EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: Statement from Lwy Czestochowa
Konrad Cinkowski from the Czestochowa club has released the following statement:
During the European Championship finals in Częstochowa and Poczesna in the audience and pits were lots of well known faces from cycle speedway world. Mike Hack, working as secretary in International Cycle Speedway Federation was of them.
In Poland, Hack was working double duty. Not only he was one of officials of ICSF, but also as a referee. He was a ref for few events but most important was how he rated the championships as a whole.
The Championships were a great success. Many riders competed and we had to have a Polish pre- qualifying tournament, followed by a full three days programme on two tracks to accommodate the racing.
My main disappointment was the number of British riders who withdrew during the week leading up to the championships and the absence of Scotland teams from the Championships.
For Lwy Avia Częstochowa, it wasn’t the first time where they were hosting tournament of this rank. Częstochowa hosted World Championships and Youth World Championships in the past. For PKS Victoria Poczesna it was a debut hosting tournament of this rank. Did both clubs fulfilled the expectations as hosts of European Championships? Both clubs made a big effort to stage the Championships and are to be congratulated.
All clubs are different in terms of facilities, availability, experience and expertise of volunteers and officials; support from local authority, sponsors and local media. They both made the effort to do their best, which is all that can be asked of them. We must remember that our sport is run by unpaid volunteers and cannot be compared to professional sports, with much larger budgets and resources.
Hosting tournaments like this might help with improving popularity of cycle speedway in places like Poczesna.
Mike Hack shares the same view on it and believes that it will be a positive boost not only for the club but also for Poczesna. – The new track at Poczesna was clearly secondary to the long established club at Czestochowa, who have staged international tournaments in the past. The experience will have been good in developing their club and I’m sure they will improve from this first attempt at hosting a European Championship.
After the tournament in Częstochowa riders had a few complains about riding almost at dusk because the lighting on the track at Starzyńskiego 10a street wasn’t giving enough light. We asked secretary of International Cycle Speedway Federation to share his thoughts about it. I fully share the reservations of the riders about racing in near darkness. It wasn’t satisfactory, not just for the riders, but also for the referees and spectators.
The organisers need to ensure that tracks staging evening matches have either suitable floodlighting, or if not, to ensure that matches start on time and finish before twilight, with sufficient time allowed for any contingencies, such as problems with the starting gates.
Second biggest complain raised by riders was the fact that every tournament was stretched in time because of long speeches given by the president of Lwy Avia – Janusz Danek. Mike Hack says that people always complain but it’s normal and you shouldn’t pay too much attention to it. Who could that be referring to? It’s impossible to please everyone all the time.
I hear of complaints about a lack of atmosphere and promotion at big events, but also I hear of complaints when a main organiser tries to inject some passion and enthusiasm into an event. Some will welcome that, others don’t.
Tournaments were dominated by Polish riders. They achieved 2 golden medals in European Team Championships in “Open” and Youth category and same for those categories in Individual Championships.
English riders were able to achieve 2 titles – in Women’s and Veteran categories.
Poland have been the top nation in Europe for the past 15 years. I feel that the England riders are performing better now than they were 10 years ago, but they still have some way to go to catch the Poland riders.
It was a disappointment that England captain Paul Heard and former European Champion Marcin Paradzinski didn’t qualify for the Individual Final, but there was an imbalance in the strengths of riders in the two semi-finals, which of course can happen during an open draw. Paul and Marcin were drawn in the stronger of the two, so several good riders were bound to go out.
It’s happened before of course. I remember watching the 2004 European Final at Bydgoszcz, standing with the 2003 World Champion Dave Hemsley and the 2006 European Champion Damian Wozny.