continued from previous page honest truth,” says Lee. “Terry (Russell) said, ‘we want you to remain at the club and be a part of it in the future, it would be a nice step forward for the future, would you like to take the role on?’ At which point I said, ‘absolutely’, there was no part of me that was going to turn down the chance.
“To be honest, it’s only an extension of what I had been doing as commercial manager anyway. There were a few more responsibilities that I had to take on, nothing that I wasn’t prepared to do or wasn’t aware of, so it was quite an easy one really.
“I took the team manager’s reins for one meeting but it was still commercial activities, which was what I was doing – advertising, promoting, booking, sponsorship. Nothing really changed until we got to the end of the year when I had to go to the AGM, then work with Rosco (Alun Rossiter) for the signings and the contracts for 2020.”
Clearly he’s ambitious and has his own ideas of how to move the sport forward nationally, as well as locally. Therefore, when the time comes and Russell is ready to hand over the club, would he like control?
“Absolutely, there is no fear from me, I want to do well at promoting at Swindon and give it my all,” he replies confidently. “We had that discussion when Terry offered me the position, with the potential of taking it over long-term with Rosco – as it was said in the press.
“We are about making the club financially sustainable through sponsorship, crowd levels and other activities and that has to be how Swindon must work because if Terry does step back then we’ve lost that chairman/owner who is able to financially back the club. That’s the bottom line. I’d love to carry on the family connection with Swindon Speedway in the hot seat.”
The Robins’ double feat was made sweeter because it was achieved during the club’s platinum anniversary. In order to mark that occasion the team wore traditional racejackets against Ipswich on August Bank Holiday, which proved to be very striking and popular with the public.
The management are hoping to incorporate that more customary design into their suit for next season, although the demands of sponsorship are uppermost in their minds.
“I’ve thought a lot about our history because my dad was part of it. I dare say had I not had that connection maybe we wouldn’t talk about it as much,” he admits.
“The fact that we’ve got a team manager, co-promoter, who was a mascot in the 70s and then he rode, so between us we bring history up all the time. I think it’s important that we have that relationship with what has gone on in the past. ‘Looking back, but racing forward’ has been our slogan in house this year.
“We do want to look back at what we achieved but we are about going forward. We can’t think about how great it was, we have to think about how great we can become.
“The history of the club and the Legends’ Lounge is so very important. We’ll always embrace that. I know other clubs have made decisions where they don’t embrace that as much, they’re moving on and moving forward, but we have and always will. All our ex-riders are always welcome to come to Swindon, they’re everything that we are about.
“We’ve had some incredible riders down the years – too many to name, that’s for sure. You can show kids video footage of the 60s and 70s, compared with now it’s bland and
• Dad Bob in action for Swindon in 1976
boring. I look at a picture of Barry Briggs, Martin Ashby and Mike Broadbank and I love it.
“My son looks at it and sees a bike that has no colour to it, no imagination to it, riding in boring leathers; he looks at it now and sees Doyley or Rasmus Jensen that are full of colour and full of life. So it’s very much about the sport now and what it brings.”
Lee is the new generation of promoters. And let’s face it, British speedway is in need of administrators that are more youthful and have a better understanding of the digital era which promises to be the most challenging yet for the sport – with more focus on the environment, transportation supposedly going electric and the internet has shrunk the globe with ‘social meddler’ being a jungle of mammoth proportions which has spread like knot-weed. In keeping with this image of the new breed, Kilby used social media to display his mood with an amusing series of photos that illustrated how his first
BSPA conference was turning out.
“One of the discussions at the AGM was getting in touch with the public a bit more, it would be good to keep people informed of what was happening and it was just a silly way of saying what was going on. I think the pictures I put out kind of told people where we were at.
“There were a couple of times where I could have put one out which would have been slightly different! I think people quite liked it, I think they liked the idea that they were in touch with what was going on without knowing what was going on. It was silly but it was me communicating with the Swindon fans.”
So how did he find his first BSPA AGM? “It was as I expected it to be. I met most of the promoters at the pre-AGM and I think the Kilby name goes before me. I’m not just a new promoter that’s got no connections with speedway, the door is slightly open and the reception slightly better than for someone who is unknown because of Dad, because of what he achieved. It was slightly easier because of that.
“I’ve always had a level of respect for promoters anyway because they keep our sport going with their respective clubs. All of them have got different responsibilities and different things that they have to work with.
“Having spent a few days in their company listening to their outlook on their clubs, a lot of criticism that they get is unjust in my opinion.
“Ultimately, I enjoyed it, I enjoyed being a part of it and there was an element of pride for me being a promoter of a speedway club. I’m never going to race a bike, that ship has sailed and well and truly been sunk! I want to try and connect with people as much as I can, get supporters on board a bit more with what promoters are doing.”
Even though their combined team average
• Lee and Alun Rossiter celebrate Swindon’s 2019 triumph
8 speedway star January 4, 2020