The Cook Report


Jon Cooks Programme notes from the Belle Vue meeting, relating to The Hammers Fans Forum are published below.

Good evening all and welcome back to the Raceway for what is, due to FIM meetings, our only match in a five week period.

Two back to back Grand Prix and the Speedway World Cup means that this is our only opportunity to start to turn our season around in that period, a far from ideal situation but one beyond our control.

Tonight we hope to enter the Arena with a full team and that’s certainly the case as these notes are written. AJ’s return can’t come soon enough and we believe it will give us the fillip we need to kick start the year.

Whilst we had a three week break from racing, last Friday I enjoyed a thoroughly productive and thought provoking evening in the company of many of you. Firstly I thank everyone there for taking the time to turn out and also for the very frank and forthright views expressed.

For those not able to attend the main reason for the meeting was to update on the future here and talk about our wretched run of results.

With regards to the future,  the clock is ticking on our current venue here with a pre planning application having been sent to the Council, however, that’s not to suggest that all is doom and gloom.

Far from it, in fact as we’ve already had positive talks with the council and feel that the chances of relocating in the Borough are high.  In short we confirm the Hammers will stay in Essex, here until the doors are locked, and then, hopefully, at a new venue, perhaps even within walking distance of where you read this.

To help with our ultimate aim of securing our own Essex home the fans present approved the addition of Thurrock to our name if it was required by the Borough, which may well be the case.

The other main topic was the team and while we feel that we will return to our pre AJ injury form I reiterate what I said last Friday that if we are still struggling and we can accommodate a better rider’s average, then we would make a change if such rider or riders are available. I repeat that I believe this team still has potential to go forward together and has our support at this time.

Away from our future and form, I was in complete agreement with the very intelligent views expressed on the current state of the Sport and the dislike of guests and dismay at the effect of FIM meetings on our fixture list. A regular race night, certainly a Saturday if we have our own home, and more meetings are an absolute requirement from the views expressed.

To that end a vote was taken on preferred league if the Elite proved beyond us and Premier was a clear preference to National, although I stress that in its current form that League holds no interest to me or Mr Douglas, although an expanded regional version would be right up our street.

A really worthwhile evening and one I promise we’ll repeat once concrete news of how much longer we have here is known.

Best comment of the night was that every member of the BSPA should take the time to meet their fans before decisions are taken. I think the Sport would be in a better state if that was the case and we’ll be suggesting that to the powers that be.

Now on to tonight’s League match against the Belle Vue Aces, before we return here in three weeks for what will prove to be a busy eight days as we have been allocated a Sky meeting on Monday June 22nd,  subject to the British Final not being rained off the week before and restaged on that day. We will keep our meeting with King’s Lynn on the Friday 19th June, as finding new dates is very difficult with FIM clashes and it’s perhaps our luck that if we move that match, the British Final will be rained off! We will offer a discount of some kind to fans who attend both meetings, details of which will be announced tonight.

Image: The Arena Essex Raceway. Credit Rob Newell/ TGS Photo