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Scott Nicholls

Added Scott: “It was really disappointing to me to see people insisting we use this tyre the other week, former riders saying it, they seemed to forget where they come from. That’s a real disappointment when we were trying to work together to sort out all the problems and you get that response.

“I know we have got to get a tyre that works and we are limited. Testing should be done before the season starts and before we use them.

“I know Anlas are working and trying to get them right but this is where the communication problem is for me, it has massively highlighted the lack of communication there is in our sport; whoever it was who knew the Anlas representative was coming here should have told everyone what was happening.

“Anlas appreciated there had been an issue and to their credit they tried to do something about it by making a tyre with a stronger core in a matter of days but the biggest issue is we should not be testing tyres in a league match, especially one that was live on Eurosport.

“What would have happened if that new tyre had been an absolute disaster? Can you imagine what that would have done for speedway if the same thing happened as had happened during the Bank Holiday Monday meeting against Sheffield?

• Scott leads Sheffield’s Tobiasz Musielak during that Bank Holiday debacle testing tyres in a race meeting. Where you stand on legal and insurance matters in those circumstances is an open question.

“They wanted to use the new tyre and wanted us to do as many races as we could until it got to the point where it wasn’t usable any more. They wanted us to start on the new tyre and use it as long as possible and if it wasn’t good enough to use, then we could use one of the tyres that had gone wrong.

“As I said last week, when that was put to me, I said ‘you have got to be joking, aren’t you?’

“You don’t very often see a Formula One, or a MotoGP event where they are testing a new tyre in the race! If they are using a new tyre, you know for certain they have done some track tests on it and that should be the same for speedway.

“As I have said, the tyres have to be tested at Peterborough, not at Leicester or at any of the tracks that don’t have a big problem with the tyres. They have to be tested by some of the best riders, the fastest riders and not, with respect, those who are maybe racing in the National League.”

More than anyone else, Scott put himself in the firing line in the fiery discussions that took place before his team raced the Witches and he was a sole voice into the post-mortem held in the pits sponsorship lounge within minutes of the match ending in a dramatic Superheat.

While some might consider he is something of a ‘shop steward’, he does have a near 30year background as a professional rider in both this country and elsewhere in Europe and did make 82 GP appearances.

“Can you imagine, you are going to work every day in a car, doing 80 miles an hour down the motorway, you are using tyres, no problem, and all of a sudden we are going to drive to work the same way, still at 80 miles an hour on the motorway, but on four tyres where you don’t know how long they are going to last? And you have people saying, these tyres have done 100 miles but can you see if they can do 500 miles on them, live on TV in a race situation? I don’t understand, there’s no regard for our actual safety.

“The first Anlas tyre when we had to start using them instead of Mitas, the first one, it didn’t handle very well but I didn’t have an issue with that. I don’t



think many riders have an issue but the performance of the tyre in terms of how it wears, there was a big issue, it was the way it broke and fell apart, that’s the dangerous aspect.”

In fairness to the Turkish company, whose tyres are in common use throughout European speedway nations and the Grand Prix series, they moved remarkably quickly as soon as they were notified of the events at the Showground.

They put it down to a combination of circumstances, including the exceptionally hot weather on the Bank Holiday and the condition of the Peterborough track for an early evening meeting with the sun still at its strongest.

And their boffins got to work straight away, using a tougher carcase to strengthen the tyres which were then produced within five days at their plant in Duzce, an industrial town located halfway between Istanbul and Ankara, and flown to the UK – half on Mr. Ergun’s scheduled Turkish Airlines flight into London and another batch by courier.

Talking about the new tyre, Nicholls said: “Anlas did testing in their labs but that clearly doesn’t replicate what happens on a race track. I’m having a dog of a season so probably I’m not the best to be judging it but it didn’t feel much different.

“You could feel a slight difference but not anything to worry about or concern me. But there were problems with the nobbles ripping off which is concerning.

“At the majority of tracks over here, the tyres are okay but there are just some tracks that have a bit of an issue, but not as bad as

Peterborough. It is very difficult to get something that lasts at Peterborough because the bikes are revving so much here, there is more wheel spin and the tyres do get a bigger pounding than anywhere else.”

Scott says he has already sent several e-mails to British Speedway Promoters Limited outlining his views on what is needed to avoid a possible repeat next season.

He went on: “I haven’t had a reply to any of the e-mails so far but, of course, I would do testing if I was asked but I wouldn’t do it for free, surely that’s research and development and Anlas will have a budget for that, they can’t expect riders to give their time, pay for their fuel to get to the track, and be there for hours, wearing out their engines.

“Everything should be done before the season, we are two seasons down the road with Anlas and we have still got a problem.

“At that last meeting against Ipswich, we weren’t even asked what we thought about it, we were told to do something and that isn’t the way it should be when it’s down to rider safety, that’s why

I was so angry.”

September 17, 2022 speedway star 3

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