The New Slide King

The unstoppable Australian speedway talent machine has been in full swing in recent years, producing riders of tthe calibre of World U21 champion Darcy Ward and new Grand Prix recruits Chris Holder and Tai Woffinden. Although Tai has chosen to ride wearing the Union Jack, he is still very much a product of the Australian system.

The latest name to add to that list is fourteen year old Arthur Sissis, but by the looks of it he may well be lost to the shale sport, as he has made the recent switch to tarmac, having won a place in the prestigious Red Bull Rookies cup which aims to unearth the future stars of Moto GP. He raced in the competition in 2009 and is on the provisional entry list for 2010.

Sissis wouldn't be the first Aussie to make such a switch, as Casey Stoner raced junior speedway and dirt-track, and Gary McCoy also started out in speedway.

Meanwhile in good old Blighty, we struggle to produce riders who can compete at the highest level in both speedway and circuit racing. There are the occasional talents who still emerge through but it is more a case of despite the system rather than because of it. Dorna, the organisers of Moto GP, have resorted to developing young British racers in the highly successful Spanish system and riders such as Bradley Smith, Scott Redding and Danny Webb are starting to prove the worth of such an initiative.

The ACU and BSPA really need to study how other countries seem to consistently produce a conveyor belt of young riders who posses the ability to race on the world stage on both shale and tarmac. They need to learn from these countries and have the resolve to put in place youth development schemes that will produce the British World Champions of the future.

Red Bull Rookies - http://www.redbullrookiescup.com/riders_detail_2010.php?id=47
Doug McFarlane - http://community.webshots.com/user/maccattack


  1. I'm glad you've updated the blog, because I like your style but you're falling into the British trap of looking at other countries and thinking we are failures. Kids come out Australia's dirt track and speedway scene as opposed to the UK speedway scene, because Aus authorities didn't let kids race on tarmac, so everyone started on dirt, even thought they had their eyes on short circuits. Speedway kids in the UK come from hardcore speedway families. The UK is spoilt with junior MX and Aprilia Superteen championships for nippers.
    And we are producing great racers. Crutchlow, Laverty, Camier (a former junior grasstrack champ), Toseland, Hodgson, Fogarty, how far do you want to go back. No, they're no Stoner (except Fogarty who could have been a multiple GP winner), but they're at least as good as McCoy (and that's not damning anyone with faint praise).
    Anyway, I find it a bit distasteful to have kids racing 140mph motorbike before they even have a full complement of hairs on their balls, so let's stop hero worshipping teens. It's not healthy.

  2. Hi Gary, I should firstly say that the Sideburn Blog was my main inspiration to start Keep Turning Left, so much respect is due to you and Ben for all that you do with the blog and of course the magazine itself.

    I started KTL in the summer when I had a bit of time on my hands (and not much work,) but over the past few months, a combination of much more work, a busted computer and a crying baby have limited my blogging endeavours...

    As far as the comments go, I guess I was coming more from the speedway side of things, and making the comparison with the lack of British success in Moto GP, 250's and 125's over the past couple of decades. In all honesty, I did completely overlook the Superbike scene, where there has certainly been no lack of British success over the years. I guess the lack of British success in Moto GP has more to do with politics and sponsorship than anything else.

    It is interesting to learn how the Australian system works, I'll admit I had no idea that tarmac racing for kids was banned there. It is also difficult to argue with your comments about kids racing 140mph bikes. Perhaps the Aussies do have the right idea.

    There remains a major problem on the speedway front though, where over the past 15 years (and 122 Grand Prix's) there have only been 4 British GP winners. In Denmark and Sweden, there are a huge number of junior riders racing 80cc speedway bikes, and it is paying dividends.

    If the British speedway bosses together with the ACU took steps to introduce similar junior speedway facilities in the country, perhaps it would un-earth speedway AND tarmac racing champions of the future.

    Cheers Dave C.