FEATURE: The spiralling cost of Cycle Speedway

The 2014 season has largely been an expensive one for riders and clubs alike. On top of heavy petrol prices, which have been the norm for many years now, the levies and increased membership fees have also bumped up the cost of Cycle Speedway, we’ve also recently seen the cost of entering national events has also risen.

This year British Cycling increased their prices pretty much across the board. The reasons for this aren’t overly clear. The figure of Cycle Speedway costing £250,000 a year to run quoted by British Cycling has largely been questioned, with the governing body keen to point out that Cycle Speedway is still cheap in comparison with it’s other disciplines.

Some would argue, that Cycle Speedway volunteers, riders, committee members and parents are the ones who really run the sport. The tracks are self or council funded. The upkeep is done by those listed previously and the cost is shared by club memberships or any revenue brought in by advertising, should the club be so lucky with it’s commercial support. There are no roads that need miles of fencing, expensive timing systems or stewards that need paying for. Everything is done by the people in the sport and the cost is also burdened on them. So why does a government funded body, to the tune of millions of pounds, need to take what little we have from the sport – especially a sport as grass roots and inclusive as Cycle Speedway?

Online entries for the 2014 national championships have risen over 25% in the cases of the Open and Ladies competitions.

 Competition 2013 2014
Under 10s £5.60 £8
Under 16s £8 £8
Ladies £13 £21
Open £15.60 £21

Including admin fee.

Cycle Speedway is already an expensive hobby, a newcomer would need to spend money on a bike and other equipment – they really need to splash the cash a bit further if they have eyes for reaching a high level. Then there are the many road trips. Teams like Edinburgh and Glasgow face massive petrol costs as well as more time spent on the road than is probably sensible! Riders are to-ing and fro-ing across the country for their five rides at the weekend and most get to the point where life takes over and they can’t do it anymore.

The last thing the sport needs is the pockets raided of the people who run it time and time again, with way above inflation percentages – which are confirmed to not be insurance matters. “It’s only £1.50”, but those £1.50s add up and it’s all money going out of the sport when it should be money coming in. People rightly ask, where does the money go (save the indoor air fence this year)? British Cycling’s website still has Elite League Round 2 as it’s headline, round 6 is in a few weeks time. Anyone outside the sport visiting will think nothing happens. So the question is, are these price hikes really that justifiable?