PETERBOROUGH skipper Scott Nicholls has called for preseason testing of the Anlas tyre… at the East of England Arena!
The former Grand Prix regular, who is very much one of the poster boys of British speedway through his regular appearances as co-presenter/pits reporter on live TV coverage of the sport both domestically and internationally, insists the tyre issue isn’t something that should be forgotten now that the Panthers have finished their season.
Weather permitting, tonight’s (Thursday) Premiership match against Belle Vue wraps up bottom of the table Peterborough’s campaign but Nicholls is still unhappy with what has happened since the Bank Holiday Monday debacle that saw fans pouring out of the Showground after the clash with Sheffield was cut short with five races left.
Referee Mick Bates, after a trip from the referee’s grandstand box to the pits, called the meeting off after 10 heats, with the Tigers leading 32-28.
The declared result was affected by a glut of punctures which cost the Panthers at least four points (they would have actually been leading after Heat 10 but for the tyre problems) and a major investigation after Ben Basso’s tyre exploded in the final completed race.
Subsequently, Anlas carried out their own investigations into reasons for the tyres shredding to pieces and their Marketing Manager Fatih Ergun flew to London with three big boxes of newly-manufactured tyres with a harder core that were then used, amid controversy, for Peterborough’s next match against Ipswich.
Peterborough haven’t raced since that night (Monday, September 5) but again both them and Belle Vue riders are expected to be allowed to use two of the new, reinforced tyres, for their encounter.
Nicholls, at 44, one of speedway’s elder statesmen having made his debut for Peterborough in 1994, is still unhappy about the whole saga claiming: “For me, this is a major safety issue and I’m prepared to be stubborn about that.
Compromise? Doesn’t come into it as far as Scott Nicholls is concerned when safety’s the issue, as he tells PETER OAKES…
“A lot of people will whinge and I’ll probably have repercussions along the line but if it’s something I feel strongly about I’m not going to roll over.”
The seven-times British Champion, who has also been riding for Championship Oxford this summer, was the only rider in a post-match debrief after the Ipswich meeting.
He said: “I think I have always wanted to try and be positive and look at the good things and I have to say thank you to Mr. Ergun for coming over. Because he came over from Turkey to be at Peterborough, he was getting it left, right and centre, from myself included!
“They are trying to develop the tyres but Peterborough is a track that has always been hard on tyres, they have had a problem at
Peterborough and the situation has always been hard but the problem we had with Anlas is a tyre was exploding.
“As a rider, that’s a big concern and where I have been coming from is the safety issue.
“The biggest thing, the biggest problem I have, is there’s been a massive, massive lack of communication from whoever is in charge of our sport, whoever is in control of this tyre situation, whether it is one person or a consortium, their communication has been shocking and disgusting.
“The fact we turned up the other week and were told one and a half hours before the meeting that there’s a new tyre that’s been developed that should be better, whoever brokered that deal didn’t tell us until 90
minutes before our first race.
“No way could the tyres have got from Turkey to Britain in an hour and a half so someone must have known about it. Since Brexit, that shipment was expected to have taken at least, what would you say, two or three days so why weren’t we told earlier?
“The meeting was on TV, does this sport want to shoot itself in the foot constantly?
“I’m happy to work with Anlas or whoever might be manufacturing the tyres, to develop a tyre until it’s good.
“I don’t think it is possible to get a tyre that’s going to last five or six races on a track, you have got to be realistic about that. We are looking for the impossible to get a tyre, any tyre, to last that long but we should never be
THERE’S A TIME F
2 speedway star September 17, 2022