If you have a goal or dream, go for it. Do everything to get there before life passes you by.” Jerry Toliver, Speedway rider
On Saturday 19th it was my friend’s birthday, and being a Speedway fan it was perfect that Coventry’s Brandonapolis had been postponed from March to the day before her birthday. So as a special birthday treat a group of four of us went to the Coventry Speedway meeting on Friday 18th October.
The birthday girl, Amy, was the only one who was a big fan out of the four of us. Olivia, had been to a meeting before so knew what was going on, but after our early arrival at 7pm until the starting time 7:30pm Nat and I asked question after question trying to understand what would be happening. Our terminology was corrected (often) and by the time the meeting started we kind of understood what was going on, yet I was a bit unsure as to why Speedway was so amazing in Amy’s eyes, what was it that made her such a fan? Why did she enjoy watching 16 riders drive around getting muddy?
At 7:30 my questions were answered and for 2 hours I was mesmerized at the whole event. Chris Harris (Bomber) and Ben Barker were Amy’s favourite riders. Jakub Jamrog had my favourite bike (it was covered in swallows), he didn’t do that well finishing the evening with a total of 3 points. He did however have a magnificent fall from his bike, Jamrog did a jam-roll and the race was restarted. My personal favourites of the evening were Kenneth Bjerre and Bjarne Pedersen who both did really well but at the end of the evening it was the 3rd in the world who respectfully won the meeting… Niels-Kristian Iversen.
I really enjoyed the meeting and it was amazing to spend an evening in Amy’s world… Next we need to go on a Scuba Dive together so that she can understand my world 🙂 and as I was thinking about this I wondered what the similarities and differences were between our two hobbies. What was it that our two sports had in common? What was it that kept them apart? And it’s once that you take a step back that you realise how similar these two sports are.
Let’s start with the differences between the two of them.
Setting. Scuba diving is done in the water whether that’s in the sea, river, cenote or lake, all across the world wherever there is water Scuba Diving has probably been done in, whereas in Speedway you need to find a good shale arena to ride on.
Competitive vs. non-competitive. Speedway is very competitive, simply looked at sayings or quotes from famous racers makes you realise how competitive the whole affair is. ‘For us there is no difference between second and tenth, it’s win or nothing‘ Denny Hamlin ‘Winning is everything. The only ones who remember you when you come second are your wife and your dog’ Damon Hill ‘No such thing as bad win or a good loss’ Warren Johnson
On the other hand you have Scuba diving and it’s relaxing no rush, non-competitive atmosphere where you disappear beneath the surface to explore a land more unknown than the surface of Mars, and knowing that you feel special, there’s no need to race when it comes to Scuba Diving.
No brakes vs. ‘Form of Meditation’. Linking back to the last point, Speedway bikes are made without brakes, as it says on the front of the Brandonapolis program ‘No brakes. No fear. No Mercy.’ Compare this to what my friend (who is a Dive Master) says in every single dive briefing, ‘Diving is not a sport, it is a form of meditation’
Amount and cost of gear. If you compare the amount of gear needed for Speedway and to Scuba Dive to a game like football or netball the comparison is unbelievable. For football all you need is a ball, shorts, t-shirt, socks and boots. For diving you need wetsuit or drysuit depending where you are diving, BCD, tank, octopus, fins, mask snorkel etc… The cost of upmarket fins for a Scuba Diver can be up to 4 times the price of a pair of football boots.
The type of clothing is also similar, as a friend of mine said ‘You have to wear a onesie for both of them’
Polish and Germans. Not a very good subtitle, so I’ll explain. In Speedway there is one country which Speedway is a major sport, where many great Speedway riders come from, Poland. Although not many people realise it the Polish are in fact very good Speedway riders.
Reflecting upon this I realised it was the same thing for diving but in a different country. Germans. Although I’m not sure if the statistic is accurate I have been told that 70% of Germans are divers, this is a huge amount of them! It’s not a surprise though, they are great manufacturers for reliable diving gear, for example they invented the DIN valve, hence the D; Deutsch, the word for German in German.
Team sport. Both of the sports no matter how different in their motto are very similar when you think about the team side of it. From day 1 at diving school you are taught that you should never dive on your own. Your buddy classes as your team, you work together during a dive, you point things out to each other, and if one has a problem the other helps him.
Although the Coventry Brandonapolis was an exception, Speedway is mostly done in teams, each member racing members from the other team, trying to score points for his team.
Those who don’t know about it know NOTHING about it. When I first started diving I knew nothing about it, and I mean nothing, all I knew was that divers had a tank on their back. It was the same about Speedway, some people have heard about it but many people hadn’t ever heard about it. I suppose you could say that for any sport, but I knew what Lacrosse or Football was long before ever trying it out myself or visiting a match, I suppose it’s common knowledge. Yet there doesn’t seem to be a common knowledge that everyone shares about Diving of Speedway compared to Football, a lot of people remain in the dark about these two topics for a lot of their lives. It’s a shame really.
Complicated terminology. Only those who do the actual sports will understand what your going on about. Only other divers or riders will understand what you mean when you start talking about ‘deco’ ‘greasy track’ ‘narced’ ‘spill’ ‘bar’ ‘clipped’ etc…
Well known people, also known as ‘famous people’. As in many sports there are those who are well known by everybody, be it Niels-Kristian Iversen famous for being 3rd in the world or Jacques Yves Cousteau and his innovation in modern day diving.
Specially designed gear. The bikes in Speedway differ to normal bikes you’ll find on the road, Speedway bikes aren’t any ordinary bikes, they’re specifically made to go left or anticlockwise on the track. In diving it’s a little different but you have Sidemount to go into the caves and Rebreathers when a gas supply is limited.
Overall the two sports aren’t all that different, although they appear to be completely on the opposite side of the spectrum. The weekend was great fun and I will definitely be going back to Speedway with Amy in the future. And I will be taking Amy diving with me in the future.
“The most intense thing you do. Whatever makes you see stars. Whatever trips your trigger and makes you forget anything else that’s going on in your life. The ultimate roller coaster ride.” Clay Millican,Top Fuel Dragster driver