For a second time, Chesil Radio, was allowed to attend the Press & Practice at Poole Speedway track at Wimborne Road Stadium.
We always have to chase an invite, as what seemed to be the only female of the press pack, and a small fish in a big pond, that overwhelmed me at last year's event, I wasn't so happy to take no for an answer this time, especially for those important media shots for news stories, that we were denied again, due to access to centre green was for the "select few" press members, although as you will see my persistence paid off for the group photo, but not the individual ones with the bikes, as they were already done, by the time I persuaded the pit team to take me out to the green.
The absence of Lawson, again, was mentioned as he had flu, I was there with a chest infection, but I stood where I had last year, and there did seem extra camera teams, who if I hadn't stood my ground would have pushed me out of the way happily, I had arrived early and was chatting to some of the season ticket holders in the car park before the doors opened and the event didn't seem to have such a strict timetable like last year that went out live, or at least it wasn't so obvious.
The promoter, Mr Ford, started off the chat, talking about the changes to speedway for this season, which again we will go into at a later date, if we attend a track that comes into play for our reporting. He spoke about replacement Anders Rowe, for Jack Thomas, who had a nasty accident recently, which does look like a season ender before it starts, but was doing ok.
The team were then welcomed into the room in their new kevlars, with new team sponsor logo, Wessex Marine, they all looked very smart apart from missing Lawson, and team manager, Neil Middleditch. Each rider was invited up to speak to the two presenters, which included station friend, Rob Dyer, who we see more often over on the Isle Of Wight track. The questions introduced the new riders with their stats including their ages, which seems significant as a couple were in their 30s, and their previous riding career. Welcoming back some of last years team, the chance to review last year and put to bed any worries of one rider hanging up his boots in a recent magazine interview, which was incorrectly reported, as the rider themselves confirmed.
As Poole is a Championship side again this season, it seem like an obsession to talk about those that had Premiership places to mention those clubs, almost as much as about themselves, we have captured some of the interviews and will share some of these where possible either via social media and/or website dependent on their size capacity of the platforms, the microphones were very quiet and it was difficult to hear, resulting in many people who were stood behind me just chatting amongst themselves, as many had not seen each other since the end of last season.
Eventually, introductions and interviews over, the season ticket holders and the press were invited to interview the riders, unfortunately no matter how much effort the riders would not stand together for an indoor group photo and the hope to get outside as has happened last year for those interviews and photos in less noisy and crowded environments, many of the press held back to allow the fans to get their moment, little was I to realise that was to be my only opportunity this year to grab an interview.
I did grab all my stuff, and rush forward to speak to Anders, as a former Wildcat and with his Kent connections, he seem in good spirits and looking forward to the season. We talked very briefly about the struggle now for youngsters to come through and he had been racing daily in Poland. I did think it was a nice touch that he said that it was great as former Wildcat for their fans to think one of their own were riding in Poland. He has a team place out there, alongside his duties for the Poole Pirates.
At this point, is where apart from spending time persuading someone to let me get on centre green before the team photo opportunity was lost and the riders dispersed to have some track time on a very wet track, as the weather had not been as kind as hoped, I decided it was time to grab some refreshment, as out in the cold waiting for my chance to get on centre green with a chest infection, is not clearly advised. I had already decided with my illness, not to stay for the riders who chose to take a little track time, to make a move to a location where I could share my work with the fans.
I have always taken my press involvement side of the speedway, to make it there as a visual for the fans that can't, so as much as it's great excitement for the speedway season to start, I like to see these events as a speedway fan, I did catch up with photographer Tony, briefly who it seems has become chief photographer for the pictures of the day on the Pirates website, you may remember seeing his photos with the Wildcats on their season at Poole, and also Speedway Portal. It was lovely that many of the fans as I waited for my chance to get on centre green remembered me too and some of the volunteers at the track.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Poole Pirates team for allowing us to attend and subject to clashes with other meetings with the other speedway teams we support, we have a couple of dates in the diary to cover as reporters of the meeting, due to media restrictions, and we will only have access the same as the public to report these, but they will be instant on our social media, the live results.
At present time, we only have media support from Kent Royals, I have approached Mr Ford to ask him to accept my request for Poole, attending the ones in the diary will be subject to funds as admission charges, accommodation, etc will have to be found to attend these. We do have a GoFundMe page, also other options if you would like to donate and support the running of the station, which will allow more funds to be available for speedway meetings. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Our next trip is down to Kent for their Press & Practice event on Sunday, and I look forward to catching up with the fans there and the new team. We would like to thank Kent Royals for their continued support for their meetings, and take this opportunity to send our good wishes and thoughts to Lee of PirateCast, who you will see on our social media, got a special message at the Poole Press & Practice event.
Let speedway commence....