Saturday, 3 August 2013

A plea to speedway fans everywhere...

Speedway fans have received a timely reminder in the last 24 hours of the sheer danger of the sport we love. Of course we all know, deep down, that it's got it's dangers - 500cc bikes, with no brakes and only one gear, add into the mix riders sometimes taking one risk too many, and every now and again things can - and do - go wrong. It's inevitable. It doesn't stop us having a go at an underperforming rider - and nor should it, sometimes that "hard time" can be what's required to make a rider change his mindset and prove the doubters wrong. It should also be remembered that these guys are being paid to take these risks, and know what they are getting into. Sometimes that "having a go at" turns into something nastier though - I've heard a fan in the past stating that she wished a particular rider would "break his neck" on the basis that he'd had a hard - she perceived dirty - race with a favourite rider of hers. Sadly she almost got her wish - that rider she was essentially wishing dead was Lee Richardson - I blogged about him last year, shortly after he lost his life following a high-speed crash in Poland. Be careful what you wish for, as the saying goes. She will have that one on her conscience for the rest of her days, I'm guessing. I wonder if she now wishes that she had set aside her grudge as fast as the favourite rider who was on the receiving end of the hard tactics from Rico almost certainly did.

Lee Richardson
Last night, at Scunthorpe, Berwick rider Ricky Ashworth was involved in a crash, a serious one. It lead to the abandonment of the meeting as both sets of paramedics in attendance at the track felt that his condition was serious enough that they should accompany him to hospital. This really doesn't happen all that often, and as a long term fan of the sport you know when you hear that sort of thing how serious the situation is likely to be. Within minutes there were comments all over Twitter using the hashtag "#PrayForRicky" - and within an hour or so a degree of speculation was creeping in too. Riders were tweeting too - although their comments were mostly on the lines of "hearing Ricky Ashworth's had a bad one, wishing him well" - carefully worded - if they were in that position they know what sort of thing they'd rather their friends and family read, I guess. By approximately 2 hours after Ashworth's crash, the usual "I'm hearing rumours that..." Type stuff had surfaced. Now it should be noted that there was no official statement until this morning, and that so far as I have seen, nothing was said by the family until his sister tweeted from Ashworth's own Twitter account - also this morning. Initially it sounds as though his sister was struggling to get information herself - she clearly wasn't at the track and it seems to be a distinct possibility that they may have initially heard about the crash and the aftermath via social media rather than via the correct channels.

Ricky Ashworth

We were victims of something similar ourselves a few years ago albeit in a far more minor level - a rider who we had known and been friendly with for several years had a serious crash abroad - the first we knew was when the news was "broken" on FaceBook - and what followed was a horrific few hours of trying to get information and find out just how bad it was. Just how unimaginably awful it must be if that person you're reading about is your son, brother, husband, can't even be comprehended.

Kim Jansson
Please speedway fans - remember. When it comes to an injured rider - if what you're about to tweet, FB or write on a forum starts with "I've heard a rumour that..." Then you REALLY shouldn't be posting it. Put yourself into the families shoes, and post a supportive message instead.


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