The name ‘speedway’ may conjure up images of high-octane races across continents and oceans, but the concept behind the name actually spans back almost a century. Before the days of the Superbike and the crazy gravel-grinding competitions, speedway actually started as a way to demonstrate the prowess of your horse or your car. These days, it’s more common to see kids on scooters than racing cars, but the passion for speedway still prevails, especially in Britain.
The Evolution Of Speedway
The sport originally started as a way of showcasing horse and car agility, with riders competing for the title of ‘King of the Road’. The idea behind the game was to see which animal could outrun or outmanoeuvre the other. In fact, the very first speedway competitions were actually horse races that had been replaced by car races because it was thought that horses couldn’t cope with the speedway tracks that were being built. This was back in 1905, before cars had even reached the stage of being able to compete in races at such a high speed. The idea was to prove that even horses could keep up with the faster cars, which was pretty much a given at the time, as horses are, well, quite slow. The first speedway races were originally intended to take place on a dirt track with a sand track sandwiched in between and were won by a horse named Sunbeam. The speedway track was originally built for use on horse racing days and often had to be closed down during the week due to the increasing number of automobiles. The tracks were built on natural ground, with the exception of one track in Birmingham that had to be built on an artificial surface due to its hilly nature. This was originally done to prevent accidents due to the steep climbs and the rough surface of the track. After the sport lost its original significance as a demonstration sport, it became an Olympic event in 1928 and an annual World Championship round ever since. In Great Britain, we have adopted the sport, with tracks being built all across the country, mainly in northern England and Scotland. There is also a smaller population of ‘speedway riders’ in Wales, who prefer their ponies to wheels.
Why Are We So Attached To Our Scooters?
It’s well known that children are drawn to fast moving objects, which is why kids’ scooters are some of the most popular toys ever. The same principle can be applied to adults, as there is something exciting about riding a vehicle that is faster than you are. The feeling of speed is exhilarating and can be enjoyed by anyone, which is probably why ‘speedway’ has been adopted as an Olympic sport and a regular feature on the motorsport calendar. The thing is, the appeal of speedway is not necessarily linked to motorized vehicles. The same can be said for adult motorbikes, as there is a certain thrill that comes with pedalling hard to catch up with a spirited rider in a racing mood. There are also various bike-related injuries that can occur, especially if you are not careful. It’s also worth noting that many ‘traditional’ bike races, such as the Tour de France, were started as a way to promote the virtues of bike safety and good cycling practices, as well as to bring attention to the plight of cyclists in need (e.g. through the Red Bikes scheme in France). As a result of the Tour de France, many people now see bikes not as a mode of transport, but as parts of a fashion statement. Fashion, after all, is a constantly changing fad, and something that will never go out of style.
The Cost Of A Speedway Bike
This is certainly becoming a trend where we are headed. As previously mentioned, horses were the first and original implementation of speedway. The rules regarding how fast you could go and how many revolutions you could make were fairly straightforward: the faster you went, the faster you appeared to go around the track. The more revolutions you made, the more horsepower you had (at least, in theory). Nowadays, a decent used bike will set you back a five-figure sum, but if you really want to splash the cash, buy a new, unused race bike from the 1950s that has a twin cylinder engine and will do around 65-70 mph. The best part is that you will be able to borrow a motorbike anytime you like for as long as you want, as long as it is returned in good condition. There is also a section of the internet where you can buy and sell second-hand racing bicycles, with the asking price for a non-Olympic racer nearing £7,000. Just check out the Forgotten Bike Shop for more details.
The Final Word
Ultimately, we become attached to things that are familiar to us. This is why technology eventually ends up ruining many aspects of our lives, as it is constantly changing and evolving to make our lives easier. With this in mind, perhaps it is time for us to look at the world of sports in a different light. Maybe what we need is not a revolution, but an evolution. An evolution of sorts to bring back some of the ‘good old days’ when competition was a real test of skill, speed, and endurance, and kids had the energy to play outside all day long.