NEWS: Horspath hit by ultimatum

Horspath Cycle Speedway Club have been dealt an ultimatum by British Cycling, with further conditions for their inclusion in BCF matches for the 2015 season required, on top of the heavy £500 fine and rider bans for the incident that took place in the 2014 British Indoor Team final.

It’s understood that British Cycling won’t be sending any referees to the Village unless certain conditions are met. These include security presence, a signed letter by every Horspath rider stating that they will behave and a requirement that Horspath ban David Carmichael and Ryan Taylor extended beyond the 4 month ban and fine at least one of the pair received.

Other conditions have also been imposed on the Hammers, for which the details aren’t clear at this stage. Horspath committee members met on Sunday night and have been rumoured to agree to some of the terms but not all.

Horspath win the 2014 Elite League Title

Horspath win the 2014 Elite League Title

It would seem British Cycling are making an example out of Horspath. Although the behaviour of two of their riders at the Indoor was unacceptable and ugly, these conditions come across as a bit over the top. The Village can boil over at times, but that’s what makes racing there exciting.

The £500 fine and bans should probably have been enough. The former is a lot of money to a small village club like Horspath. The Hammers have reputation for sponsoring Elite riders and splashing the cash, but this is all through external sponsorships. The fine imposed will have taken up close to if not their entire season’s income. It’s the equivalent of a multi-million pound fine for a premier league football side.

It’s certainly peculiar that a request has been made to shut out Carmichael and Taylor beyond any official ban. Other riders have got less in the past. Some incidents of verbal and threatening behaviour abuse also escaped punishment last season. In other disciplines, on one of the biggest stages of all, many will remember Paralympian cyclist Jody Cundy losing it and threatening officials. Subsequently no trace can be found (by us at least) that a ban or fine was issued by BCF for his behaviour in front of millions.

Jody Cundy famously erupts at the 2012 Paralympic games in London - no ban or fine issued?

Jody Cundy famously erupts at the 2012 Paralympic games in London – no ban or fine issued?

Sport is built on passion and some find it easier than others to control temperament. Yes, we need to make sure Cycle Speedway is a safe and non-threatening environment, not just to officials, but to riders and spectators alike. However, it also needs to be handled delicately as losing a team like Horspath would be devastating to the sport. Especially bearing in mind some of their members have such a positive influence on the sport’s future and would be a massive loss.