NEWS Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 9:40pm
There was a fair amount of comment in British Speedway circles when we signed Joel Andersson last month and more so when we confirmed that his starting average was to be 5.20. Some seemed surprised that he should be given such an average but co-promoter John Campbell is happy to give some of the background.
He said, "One of the biggest problems in British Speedway in recent seasons was the increasing number of riders doubling up/down. In 2017 it almost brought the sport to its knees and discussions started midway through the 2017 season at looking at ways of eliminating the problem."
"The easiest way to sort the problem is for each team to have seven riders of their own. That's the way it works in Poland, currently the dominant force in World Speedway. However, there simply are not enough riders available in British Speedway to make that happen. We need more riders. Some will come from the numerous training tracks that are now in operation. Some will come from the initiative to introduce more motocross riders to our sport but there will still be a significant shortfall. These riders have got to come from elsewhere in the world."
"Of course introducing a new rider to the UK can sometimes prove to be a gamble and with this in mind the British Promoters set out to make newcomers more attractive propositions and to do that averages have been reduced."
Before the AGM in November a list of newcomers was prepared from all nations and averages allocated. At the AGM this list was not approved but after some further work a new list was issued to promoters at the beginning of December. The list contains in excess of 260 riders with averages, at Premiership level, ranging from 4.00 to 8.00.
Campbell takes up the story again, " I've been chatting to Joel off and on for 2 or 3 years now. We just never took the jump to bring him in on a 7.00 but when his name appeared on the list at 4.00 and with a conversion factor confirmed at 1.3, we immediately took an interest."
Others have followed suit as there are more than 200 of the riders on the list that have been assessed on 4. Berwick have Lindman, Redcar Andersen and Ipswich Haertel. There could be more.
Campbell continued, "I proposed at the AGM that every Club should include a rider who had not ridden in a team in 2017 in their 2018 team but that was rejected as some teams already had their 2018 line up settled prior to the AGM but we are still carefully looking at that list at the moment and I know that other teams are as well."
Joel Andersson rides in the Rob Woffinden Classic at Pinjar Park, Western Australia on Saturday.