Newcastle Speedway’s three teams enjoy successful practice and there’s an unexpected Team manager change …..
(Photos courtesy of Steve Brock Photography)
Newcastle Stadium’s Brough Park track finally saw action on Sunday afternoon, the first time in nearly 20 months, in a strictly behind closed doors practice and press session which saw the usual round of photographs, interviews, and TV footage grabbed with all the Diamonds, Gems and Sapphires looking eager to get on with the serious business from next weekend.
The first rider on track, who may have regretted his pole position, Ben Barker, the Diamonds’ number one, seemed to pick up drive off the second bend and fall awkwardly, his bike tipping back on top of him ending his afternoon’s racing with fractures to the fingers on his left hand. Following a trip to the hospital, the breaks were confirmed, but Barker himself is keen to suggest he will be fit for Friday and Sunday’s away, then home Knockout Cup clash with the Edinburgh Monarchs. He is due at the hospital again on Tuesday, and if it becomes apparent, he won’t be fit, then contingency plans will be activated to cover his absent rides.
However, as the lads on the track were looking faster with each outing, behind the scenes an unexpected drama was unfolding as club boss, Rob Grant explained: “It’s with regret that we have to reveal that we have had to let our team manager, Darren Hartley, go from his position which has unfortunately become untenable. “When I took over Newcastle Speedway,”
Grant continued, “I needed a band of people with me to keep the club in safe hands, well-run, and efficiently run with the view of keeping this venture very much long-term, and in Darran Hartley, I believed the team to be in safe hands, but after a few no-shows, and most importantly today, at our press launch for the 2021 season, when he failed to turn up, and we could not manage to catch him on the phone, so really our hands were tied and it was agreed between myself and Dave Tattum that we need to look elsewhere for team management. “It’s a far from an ideal situation to have this happen one week before our first home meeting next Sunday, let alone the cup first leg at Edinburgh on Friday, but we need guaranteed reliability, especially in such a critical position as team manager, so we have already spoken to a candidate, and we can let fans know that Nigel Hinchliffe will be taking up the team reins at Edinburgh on Friday. “We are fully in debt to Nigel’s quick decision, and we’re all excited to have him on board and working with him after his vast experience, with a wealth of knowledge of the rulebook with Sheffield over the last 30 years, so we know he will do a cracking job for us, and our seven guys on track are also looking forward to working with him to make Newcastle Diamonds’ 2021 a season to remember. “We would like to put on record we genuinely wish Darren well for his future, but we were in a tricky situation we had to change with immediate effect.”
Also coming on board will be Chris Roynon, father of Diamonds’ rider Adam, who will temporarily take charge of the job of track curator and prepare the circuit for racing, as he did in the early 2000s when Rob Grant was part of the League Championship-winning side.
The Diamonds open up at Brough Park next Sunday, June 6th with a 4.00pm start time, and doors open at 3.00pm.
Supporters are reminded for the time being with Covid-19 restrictions still in place, capacity is strictly limited and tickets must be booked in advance online via the club’s online ticket portal at…….. www.trybooking.co.uk/BAFV