DOYLE: AVERAGE HIKES KICK IN THE TEETH
Aussie star Jason Doyle described average hikes for British speedway’s biggest stars as a “massive kick in the teeth” as he starts 2017 on a 13.41 average for Swindon.
The Newcastle-born racer may have established himself as one of the sport’s top stars and won four FIM Speedway Grand Prix rounds in 2016.
But that didn’t stop him from fearing he’d be left out of a job by BSPA promoters voting to increase top-flight riders’ averages by 40 percent in team-building changes aimed at cutting costs for clubs.
"We’ve all done right by Great Britain and now it seems like the rules are changing and we’re the ones suffering."
- Jason Doyle
Luckily for Doyle, Swindon kept faith with him and honoured his two-year deal for 2017 and 2018. But the move has forced Poole legend Chris Holder out of Wimborne Road, where he has raced since 2008.
Averages are based on the points a rider scores over four heats and were previously capped at a maximum of 12.00.
So Doyle is stunned to see the likes of him, Niels-Kristian Iversen (12.66) and Holder (12.53) left on averages over that mark, forcing any team willing to employ them to spend over a quarter of their available points recruiting one man.
He said: “I wrote on Twitter, asking the BSPA why they couldn’t cap all the top riders at 12.00.
“Chris Holder has been a long-serving member of British speedway and he has lost his place at Poole. It’s a massive kick in the teeth, and not just for the Australians. Niels is over 12.00 too.
“We’ve all done right by Great Britain and now it seems like the rules are changing and we’re the ones suffering.
“If we’d known the rules were going to change halfway through August, I’m sure a lot of teams would have dropped their averages and we wouldn’t have been in this situation.”
Doyle insists British speedway’s top names aren’t demanding too much money from clubs.
He said: “I’ve had comments from people, saying we’re earning too much. But if you look back at years gone by, the boys were on a lot more money than we are in Britain.
“I know things have changed and the sport is changing, but I think they need to have another look into it. They have gone the wrong way.”
Doyle believes riders should get the chance to have their say on potential rule changes before they are passed by BSPA members.
He said: “Maybe we need to have a couple of riders present at these big meetings. Hopefully they can put their input into it. Maybe it could be someone like Screenie (Joe Screen). He’s a Brit and he wants to see the sport succeed.
“We need these older boys and a couple of people who are still riding, who can put in a bit of input, so it’s not just promoters thinking about themselves.
“If you water down the sport, fans are going to drop off. It’s pretty much two Premier Leagues now. It’s not Elite League. It’s going to be great speedway, but we want and I want the best riders back in Britain.
“I know people are saying Poland and Sweden are where the money is. But if they listen to the riders, we can change a few things that can get these big boys back.”
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