was a decent advert for the sport, it was the delays that killed it.

I’m not going to get into the argument that the fence should have been repaired quicker, but what I will say is that there did appear to be many people watching, not a lot of people doing but that isn’t exclusive to Sheffield. Anyway, as seems to be the natural way whenever things don’t quite go to plan there are those online experts who utter terms which include words such as nail, coffin etc etc.

You know, the usual bollocks.

For those of you who make such comments, please enlighten me on your book of solutions because frankly, comments like that are asinine and they don’t help anyone. What you tend to find is that the people who make these comments will bemoan the fact there is no speedway on TV and with that attitude, your nails and your coffin analogy will become a reality.

Will they be happy then? Of course not!

When the product is as brilliant as we know it can be, nobody says a damned thing, but when things go wrong, these folks have entirely too much to say.

Mind you, what doesn’t help the situation is when those who claim to “champion” speedway as a sport take to their social media to stick the knife in too. The same folks who are quick enough to like and share the positive stuff when it rolls around, and they are happy enough to take the glory when it lands on their lap.

Do these folks forget what brought them to the dance and that part of how they make their living is because of British Speedway? Do they realise how lucky they are?

Sure, it isn’t all sunshine and roses but what we all know is that when speedway is right, it’s lightning in a bottle and there is simply nothing quite like it.

Unfortunately, things go wrong sometimes, and it isn’t as great as it can be. That my friends, is life. But I’ll tell you what’s a novel idea, how about getting along to support your local track and leaving the nails for the joiners and the coffins for the undertakers.

In a nutshell, what I have said in around 1100 words, was perfectly summed up by a wise man on Twitter, who said “Everyone has their own opinions and I understand peoples frustrations, let’s remember that speedway is a fantastic product when everything goes to plan.”

Those are the words of someone who really champions our great sport and not someone who claims to.

Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman, have an idea for a feature, or you simply wish to chew the fat over all things speedway, you can email me or get in touch via the JB Speedway Media Facebook page. If your compliments, or indeed gripes can be contained to limited characters you can tweet @Mythman666.

Until next time…and there will be a next time.

Right, I’ll hae’tae gan.



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