THREE-times world speedway champion Ole Olsen has said he believes British speedway is on the decline following the announcement by the BSPA Coventry Bees would not be racing this season.
Olsen, one of the most decorated riders in speedway racing history, told BBC Coventry and Warwickshire the current state of British speedway isn’t looking good – though added he doesn’t know what has happened.
A world champion in 1971, ’75 and ’78, Olsen rode for the Bees for eight seasons – winning the Midland Cup, British League, British League Cup, and the British League Pairs Championship in the process.
Now am FIM Speedway Grand Prix track inspector, Olsen still finds himself heavily involved in speedway – particularly in Europe, where crowds can still reach more than 17,000 for regular league fixtures.
He said: “Some other countries, they’re booming.
“But over the years English speedway has been going downhill a bit.
“It has been sad to see. But I am also very pleased that I was a part of it when it was so great. I have fantastic memories of when we won the league.”
Olsen’s moment of glory in 1978 at Wembley Stadium happened in front of near 100,000 people at the national stadium.
Though crowds of 40,000 still flock to Cardiff’s Principality Stadium for the annual British Speedway GP in the summer, regular SGB Premiership crowds are significantly down – and the league now hosts just eight clubs rather than 22.
The 70-year-old said: “When I arrived, there were 22 clubs in the league. We played just once at each others’ tracks, home and away.
“But now some of the tracks are not up to shape. Sadly, there has not been enough investment into the stadiums.
“England is still creating world champions like Tai Woffinden at Wolverhampton, so I don’t know what’s happened.”
Visit https://coventryobserver.co.uk/news/campaign-save-our-bees-a-coventry-observer-campaign-to-get-the-bees-back-on-track/ for more information about our #SaveOurBees campaign.
Support community journalism by making a contribution
The Coventry Observer's team of journalists provide a trusted source of news, sport, entertainment and events going on in your area and issues which matter to you - both via our free weekly print edition and daily updates on our website.
Every contribution, however big or small, you can make will help us continue to do that now and in the future.
Thanks for reading this and the Coventry Observer.