Workington Comets speedway side in crisis
Last updated at 12:55, Friday, 21 September 2012
Ex-Workington promoter George Graham has lambasted speedway bosses for not supporting Comets owner Keith Denham, who is struggling to keep the club afloat.
Graham, who has a season ticket at Derwent Park, blamed the British Speedway Promoters’ Association for failing Workington in their time of need.
He said Premier League clubs received no money, despite helping to hone the skills of future international riders, with all funds being pumped into the Elite League.
His words come as Denham contemplates quitting Comets, after admitting the cost of running the club was becoming too much.
“Keith has had no support from the powers that be,” Graham said.
“Workington are a mainstay of British speedway, and some money should go towards helping clubs like ourselves and others like Glasgow and Plymouth who have been left high and dry.
“With the economic climate how it is, crowds across the country have been dwindling, which puts a huge amount of pressure on owners to fund the sport from their own pockets but Keith has done a first-class job. And at the same time, Elite League clubs are getting £70,000 in television revenue, and none of it is filtering through.”
Denham made a bold bid to bring fan favourite Rusty Harrison out of retirement, but the BSPA’s management committee refused to lift a 12-month riding ban imposed in July.
Denham appealed in a second desperate plea, but has not heard if he can re-sign the Comets legend.
The future of speedway in Workington is still in doubt, with Denham threatening to end his five-year stint as owner. But if Denham does stick with it, he has vowed to sign a number of star names.
Simon Stead tops that list, with current riders Richard Lawson and Rene Bach wanting to return.
Ricky Wells, Ryan Fisher and Jason Bunyan have also expressed a desire to ride in Comets kevlar, and Denham said: “Derwent Park is one of the best tracks in British speedway, and if we run next season, I have had interest from a lot of top riders.
“Workington Comets is a marvellous product. We have the best racing conditions and the best team.”
Injuries have plagued Comets’ season, and team boss Tony Jackson has had to rely on rider replacement and guests, which has seen many fans stay away.
Fewer than 500 saw Workington beat Glasgow, but a bumper attendance is expected for tomorrow’s clash with Leicester.
In a twist of irony, Michael Palm Toft, the rider who snapped Kenny Ingalls back in five places during a horrific crash last month, replaces the American ace.
Both Kyle Howarth and Tero Aarnio are expected to return with rider replacement operating for Adam Roynon.
Victory over Glasgow ensured Workington qualified for the play-offs with Newcastle, Somerset, Scunthorpe, Leicester and Edinburgh. The first leg of their League Cup semi-final against Ipswich was due to take place last night, with Wells guesting for Roynon, Ashley Birks in for Ingalls, Bunyan replacing Howarth and rider replacement for Aarnio.
The first leg of the KO Cup semi-final is at Newcastle on Monday, and it is hoped Roynon is not far from a return to action after breaking a bone in his back.
First published at 11:51, Friday, 21 September 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
I would go butNo 1) I can think of several ways Â£15 (or Â£10 with the rebate) could be better spent in the current economic climate and No 2) it's no too warm on those terraces at t his time of year andNo 3) It's a bit dear anyway at Â£15 andNo 4) I've no real interest in speedway. Sorry.
Maybe a different night to Saturday cos people go out on a Saturday so maybe even Fri would be better
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