Glasgow Tigers secure Saturday night speedway

Action at Ashfield (pic by Ian Adam)
Action at Ashfield (pic by Ian Adam)

Saturday night will be alright for riding next season after Glasgow Tigers secured permission for a change in race meeting days.

The switch from a Sunday afternoon has been approved by the sport's bosses, meaning the return to the city of speedway under the floodlights for the first time this century.

And Tigers' Peugeot Ashfield Stadium has also been selected to host one of British speedway's biggest meetings next season, following a major shake-up of the sport in the UK at the agm of speedway promoters.

The Premier League has been rebranded the Speedway Great Britain (SGB) Championship, with the top flight now known as the SGB Premiership. Promotion and relegation between the leagues has been introduced.

And the Peugeot Ashfield Stadium will host the Championship Riders' Individual, a major move for the event which usually attracts thousands of fans to Sheffield each September and sees the cream of the second tier going head-to-head for the title. A date for the event is still to be confirmed.

Tigers owners Michael and Gerry Facenna explained the reasoning behind their decision to apply for the change to Saturday night speedway.

They said: “We have now been at the helm for two seasons and in this time we have managed to double attendances on a Sunday, which is great; however the increase in attendances we experienced in our first season of ownership wasn’t repeated in our second season and this is despite significant investment in marketing, such as our billboard campaign around the city.

“In order to fund a competitive team that is going to challenge for trophies, the club has to stand on its own two feet financially and it’s no secret that the club is losing money. Whilst we are in the fortunate position of being able to cover the deficit, it is not in our nature to run anything at a loss and this is one of the reasons we have decided to apply to move to Saturday night racing, to see if we can further increase the attendances.

“The alternative is to cut our cloth based on current income and operating costs, however this would result in a much less competitive team and we are certain Glasgow Tigers fans do not want to go back the way in this regard. As we’ve said from day one, if and when the cub starts to turn a profit, 100% of this will be reinvested into the club.

“We are very aware of the fact that we have raced on a Sunday afternoon for the last 17 years and that our proposed change will not suit everyone, but in a city of 600,000 people it would be remiss of us not to explore other options to further bolster our income. We will honour last season’s pledge that there will be no increase in ticket prices next year.

“A lot of the initial increase in attendances came from speedway fans coming back, where they had perhaps fallen out of love with the sport or the dilapidated state of Ashfield. We now need to grow our following further and we believe there is a better chance of doing so by moving to evening racing.

“It is no coincidence that the vast majority of other speedway teams up and down the country race at night. The consensus is that speedway is a better spectacle under floodlights and unquestionably the track is easier to prepare and maintain, which in turn will create better, more exciting racing, as could be seen in our KO Cup final against Newcastle.”