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Archives Press release from may 6th 2002

BECKY PARTRIDGE  Friday, May 24, 2002  21:05 GMT

Press Release 6th May 2002

London Cup Clash Cancelled

The proposed London Cup clash between the Wimbledon Dons and Hackney Hawks on
Thursday night  has been cancelled due to rider unavailability, and
difficulties hindering track preparation.

Once Hackney let it be known of their difficulties in raising a team, the
Dons management had discussed the possibility of hosting an individual
meeting for the Ronnie Moore Cup.

However, the unfortunate injury to Chris Schramm at Reading on Monday night,
and problems in locating a large quantity of new shale gave the Dons
promotion little alternative but to cancel the fixture.

Next week (May 16th) the Dons entertain Buxton Hitmen in their opening
Conference League fixture. Children admission has been reduced to £1 for the
rest of the season as the Dons follow other teams in seeking the next
generation of supporters.

End of press release.

Press Release 6th May 2002

Kid for a Quid

In a world where the price of everything goes up and nothing comes down, (except RAIN if it’s Speedway), the Dons management have reduced the price of accompanied children under the age of 14 to just  £1. This unprecedented move was bought about by the attendance of 200 kids at the opening meeting, and David Croucher admitted “If the total amount of youngsters coming to watch Speedway is less than 10% of the total gate, we can look forward to some pretty poor crowds in the future. Speedway has always been regarded as one of the last bastions where ‘Family Sport’ is concerned. It’s entertaining, fun, dramatic and colourful – and, I’ve NEVER seen any trouble at a Speedway Meeting, not in 42 years of going. The future of any sport is it’s fans, and we want to encourage as many younger supporters to come along as we can. Where else can you take the children for just £1? Hopefully it will encourage parents to come who otherwise wouldn’t because of babysitters etc. It will be cheaper to bring them than leave them at home”.


Hackney Off / Cup Match On

After a late message received on Saturday night, the Dons Management have spent the bank Holiday weekend formulating a new programme of events for this coming Thursday 9th May. Hackney have been let down by a few riders and are unable to field a full team, but The Plough Lane Stadium will still provide Speedway on Thursday and will run the RONNIE MOORE CUP.
”It is the last meeting we will have Ronnie at this year as he goes home the following week, and it would be nice to do some of the things we couldn’t do last Thursday because of the dreadful weather” said co-promoter David Croucher.

The meeting will be a 12 rider open invitation meeting to include most of the Dons riders and, amongst others Reading and Peterborough rider Chris Schramm. It will take the format of 12 heats, 2 Semi Finals and a Final, and it is hoped to put on a second half of veteran racing from the Men in Black and their historic JAP’s. New Don David Meldrum will  be a hot favourite to win the main meeting along with Martin Williams and Glen Phillips. Phillips has recently made a move to Reading in the Premier League, and this is expected to be his last appearance at Plough Lane.

Croucher admitted there was still one problem to overcome: “Over the years we have been rained off, fogged off and cheesed off around various meetings. But this could be the first meeting ever to be shaled off”. The appalling weather last week has meant the dumping of yet another 45 tons of shale which needs laying and removing again within a 46 hour window in the expensive and difficult ‘Lift and Lay’ operation that the Wimbledon management have to carry out every week for the early part of the Season.

Steve Ribbons, the other half of the Dons promotion, whose responsibility it is for the track explained: “ The shale we picked up from last weeks meeting is ruined. It took us 3 days to lift it and we are now relying on getting a new delivery in for first thing Thursday morning in order to have the track ready Thursday night. The Bank Holiday means it cannot be ordered until Tuesday first thing, so we are hoping there won’t be any delivery problems”.

  Thanks For Your Support

The Dons management have praised all the riders, the supporters and the officials for their sterling efforts on Thursday of last week. “The crowd was fantastic, the riders were great and the weather made the track almost unrideable”. Said David Croucher. ”I can’t remember when I saw Speedway like we had here last week – you could hardly walk across the track, never mind ride it. Had it not been our opening meeting, we would have cancelled. But we didn’t want to let the fans down who have been without their beloved Dons for 11 years and waited since the end of last summer to see them back on the track. Criticism was minimal considering that most people expected to see some better Speedway than they did, and we are very grateful to the spectators for their patience while we go through this massive learning curve. There were problems with the PA, there were people getting lost in the Stadium and we had to hold the meeting up because of the unexpected, massive crowd not being able to get through the turnstiles. Having said all that, and that it was still a great night., we are not unaware that Speedway will not survive on nostalgia alone and that the public will expect us to put on a show. The defeat we suffered at Swindon on Sunday was not a true reflection of the meeting, but only those fans who travelled know that. We have lost Glen and Graeme to the Premier League, and we’ve got still got the Undertaker injured, so we are under strength. We must iron out all the little problems at the Stadium and we must field a competitive team. The Wimbledon supporters have never had second best and we don’t want them to start thinking that’s what they’ve got with this management. We will beef the side up in the very near future”.

In the meantime, the Dons are looking forward to running the Ronnie Moore Cup on Thursday, and will make it an annual event. Ronnie, modest as ever, was said to be “Honoured” that the event was taking place.


David Croucher

Wimbledon Speedway Co-Chairman

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