AGM Reaction From John Campbell

NEWS Friday 24th November 2023, 6:22pm

by Graham Muncie

  Edinburgh Monarchs

With the dust now settled on the sports annual get together of promoters and the rules in place for the year ahead Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell was happy to share his thoughts on how the meeting meant and what the rule changes mean for the Monarchs in 2024

The most pressing change in most people's eyes seems to be the lowering of the points limit to 38 with Campbell quick to state how this was done out of necessity rather than for any potential financial benefit.

"The thing to say about the AGM tis it was almost a 100% rubber stamping job, there was maybe only one contentious issue and another one that created discussion so the days that I would have remembered going as far back as 40 years ago where you would sit down with almost a blank piece of paper and talk about what is going happen next year, those days are gone. It is now a rubber-stamping job for many issues that have been discussed prior.

"I read all the time about how ridiculous it is we have reduced the points limit to 38 and that we have reduced the standard of the league once again. I am not going to deny that is the case but what I will say is those that think that is a cost cutting exercise and we are just looking to save money year on year are incorrect, absolutely it is the case this year that if we did not have that kind of limit there would be teams that would not have been able to put a competitive team together.

"There are simply not enough riders about these days to have a higher average limit. There are still teams at this moment that are struggling to put a team together and there quite frankly is no one out there.

"The points limit has been set to give every team a chance of putting a team together. The stampede of Europeans wanting to ride in the UK has dried up and even for those that do visa costs and living / travel costs to get them here are absolutely enormous so that is no longer an avenue, and the knock-on effect is without a 38-point limit there are teams that would not have been able to put together a team."

The second rue change that has caused discussion is the change to allow guests to be utilised for all of the 1-5 rather than just the top 3 and it would be fair to say that the long server promoter is a little sceptical on if this will have a positive impact.

"It is very very seldom that when you are using rider replacement you feel that you match up points wise to what your missing man would have got but there will be instances particularly for us being a Friday night track where there won't be anyone available, it is a help but we will wait and see if it is the great new thing that will help everybody."

While those were the two most contentious decisions to come out this year there are some big positives with Campbell keen to emphasise that everyone truly is on board with making sure the stars of the future have a platform.

"On the youth development point of view I would say that a meeting I didn't actually attend but Alex (Harkess) read out a statement on the Youth Development's behalf that basically said if we let the National League fall and did not do anything else then it would be a short space of time before there was no new British speedway riders and that's adding to the fact at the moment there are not a lot of new British speedway riders anyway.

"Many of the better National League riders last year will be in the Championship next year but in the short term after that where is the next lot of riders coming through. My fear was if we let that happen then British Speedway would die as there would be no new riders and we can not let that happen.

"I think the message got through at that meeting and that has developed into what we have which is each club will run one of at least a national league team, a junior second half or what we have also developed is this individual series where many tracks will do a one-off junior meeting having never contemplated doing that ever before.

"The full structure of that is yet to be completely finalised and we want to keep away from calling it a GP like series as that would make it seem like each meeting will have all of the same riders but what we want is a pool of 20 or 30 that these meetings will be made up of.

"From a Monarchs point of view, it is too early to commit 100% to the Academy running as the league structure will also be decided at that meeting but it is our intention to run in the NDL again and also that the Northern Junior League will continue. Very positive discussions have taken place between the five northern clubs, and we all have agreed we want it to continue again in what guise is yet to be confirmed as we all know sadly at the moment there aren't the riders for each of us to fill out 500cc and 125cc teams.

"Overall though I would have to say that the biggest positive out of the AGM for me was this realisation that more needs to be done by all, in the past you could almost see some clubs lose interest when these kinds of things were spoken about but that is not the case anymore."

Another great positive Campbell wanted to make sure was noted was of the elevation of Workington back into the second tier.

"On the Workington side of things, it is always great to have a new club join the league and from a speedway point of view a club that is relatively on the Monarchs doorstep is always welcome and it is great to see the Workington name back in our league."

So, with all of this in mind the Monarchs promotion are now full steam ahead on finalising the 1-7 for the 2024 season with some exciting announcements both on and off track to come.