Sunday, May 24, 2015

End of the season, end of an era

Another season bites the dust, and with it also, I have decided to quietly retire this website. June 2nd marks the 10th anniversary of my first posting and after a decade of telling people what I thought about each and every meeting I went to, I don’t think there is much more to say. To be honest, its been pretty tough to get much out there that hasn’t already been covered in depth on Facebook. Facebook is slowly but surely managing to destroy all that went before it! Whether or not that’s a good thing is down to personal opinion, but it is amazing how quickly the internet world moves on and it feels as though the traditional speedway websites are falling by the wayside. I guess it comes down to how long you want to spend working on a website and Facebook is certainly easier to upload to although most posts last little more than a day before they are lost in the ether. It is quite amazing to be watching updates, photos, live laps, video and whatever else you can imagine being uploaded before punters have even finished their first round of hotdogs.

Technology is moving at such a pace and the sport of Speedway has never been at the cutting edge of any trend, quite the opposite, a niche sport that holds on to its past and its traditions with a vice-like grip. I sense there will be a day of reckoning very soon when change will come, or when this open access we have enjoyed for years is addressed one way or another, there have already been a few speed bumps and threats made, and at some point I think someone is going to get burned. It all comes down to money of course and no tradition, good intention or hustle will ever go unpunished if there is a buck to be made. With my hand on my heart I can honestly say I doubt I have made a cent out of the sport but I have loved doing the website, taking photos and publishing five yearbooks… and I don’t regret it for a moment. There is a fine line though between fans photos and videos, and Speedway Clubs and Promoters rights and its a blurry line at the moment. Its funny how many times I've seen this argument come up on Macgors and Facebook over the years and I for one, don't have the answer. Is one robbing the other, does one promote the other? Is there a pot of gold to be made from Speedway?

I’ve certainly enjoyed sharing my thoughts and photos and have had a lot of good feedback over the years, culminating in an award for Best Website at the SNZ awards last season, and a nomination for the same again at this years awards. A nice note to go out on. I also won an award for a book I did two years ago which Im very proud of. I’ll still be going to as many meetings as I can in the future, some things never change. Also the camera will still be getting a good thrashing and I’m sure if there is a meeting that’s so good and I’m bursting to write about it then the ‘spectator’ webpage will get an update, never say never I believe is the saying. The actual website will still be there to read, there is 10 years of results if anyone is bored or needs to reference it, I certainly don't mind.

There are a few people Id like to thank also who have helped along the way, Gordon MacDougall the man behind Macgors and a pioneer of the online presence of Speedway and one of the people who has inspired me to write. A recent Facebook mob attack of his website was bizarre and lasted over a week. I watched in amazement as people not only demanded his website be shut down but also made accusations that were baseless and untrue and then as various moderators names were dragged through the mud, even to the extent of seeing one of them have their workplace posted (what, so you can attack him at work too, not just on Facebook) I just thought it was a embarrassment and turned into exactly what they had criticised Macgors for! How ironic. Anyway, I thought it was unfair and I don't know how he kept his composure because I wouldn't have. He is an incredible Speedway fan, sponsor and champion of the sport.  His website has been the major source of readers for mine, I have unashamedly used it to source hits and views and 'likes' which is what we all measure ourselves by in this new computer age. In fact many people "who never read or visit that site" have used it to promote, sell and gain exposure.

There are a few photographers who have helped me from day one with my books and photos I've needed for the website updates, people like Brendon Learmonth, Jason Prussing, Graham Hughes, Andrew Hamblyn, Craig Baker, Go Slideways, Yas Dolbel, Mikey Burgess, Philip Scott, Wal Joines and I'm sure many more over the years. I've always admired the people that go out there and do something that helps the sport usually for little reward. Catching up with people at various meetings is one of my favourite parts of the sport, my Palmy Teams pilgrimage each year is one of the best, trading programmes and cussing each others teams all part of the fun. Wal Joines, Glen Tamatea, Markus Makea, Ricky Rewiri, Angela 'Panthers' Dougherty, Troy Adamson, Dan Neville, Barry Brown, Mathew Percival, Ivan Smeats, Dave Shaw, and many more. Also to the drivers that take the time out to say hi and talk speedway.

If this was the Oscars, the music would be playing now and the hook would be coming from the side of the stage, so I better finish off. If you a have passion for this sport, whether its as a driver, promoter, crew, fan or just a punter that just goes for the hot chips, you have every right to an opinion, but you also need to remember that pointless attacks, bitter comments and baseless 'facts' hurt the sport. Maybe a few moments thinking before hitting that enter button on your keyboard might make a world of difference. I've tried to make this website an interesting read but at the same time a good reflection of what I thought of the meetings I went to. Its not surprising, but a negative review ALWAYS got a massive amount of views over a positive write up about a decent nights racing. What does that say about us? Perhaps thats why bad news always gets an airing before anything positive - this is not an attack on Speedway folk, its just the society we live in sadly.

Finally and most importantly, go the Allstars!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done chief, hats off to ya, always enjoyed your write ups, all the best see, Seth McConchie