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Leading duo fear for future of British speedway
Preliminary talks may have been held about speedway coming back to Odsal – but two eminent people within the sport reckon they had better be quick about it.
With the recession biting hard, former England team manager Eric Boocock and ex-Bradford Dukes promoter Eric Boothroyd reckon the sport might not even exist in Britain in two years’ time.
Both were guest speakers at the World Speedway Riders’ Association northern annual dinner at the Rock Hotel, Holywell Green, near Halifax.
Boocock, who was British champion in 1974 and rode in three world finals, said: “People only have so much disposable income and they might have to choose between going shopping, going to a show or watching speedway.
“People can’t do everything these days and I don’t think there will be speedway in Britain in two years’ time.
“Some riders are competing in four countries in a week – Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Britain – and I don’t know how they do it.
“Top engines cost £5,000 to replace these days and you need three of them, while tyres are £500.
“I rode from 1965 to 1980 and the money was awful but we had so much fun. There were a lot of characters around.”
Boocock’s sentiments were echoed by Boothroyd, who captained Halifax Dukes to the treble of British League, Knockout Cup and Northern League in 1966.
He said: “Like Eric, I cannot see speedway in Britain going beyond 2015.”
Fellow speaker Brian Havelock, father of former Bradford rider Gary, was presented with the leathers that his son used to win the 1992 world title.
Also speaking were ex-Bradford rider Garry Stead, who is paralysed from the waist down after an accident at Somerset Speedway in May 2007, and Dave Younghusband, a former Halifax rider and ex-Newcastle team-mate of Brian Havelock.