FORMER World Champion Ole Olsen had his own views on the ills that beset his sport in Britain:

‘The answer to speedway’s problems, I think, is to get more people through the gate. Promoters talk about cutting down costs, about trying to save money by reducing expenses while they should be talking about how to make speedway better so that more people come along.’

‘The answer is better stadiums, better tracks, batter facilities, better programmes and better racing. People go to speedway and they know the result before they get there. There is too much home advantage. The unknown and uncertainty bring excitement.’

On the cost to promoters of hiring the top riders, he said:

‘It is said the superstars take too much money out of the sport but I agree to do nine meetings, in addition to matches for Coventry, each season for just start and point money. I would be happy to pay all my own travel expenses during a season if I could negotiate my own contract for those nine meetings. My travel for a year is around £1,600 (£9,000 at 2013 prices) yet I lose over £4,000 (£23,000) on those meetings.’

A clearly irritated Len Silver was less than happy about the comments made by Olsen:

‘Ole Olsen seems to be telling us how to do our job (based) on his experiences at Vojens. How many meetings do they promote every year? If I did about eight meetings a season, I could have 8,000 at Hackney every time. But we are running upwards of 30 meetings a year … Of course the answer is to get more people through the turnstiles but in answer to Ole Olsen and his opinion that about 80 per cent of tracks do not provide good speedway, let me say that I’ve been providing good speedway - as good as anywhere - for 15 years. He talks about Coventry being a great track for racing and, while it certainly is a beautifully prepared track, anybody will tell you that it isn’t the place where there is a lot of passing and good races.’

Riders and Promoters - Ole Olsen v Len Silver

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The Great Debate 1977

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