Promoters Barry Bishop and Martin Widman have made the ‘unpalatable and heart-breaking’ decision to withdraw Isle of Wight Speedway as a associate member of British Speedway Promoters Limited and as a result the Wightlink Warriors and Wizards will not be participating in the National League nor the Midland & Southern Development League this year.
In a statement issued this evening (Wednesday), the club say the decision wasn’t an easy one to make but after much correspondence, it has become clear that the new rules being imposed by the BSPL Board of Directors on to the National League are ‘not right for the Wightlink Warriors in 2021’.
Exactly what the new rules state and what has led to the decision has not been expanded on.
Smallbrook Stadium on the outskirts of Ryde is one of the biggest speedway tracks in the country and is often said to be one of the best. Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, the Wightlink Islanders were considered a top flight club in the Premier League and helped produce world-class riders including Chris Holder, Davey Watt and Adam Shields.
However, the no-brakes racing came to an end on the Island at the end of the 2013 season. In 2015, the duo of Bishop and Widman stepped in to bring racing back to the Island with many volunteers, sponsors, officials and riders working tirelessly to make it happen. When speedway action returned in 2016 it was hoped that the club would excel through the National League and into the Premier League once more, but those plans failed too materialise.
Now, the promoters say they need some time to focus their thoughts about the future of the club and whilst today’s decision will mean no league speedway at Smallbrook for 2021, it does not signal the end of speedway activities, initially starting with training as soon as the current restrictions allow.
Both Barry and Martin would like to thank everyone for the tremendous support since speedway returned to the Isle of Wight and they look forward to seeing you all again very soon.