ALL CLUBS NEED CRITICAL MASS – posted 23 May 2013
Whilst the news may have been inevitable at some stage, I am saddened to hear of Sandwell's demise. After 61 years at the club, Brian Buck should feel very proud of his contribution not just to the Sandwell/Oldbury club but to the sport in general.
However, there comes a point in the lifecycle of most clubs when the critical mass is no longer present and the enthusiasm of those dwindling numbers are often not enough.
Assuming that there will be no last minute reprieve for the club or even a relocation of the club facility elsewhere, I'm sure that there are many people who appreciate the input of people like Brian Buck and Peter Dalley have put in over the past decades.
If there is anything to learn from a constructive analysis of the current situation at the club, now is the time to start.
CS COMMUNITY SHIELD? – posted 22 May 2013
Just a random thought that occurred to me when thinking about the end of the football season the other day. How good would it be to have a cycle speedway community shield?
A match at the beginning of the season against the winner of the British team and the winner of the Elite League at a neutral venue to kick off the season. Get everyone buzzing for it and kick off the season with a big match but with a kind of pre-season light hearted air to it.
And it would be a lot more difficult to organise but how about a European super cup. The winner of the Polish League vs the winner of the Elite League, once again at a neutral venue each year. What a match that would be. Polish clubs dominate in the European club cup with a top four but how would it change when they have to team ride?
Get a club like Coventry behind it and they could potentially turn it into a big event, as would clubs like Poole, Wednesfield and Ipswich.
Good idea? Bad idea? Could it happen? Just throwing it out there
HOPE BRIAN BUCK WILL CONTINUE – posted 22 May 2013
Very sad news and every credit to Brian Buck for trying to keep Sandwell going for so long. A track that has successfully staged many finals and produces exciting racing as riders have to think. Whilst we have sadly lost such a good track and facilities, hopefully Brian will not be lost to the sport.
On the upside we have regained Glasgow and Newcastle in the North and see moves are well afoot in East Anglia to bring back tracks and the sport. Coventry has gone some way to redress the balance in the Midlands but I know that will be no comfort to Brian as this time
Editor’s Note – Having spoken with Brian earlier today, we are pleased to confirm that Brian will continue his role as Midland League recorder.
IT’S SIMPLY A BIKE RACE – posted 20 May 2013
I was in the privileged position of chairing the Commission for three years. During this time I had several contacts with Al Bentley, a gentleman whose fair approach and decency stood out as an example of how to conduct yourself.
I was not present at the match which has caused such controversial comment, however, it's unfortunate that statements have been attributed which may or may not be in context. As Al saw it, and I understand from reading, he dealt with a racing incident and called it as he believed to be correct. Others may disagree, but in the ultimate analysis, the referee has the responsibility to make the difficult calls,
and it is the responsibility of the riders and managers to accept them.
They may not agree, but as was once remarked to me from a national official in another sport where calls are often close and can be controversial, "you call it as you see it, and someone will always feel that it's wrong. Rest assured that if the referee made as many errors as competitors, there would be all kinds of trouble", this in a theoretically non-contact sport with plenty of contact.
It's understandable that young, fiery, competitive people will sometimes be upset when things go against them. Part of growing into a mature competitor is learning to deal with this, and move on to the next heat, focussed on doing what is correct, not looking back on perceived injustices.
A read of Dr. Steve Peter's excellent book, Mind Management, gives an insight into why performance can be impaired by just this problem.
Lastly, what everyone should realise is that we are all human with human failings. Generally we want to do what is right and fair. Referees who don't go out of the way to make errors, real or perceived. No referees = no sport, so proper respect, a sporting attitude, and a realisation that over a period calls even out is a sound
After all, in the end it's simply a bike race.
Former Chairman British Cycling Cycle Speedway Commission
BC DISCIPLINARY PROCESS FLAWED – posted 20 May 2013
Having looked in to British Cycling's disciplinary process, I would consider it to be flawed.
Regarding the refusal of evidence of photos or videos, why not if such evidence is available it should indeed be used especially where it provides such information relating to the case in question. Stating that it cannot be used as photos/videos are not used at all events, is wrong. Where such means are available this must be used. The same could be stated about witnesses. The same witnesses are not at every incident. This might sound silly, but consider the facts of the word ' evidence '. All means should be used when available.
In cases of incidents that are likely to be investigated by British Cycling, signed statements should be obtained from all witnesses, as soon as possible after the incident. Not wait until weeks later, as memory can change a view once a person has considered it over time. Also it should be fresh, as at what happened at the time,
or what one thought had happened.
THANKS FROM AL BENTLEY – posted 19 May 2013
On Saturday I refereed at Bretford and would just like to thank everyone for their kind words. I know I may sometimes appear a
little vague. However with all the meetings I referee, I am really bad with names. Thanks again.
The meeting at Bretford (pictured above) was run really well all the way through and thanks to referee Jamie Ball for helping me out. They can be long meetings if you’re on your own. There are some very good young riders coming through the ranks from most clubs. I have however noticed that again the numbers were down. I really hope we can all start to attract new members to the sport.
East Park chairman/referee/welfare officer/event manager
MOULD SITUATION BECOMING TIRESOME – posted 18 May 2013
I was interested to read Keith Wingrove's comments, as having retired from racing at the time of the incident, I can remember being told by a former racing colleague at Blackley that they had a theory that if Keith fell in a barrel of #*?! he would invariably come up smelling of roses and decided to put that theory to the test!
On a serious note though, the Ben Mould situation is becoming tiresome, with one set of views and opinions vilifying him and other views and opinions defending him. I assume there is a set procedure with regards to incidents deemed to be subject to discipline, I would suggest therefore that any further action should be in accordance with the laid down procedures currently in place.
TOO MUCH FOCUS ON THE “WRONG CALL” – posted 18 May 2013
Just read that we have evidence of the "wrong" decision in heat 17 of the Wednesfield v Sheffield match. I do hope we will get the whole of heat 17 the race, the incident and the aftermath.
I've had a lot of decisions go against me, as has every other rider in the sport. Anyone who knows me, knows I do lose my temper rather easy but it would never cross my mind to attempt an assault on a ref.
Everyone seems to be focusing on the "wrong" call by the ref. Everyone will say "yes Stu but this is your dad and your just taking his side”. Again anyone who has seen me and my dad at a CS match knows we do not take sides with each other.
I’m just wondering why Mr Mould seems to not have come up with either (a) an explanation as to the attempted assault on the ref (as the court would see it) or (b) an apology from Ben or Mr Mould
I’d like to point out that refs do this as an "enjoyment for the sport". They do not travel miles to be verbally and physically abused. If these refs were not in the sport then I’m afraid to say there would not be a sport. Maybe some of the riders, including myself, should just take a step back and have a think about that. No refs = no match = a very boring Sunday indeed
If I’m wrong in anything I have said I apologise. These are my thoughts only from what I have read on here and match reports!!!
WHAT WILL VIDEO EVIDENCE PROVE? – posted 18 May 2013
Can someone please try to explain what Dave Mould is on about in his latest waffle. I can’t understand a word.
I don’t know if Dave has took offence to my opinion regarding paying the fine. Seems the sensible option to me. By the sounds of it, the fine has been paid now even though Dave first said it wouldn't be paid
In the meantime I can assure everyone that I don’t work with Andy Moody and have never ever been seen in a car with him. Regarding video evidence that's allegedly come to light, so what! We don’t use video evidence in cycle speedway. What exactly is it going to prove?
It may show the rider hurling his bike and helmet and may show the abuse given towards the ref but this is already dealt with and this is why a card was issued in the first place.
If it was anybody else's kid, do people think Dave would be complaining? If the decision went Ben's way do you think Dave would be complaining? Seems it’s always someone else's fault. Even Mrs Mould is in the wrong this week.
LET’S HOPE FOR A FAIR HEARING – posted 18 May 2013
Danny Harper is probably correct to ask that this topic be left alone till it has been looked at. There are various opinions but the counting one will be the referee. British Cycling will make their decisions based on that. Let’s hope that Ben is allowed to put his case and receives a fair hearing.
I continue to advocate that cycle speedway disciplinary decisions should be decided by the people who know, CS people themselves. Ours is a completely unique sport and racing is hotly contested at all levels. This adds to the racing and makes it the sport it is.
Now and then things become slightly overheated and have to be dealt
with after the match. This where problems really begin. Our sport doesn't have the benefit of multi cameras and TV replays and Kommissars running around all over the place. I assume the only knowledge that disciplinary committees have of our sport is
that they know it’s one of BCs cycling disciplines. Other than that they will know nothing.
We have had completely over the top punishments from BC and I raised the matter at the Birmingham conference. Strange that BC can be so diligent when discipline matters arise and so disinterested the rest of the time.
NEW WEEKEND – NEW FOCUS – posted 18 May 2013
Thank God it's a new weekend with new matches. Hopefully there will be some good, positive reporting this weekend to replace the verbal tennis currently taking place.
What last weekend’s subsequent reporting has highlighted is that "v" for vendetta is quite appropriate when talking about some associations within our sport. I would urge people to air carefully
thoughts of this nature on public forums as it will undoubtedly cast clouds and dark expectation on future matches involving individuals before a wheel has turned.
Also I would urge referees of certain grades to perhaps refrain
from airing opinions in public for similar reasons, not to mention that they may referee future matches involving riders mentioned.
So anyway as I initially stated it’s time to move on. Let’s celebrate the good of our sport and let's start with the Youth & Junior racing taking up and down the country. This great concept, which has helped develop many of today's top racers, deserves more coverage than recent events. Hopefully the column inches on Saturday evening will reflect my opinion.
VIDEO EVIDENCE AVAILABLE – posted 17 May 2013
I'm getting fed up of people putting their own spin on Ben paying his fine! I think Mr Knowles and Mr Moody must travel to work in the same car. picking up the World champion en route!
I stated, "Ben would not be paying the fine!" I don't recall saying that the fine would not be paid! If the club have paid the fine as stated on Spokesman, then I will reimburse the club with my own money. I don't think my son should pay this fine as he never legged anybody in heat 17.
I'm now in possession of heat 17 on film, which will confirm what I have said about the incident although I know this will not change things.
It was do or die, for Mickey Hewitson in heat 17 to try and turn the
7-3 around and Ben would have done the same. I can see why Ben was so aggrieved by the call! This has left a very sour taste for the sport in my mouth.
As for Jamie Ball, He would not want me to be a ref/commissionaire, as he would have had a warning on the centre green with both set of riders Then another warning, then a yellow. That would have been before he got on the grid! Then I would write a full report on why the yellow card was issued and then wait for the next meeting where we would come into contact. As I have stated in a post my other reason as well, I would not be afraid of dishing cards out for the right reasons.
As for banter at track side, I can recall the first match Ben rode for Wednesfield, a challenge with East Park – and Mr Ball shouting out from the pits, "It's all right they have plenty of money!" Just because Ben was on a new bike! New or old, if it gets bent, it gets bent. But I do not have loads of money, just working class from the age of 12-years-old, working class and proud! So the drivel needs to be curtailed by the man in the middle! A good rider spoilt by his involuntary drivel and actions!
As for Mr Bentley, yes, I did get the grading wrong as the BC book I had in the car was not the up to date one. When my wife found the most recent one in Ben's bedroom, after so much searching myself, Helen put her hand on it straight away, "Women!" So apologies to Mr Bentley for the wrong grading!
Now here is a test for all the above travelling in that car! "Don't forget to pick up Mr Ball!" Get your bikes out of the shed, head to the netball/five aside pitch, go to the centre circle? Ride your bikes with two wheels on the ground going anti clockwise, with the front wheel as close to outer edge of the circle without touching it, whilst keeping the rear wheel on the outer edge as well! Then think curb, then think inertia, force and angle on top of this greasy conditions! Tyres
and wheels to be the same size identical.
I will wait in anticipation for the response the passengers in the car. You can all try it! Then wait for YouTube for heat 17! Please remember – always wear a helmet.
TRIAL BY VIEWPOINT – posted 17 May 2013
I find it quite disturbing all of these letters/emails about Ben Mould. It’s like trial by Viewpoint. Why don't we all let the dust settle, let the BCF baffle us with their decision on the situation, then discuss from there.
I've only had the pleasure of riding with Ben a few times and he seems a genuinely nice person who is one of quietest people I know in the sport considering his huge talent, so I'm sure he regrets this whole situation but at the same time I'm sure he will take whatever punishment comes his way.
Let's just hope we haven't lost a rider and a referee (due to the abuse after the actual event) over this incident as we know the BCF like to hand out massive fines and even bigger suspensions. Do you think the BCF would dish out the bans we have seen in our sport over the last year to their superstars of the cycling disciplines they really care about? Probably not.
Just a quick note on referee's, don't get me wrong - I'm the first to criticise the ref but I remember one day when I confronted Bob Prince about (in my mind) his crap decisions which he told me that if I didn't ride in the manner to what I thought his decisions were then he would not have needed to make any decisions.
It was a very good point well put. So remember, we all make mistakes, even when we think we are right!
WHAT PRICE MOULD’S LESSON? – posted 16 May 2013
How things have changed over the years.
Many years ago I was refereeing a match at Blackley and they objected to a decision I made. I was physically manhandled by the team and thrown into a manure heap.
Yes it really did happen and now you can laugh at it, but then they received a fine by the then Manchester and District CSA. Compare that to what Ben did and there is no comparison. Everyone can act in the heat of the moment. The sport seems to becoming too PC and British Cycling are treating things as if the riders are professionals.
I do hope Ben does not suffer to much as a result of his actions. Yes he has to be taught a lesson but at what price.
LET THE JOURNEY TAKE ITS COURSE – posted 16 May 2013
Can I just say that we are all getting hot under the collar now about the incident at Sheffield on the weekend. Let the journey take its course with BCF.
I do not want Ben to be treated any different from Robert Bandosz or East Park. All trophies that Ben is holding will be returned to all clubs concerned, whatever the outcome of the hearing, by myself (D Mould).
I'm not sure that Ben can race/train pending the outcome of this investigation but do not want him to fall into the Robert Bandosz situation, as I feel this rider could have been misinformed?
As for Mr Ball, I will be responding to his post when the above has come to a conclusion. To do so now would be inappropriate. So you will get another posting from me.
To the editor, I thought the picture of Ben was rather apt. Perhaps we could have a caption when the above draws to a close?
Many thanks to all.
ERRANT RIDERS SHOULD SUFFER CONSEQUENCES – posted 16 May 2013
So many opinions about referees and what happened last week-end. I first got involved in this wonderful sport around 1949 and then referees were a problem. If you, as a rider choose to argue with the referee, throw your bike or just choose to try your luck then you suffer the consequences.
Believe it not referees are just ordinary human beings with all the human weaknesses that we all suffer from. Just get over it! If you throw your toys out of the pram you suffer punishment. Riding is easy but being a referee is something totally Different. Yes they makes mistakes but without them anarchy prevails. I am sure the powers to be will sort this.
Good luck to both riders and referees. We need you both.
(a voice from the past)
REFEREE’S DECISIONS EVEN OUT OVER SEASON –
posted 16 May 2013
Two hours late into Stockholm. Missed my flight to Vilhelmina so
nothing until the morning now. There's an ice hockey tournament going
on so no hotel rooms, and I do mean none. I have tried at least 20 but zilch. So i'm having to sleep at the airport. Done it before but I'm
getting too old for this.
Anyway, after deciding that too many six quid pints isn't a good
idea I had a look at Spokesman, quite a bit going off by the sounds
I have respect for both Al Bentley, who I believe calls it as he
feels is correct, and also for Ben Mould who is a great rider but in
my opinion a very fair one also. Looking at the reports Ben does not
deserve a lengthy ban, and I hope the authorities look at his past
record should they get involved.
However I guess that on a wider note many of us have been in Ben and David Mould’s boots. My own son has been excluded a few times when I, he, and his team mates don't quite know why. Sometimes even his opponents don't know why! The flip side is that there are also occasions when he has returned to the pits and thought that a 50/50 decision had gone in his favour and may well not have. I'm quite sure many of you recognise this scenerio.
So, especially in the EL, things may not always work out how we
would like, but a fair rider will generally end up with even
decisions over the season.
PAY UP BEN – posted 16 May 2013
The recent article titled 'Top Rider Facing Lengthy Ban' can be considered as correct as the rider has been stated as refusing to pay the fine connected with the red card issued.
As we all know, a red card issued deducts four points from a team or individual score plus a one match ban and a fine. It doesn't warrant an investigation by BC unless the fine is being refused to be paid.
As stated on here by the offending riders father 'the fine will not be paid' so until the fine is paid we can all assume that Ben Mould will not be allowed to ride.
Shame really as Ben is one of a handful of young riders who could be considered the very future of British cycle speedway. We all know that his recent actions were totally out of character although not to be condoned in any way.
I'd urge Ben to pay the fine, enjoy the weekend off and put it down to experience, although that would see a very proud Dave Mould eating his words regarding the non-payment of the fine!!!!
Editor’s Note – We understand that Ben’s fine has or will be paid by his club.
DIFFICULT TO RECRUIT REFEREES – posted 16 May 2013
I believe that the Ben Mould saga made it very uncomfortable for many people around the sport for all different reasons.
First of all the referee. Unreal backlash of abuse, for what was doing his job and using his tools to deal with the situation. Knowing Al, he's probably sorry it created such a story. Second of all Wednesfield
Aces for sticking by him and defending their rider. Third of all Sheffield for winning the "already lost" match.
Next is Dave Mould and his comments about refereeing and unusual interpretation of the rules, plus claims about his son not willing to pay the fine, surely not going to help his case. Next down the line are
Mark Boaler, Scott Doherty and Robert Bandosz and the late Rob Carter - all guilty of same offences and served, or in case of Robert, still serving lengthy bans. If we are to waive the punishment, what are they going to say?
And last but not least, Ben Mould. I haven't known a quieter lad in the sport. Now he's hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons. I just want to say one thing that we all forget about. I'm not defending guys in the middle, most of us would have some bad times with them in the past but there is about 200 riders riding each week and only a dozen of referees. It's easier to recruit a rider than it is to gain a new ref. Like it is with junior riders, it takes time for an official to become World class.
JOHN WHITING A GOOD REFEREE – posted 16 May 2013
I most certainly do count John Whiting as a referee... And a very good one at that!
MOULD DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE – posted 15 May 2013
In reference to the article regarding Ben Mould facing a lengthy ban regarding his alleged action on Sunday.
I hope British Cycling don't fall on the lad to heavy. Ben Mould is one of the best British riders we have alongside Heard, Angell, Boaler, Aris just to name a few.
I hope British Cycllng take into account Mould previous history with referees in the past before hitting him with a big ban and fine. Yes if his actions are true, I am sure it was in the heat of the moment and regrets his actions now, if the allegation is true.
As far as I am aware Mould has never come to the attention of the referee in the past. He always comes across to me as a quiet lad. I think sometimes we are quick to stick a ban on riders without taking past history onboard.
I think if Ben shows remorse for his actions, if they are true and the referee is happy, why don't we give the lad a chance. Maybe make him pay by some help at a track who are low on numbers by doing some track work for a couple of weeks or just give him a written warning and if he breaks that then a ban should be placed on him.
For goodness sakes don't punish a lad for a one off mistake. Riders pay their petrol money week in week out and it is so easy to lose it when you feel hard done by when you feel you should not be.
This is by no means a dig at the referee but I just think if a hefty fine is placed on Mould for a one off incident then cycle speedway is punished as an whole. Surely if Wednesfield deal with it in house, why do BCF need to get involved?
My thoughts only
REFS ARE NOT PERFECT – posted 15 May 2013
I probably won’t count as a referee in Mr Gamble’s eyes but I think the slowing and warning is up to the referee on the day. If you state you are going to warn riders they will expect it. However I think it's all about how much the slowing goes. It’s a team match after all.
Early in the race I might ask riders to move it along but as the race progresses riders should be aware of how much they might or might not get away with and the risk of exclusion they take. Team managers have a role here as they should have some idea of what that ref will or won’t let go and coach their team appropriately.
Without being there and no doubt there being two versions of every incident, it's difficult to call this but if Griffiths was well into the last lap it would have awarded. Just my view!
Mick Harley is correct. Only one referee and 16 riders plus team managers and crowd who all see it different aspect from outside of the track to the one person in the middle, the referee.
Not sure if height is the answer as If the ref upsets everyone
he may never be let down from his perch. I do think the ref has to be more mobile from where he or she watches the racing, not only at the start but during the racing.
Finally the ref isn't perfect. They do their best in sometimes trying circumstances. Depending where they live, it could be six hours to officiate a match including travel. Although they do receive some expenses now, I guess pro-rata to their time, wear and tear on the car, away on what might be their only day off, it doesn't cost in really.
But without them and their best and often unappreciated efforts there is no cycle speedway
Just my thoughts.
CLEARING UP MISUNDERSTANDING – posted 15 May 2013
Just to clear-up an obvious misunderstanding as raised by Lee Aris, in no way did I intend to refer (as I did not) that any incidents at Sheffield last Sunday included in any way any physical attack on the referee.
My comments were just entirely to say that an attack (verbal) on the referee was disappointing to read. I also added remarks on Al Bentley, which I stand by, who everyone holds in the highest regard.
On balance, does not decisions against you not normally even out after time? Took me 30 years or so to work that one out. Having said that, I suppose watching a supremely talented off-spring being excluded in a high profile match must be frustrating to say the least, and that was Dave Mould was articulating, which he has every right to do so.
I always enjoy Dave`s comments, so keep them coming!
Coventry CSC - Promoting Club of the 2013 British Final
EMPATHY WITH BEN MOULD – posted 15 May 2013
I read with some concern and discomfort, the Spokesman headline which stated "Star Rider Faces Lengthy Ban" with respect to the much publicised Ben Mould incident last weekend.
As red card offences do automatically result in lengthy bans, such a statement implies that Ben actually hurled his bike and helmet at the referee. However, from the many witnesses who I've spoken with (ie representative of both teams) the unanimous feedback was that he threw these items to the ground - (as Lee Aris so eloquently put it, you don't miss an intended target from just a few feet away).
I wasn't there, but the various accounts indicate that this was an incident that occurs several times a season - a close race where one rider makes a strong inside dive in an attempt to force his way pass an opponent. Impact occurs and the referee is left with a difficult decision of deciding who was to blame.
Was it the aggressor for trying to force his way past or the leader trying to defend the challenge. On some occasions the rider in front is judged to have 'used a leg' and on others the aggressor is deemed to have been 'too forceful'.
What I do know is (like many riders) there is nothing worse than being excluded for legging when, in your own mind, you believe that you didn't. If we are honest, many of us have experienced that moment of rage and anger when this happens.
I'm not condoning Ben (or any rider) for losing control of their emotions, but I fully empathise with how he probably felt and the need to express his frustration. I wish that people would put aside of the sensationalism around this incident and try to understand the pressure we place on talented young riders in these days of the Elite League, international racing and television coverage.
I also believe that we need to be more understanding of the pressure that referees are placed under. Referees such as Bob Prince didn't become exceptional overnight - it took years of experience and exposure to top class racing and I'm sure that Albert Bentley didn't set out to ruin Ben Mould's day. We need to provide more support and coaching for our brave band of volunteer referees.
My hope is that this referee will take time to reflect on the events of the day, whilst trying to understand the emotions of the rider at that precise moment and ensure that his report is a fair reflection of what actually happened (ie did Ben really throw the bike at him etc). From my experience, the referee is the person who will have most influence on the outcome of any subsequent disciplinary committee and I would prefer this to be the case rather than the Viewpoint pages of Spokesman.
The Ben Mould who I've come to know is not the type of character who I would label as an aggressive or violent person and our sport would be a lot poorer without him.