Well the Aussies gave the Team GB boys a lesson in gating in yesterday's (Saturday) test match and ran out deserving winners at Glasgow.
In spite of Tai Woffinden lowering the Ashfield track record in heat one, there was very little the GB boys could do as the Australian side tore them to shreds in what was actually a thoroughly enjoyable meeting where I believe speedway was the winner.
Alright, alright I know it's a cliche but hear me out….
The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold.
The stadium was bouncing and the atmosphere was electric.
It may only have been a test match / friendly but it felt like a monumental occasion.
It's ticking all the boxes for me so far…
If ever there was any proof needed that these sorts of fixtures need to become a regular thing, this was it. When VRX Motorsport took over the running of the Team GB set up, they made it clear that they had a five year plan. Within year one they have went agonisingly close to winning the inaugural Speedway Of Nations Tournament and put Britain back on the international scene.
So far so good….however the result yesterday would very much suggest that work needs to be done, but we kind of knew that already in truth.
My point is that with a rider like Woffinden leading the charge, all the other guys in the team have something to aspire to and to look to as a blueprint as to what makes the complete speedway rider. Riders like Dan Bewley and Robert Lambers are beginning to make similar inroads towards this and certainly in the case of Lambert, greatness seems very much within his grasp.
Many, including myself believe Lambert to be a GP rider of the future, with many experts including Kelvin Tatum believing he will receive a GP wildcard pick as early as next season. To be fair, there is plenty of evidence to back that claim up. On an individual level this season alone he has been British Champion, British Under 21 Champion and is very much still in the hunt for World Under 21 and European Championship glory. His fantastic performance at the Speedway Of Nations as well as big scores for his British, Polish and Swedish clubs all season long make him one of the form riders currently out with the GP series.
Falling a point short of a run off for the third and final qualifying spot in the GP Challenge will also stand him in good stead for picking up a pick….but that would be fairly harsh on the next man I wish to speak about ….Craig Cook.
There is little doubt that with the exception of his performance in Cardiff, Craig Cook has found life in the GP series extremely tough, but narrowly missing out on a spot in next season's series following a fourth place finish at the GP Challenge will perhaps stand him in good stead for a pick again next season….perhaps. In reality Cook is probably going to have to finish the season in some style to be up for consideration of a wildcard pick and the likelihood is that Lambert would get it before him.
Now Cook is a rider I have been very critical of in the past, but in the last year or so, I have actually began to warm to him a bit. At one time he was one of those riders who’s social media posts left a lot to be desired, but he has since reigned that in. In his interviews on TV he speaks well and comes across very well and is frank and honest in his approach to his racing. Also, his heat 15 win against the Aussies was the stuff of magic and arguably the ride of the day, proving further he can beat the very best.
To me it seems like the Grand Prix stage has almost humbled him a bit and made him a better rider. And to be honest, I wouldn't mind seeing him get another crack at it. These are words I never ever thought I would say!
In an ideal world, Cook would finish the season like a steam train and make the top eight and Lambert would receive a pick giving up three British riders in the GP for the first time in over a decade….now wouldn't that be something! I can't see it happening but there is no reason why it can't happen in the future.
Test matches and such like are a huge step forward for Team GB and their riders and in my opinion they should become a regular fixture on the calendar. Perhaps a best of three series, with the possibility of a different format for each meeting? Who knows?
I guess time will tell….
Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman, have an idea for a feature, or you simply want to chew the fat over all things speedway, you can email me Mythman666@hotmail.com. If your compliments, or indeed gripes can be contained to limited characters. You can send me a tweet @Mythman666.
Until next time...and there will be a next time.
Right I’ll hae’tae gan