13 March 2023
The Dirt Xtra
At this time of year all the magazines, podcasts, streaming service providers,…
Been a while, right?
However, I’m willing to hazard that guess that in that time my absence hasn’t been noticed and as such, I likely haven’t been missed! My esteemed colleagues have been keeping you informed on all things speedway and perhaps more importantly, all things Berwick Speedway.
So where have I been? Well, I’ve been a busy lad with work which I’m actually enjoying these days and there isn’t much more to say. As I’ve said before, this blog isn’t about me, its about speedway and that’s exactly what we are going to talk about today.
We have much to cover, so let’s crack on.
I believe that since my last blog the Bullets team was finalised with the signing of Jamie Halder and Connor Coles, who of course will also line up with the Bandits in the Championship. The Bullets team has a very fresh look to it having looked more familiar the last couple of seasons but I don’t see a reason why they can’t be pushing toward the top of the table again.
We probably know what we are going to get from Connor Coles, Danny Phillips and Greg Blair and arguably, there is room for improvement from all three. However, I feel that most of the potential comes from the rest of the side, and I’ll tell you why.
The likes of Archie Freeman, Josh Embleton, and Jamie Halder have all fallen foul to their careers being a little stop start at times for a vast array of reasons such as clubs closing or injuries. While all have potential, that potential can only be unlocked in a steady environment where it can be nurtured without unnecessary pressure being put on them.
Am I suggesting that all three of these guys will be on ten point averages by the end of the season? Of course not, but there is nothing stopping each of them adding as much as a point to their starting average and that is what will serve the Bullets well in 2023.
What about Mason Watson, I hear you cry? Well, I’m glad you asked. For me, he is the man who holds the key to the success, the key man if you will. He has served his apprenticeship, and 2023 is the year he where he can maybe push towards a heat leader spot and continue his steady improvement in the sport. Now that March will be upon us this week, we don’t have too long to wait to find out!
Speaking of which, it has been a newsworthy few days in British Speedway with a few controversial subjects to cover so lets dive in about this shall we?
First up there was Chris Holder taking to Instagram to say that he had struck a deal to return to British Speedway with Peterborough, only for the Panthers management to ghost him and back out of the deal, leaving the 2012 world champion without a team spot. To the best of my knowledge, Peterborough haven’t released any sort of statement on the matter and while there are two sides to every story, it does seem that Chris Holder has been messed around here in a situation where nobody comes out of smelling of roses.
As to why Peterborough backed out of the deal is a bit of a mystery, however there were some rumours floating about that perhaps Nicki Pedersen was set for a return to the UK or even 2021 world champion Artem Laguta was going to be making his debut on these shores, which would be huge news.
Now to me, the latter of these seemed all but impossible until it was announced that Emil Sayfutdinov was making a sensational return to UK racing with Ipswich, having last raced for Coventry very briefly around 2011. Ordinarily this would be huge news, and it is huge news, he is without question of the best riders in the world and certainly one of the most exciting, but the news of his return was met with criticism from some corners.
Now, I fully understand that relations in the world with Russia isn’t exactly sunshine and roses at the moment but to use that as a reason to stop Emil Sayfutdinov from racing in this country and more importantly, earning a living is to me, ridiculous.
I appreciate that it is a contentious subject and I understand the apprehension to a degree, but at no point has Emil Sayfutdinov or Artem Laguta for that matter ever shown an ounce of support towards the agenda of Vladimir Putin and his band of followers. If anything, they have distanced themselves from it entirely and in my opinion, they have been punished by association, as have most Russian sportspeople.
Just because you live in a village where there is one idiot, it doesn’t mean the village is full of them.
In my opinion, Emil Sayfutdinov riding in the UK, in the same team as Jason Doyle I might add, can only be good for British Speedway. The guy is absolute box office and is a generational talent who’ll put an ass every 18 inches in any grandstand in the country.
Those are facts that nobody can deny, but yet some folks want to block the move because of the country he is from. I’m willing to bet that these are the same folks who slag off British Speedway because the top riders don’t want to ride here. You simply cant win with these folks.
I’m also wiling to bet money that these same people would welcome Nicki Pedersen back to British Speedway with open arms because he’s box office and that they’ll be the same folks who wanted him banned for life when he fenced their favourite for the umpteenth time.
See, you can’t win, but you also cannot deny that controversy creates cash and that is what puts asses every 18 inches or bums on seats as you like to say.
But what does Nicki Pedersen have to do with Emil Sayfutdinov? Glad you asked…
Emil Sayfutdinov, the human being has done nothing wrong and Emil Sayfutdinov, the speedway rider is entertainment personified and is a box office draw so let him race and do his thing here I say. Why would you stop that because of his country of origin?
Nicki Pedersen, the speedway rider has committed a string of offences and creates controversy wherever he goes but there is little doubt that if he does return to the UK, he will be entertainment personified and a box office draw. Nobody will stop him riding though, even if you had Danish bacon once and didn’t like it.
Top line riders in the UK is something we’ve been starved of for years and the prospect of GP level line ups in heats 13 and 15 is something we should all want to see, no matter who they are or where they’re from.
Will we see more riders of that ilk in the UK in 2023? Watch this space I guess!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.