Riders on track at King's Lynn as speedway reacts to 2020 league axe
King's Lynn Stars officials must have appreciated the painful irony when it was announced that UK professional league speedway has been cancelled for 2020 - because there was track action today.
The Saddlebow Road stadium had been booked out by Eastbourne speedway club, which is Dersingham pro Lewis Kerr's second team as well as Lynn.
Kerr, Stars co-promoter Dale Allitt and Stars owner Keith Chapman were all present to digest the bad news.
Lynn are still hopeful of staging individual meetings in October which is the target date for crowds to return to sporting stadia as the country recovers from the coronavirus crisis, as announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last Friday.
Lynn belong to the sport's top flight, the Premiership, and both it and the next-level Championship are classed as an elite sport because riders are paid professionals and therefore get lumped into the same rules as football despite speedway being comparatively a minority sport in the UK.
Stock cars, which despite its big crowds is not classed as an elite sport because the drivers are not paid, is set to restart at the Adrian Flux Arena in early August, and social distancing measures will be in place.
Allitt said today he was shocked, but not surprised, by the news: "I think to be honest it's not a surprise because as it went on we had deadlines to try and get the sport running, really.
"We were very positive early on but as April came to May, May came to June, we knew we needed to get something done by the middle of July, really, as a decision.
"We were still working on it and I said earlier to the guys, when we heard the announcement that stock cars were able to come back on July 25, there was a little bit more hope then. We've contacted local authorities to see where we stood with all that.
"Obviously on Friday was the big announcement from the government that said no sporting stadiums with crowds.
"Things like stock cars are classed as grass roots because they don't get paid whereas our guys do, and some of them are limited companies and VAT-registered.
"So the elite sport is like football - you can't have crowds. Unfortunately the announcement was no crowds until October, so that kind of put the end to that.
"We'd like to run an individual meeting or two or challenges that we can do in October, for lots of reasons like testing the Covid measures going forward. We'll see what we can do. Hopefully next year we will be back to normal."