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Ellis: Too early to think about scrapping season
ADAM ELLIS believes it is too early to make a call on the 2020 British Speedway season but insisted the length of the racing calendar must be financially viable for riders to take part. Total Sport Swindon’s Ryan Walker spoke to the Swindon Robins and Team GB rider from his home in France.
Like many sports, the Coronavirus pandemic has halted the start of speedway leagues around Europe, with not a single bit of shale yet to lift from a track. Britain’s Premiership speedway season should’ve started at the end of March but riders are yet to roar their bikes into life as the country remains on lockdown.
Speaking from his home in France, Swindon’s Adam Ellis gave fans an update on his condition and outlined what he has been doing to keep fit for when speedway once again resumes.
“I’m pretty good, we’re in the countryside so not much is going on at the moment,” said Ellis.
“I started off in Swindon at beginning of March, and then came back to France.
“They’re pretty strict with leaving the house over here.
“You’re only allowed out once a day and if you go for a run it can only be 1km from your home and you have to have a piece of paper saying why you’re out the house,” he said.
“It’s mainly just home workouts that I’m doing with lots of cardio. Obviously you’re limited but there is always stuff to keep active.
“I did a training exercise with Team GB over Skype yesterday so hopefully that might be a bit more often,” added Ellis.
Like many athletes, employment as a speedway rider is a self-employed profession with riders being given season-long or extended contracts by their respective clubs.
However being self-employed has its pitfalls and after spending the winter getting bikes and equipment ready for the 2020 season, the recent Coronavirus pandemic has left many riders out of pocket.
When discussing the financial impact on riders, Ellis explained that the stoppage couldn’t have come at a worst time, before revealing that official communication has told him to prepare for a mid-June start.
“It’s a tough time for everyone involved in the sport,” said Ellis.
“It couldn’t happen at worst time and I’ve spent a lot of money building up to the start of the season.
“You’re focused on making money back in March, making the money you’ve spent over the winter,” he added.
“You can’t put a price on people’s lives though, as frustrating as it is it’s important people stay safe.
“The clubs try and keep us in the loop but they don’t have all the answers. No one knows what’s going to happen.
“At the moment they’re saying they’d like it to kick-off in June but there’s a lot of talk that lock-down may go on till the end of June.
“It’s good to set mid-June as a start point but I’d be surprised if that happens,” said Ellis.
The standard British racing season typically runs from March through to October with teams taking place in league and cup fixtures.
But with the season being postponed, it will be undoubtedly be hard to fit in the programmed fixtures.
When asked for his opinion on what should happen, Ellis admitted that scrapping the Premiership Supporters Cup for a year may be one option whilst adding that unfortunately delaying racing until next year is a realistic outcome if racing doesn’t get underway in the coming months.
"I’m not too sure what should happen, it’s a tough one,” stated Ellis.
“I can’t see many riders wanting to race if there’s only six or seven meetings for the season.
“We spend a lot of money on everything so in my view if the season is too short it’s not worth doing it from a financial point of view.
“I’m not too sure what will happen that’s down to the clubs, we’ll just keep ourselves ready.
“It would be a shame to get rid of the cup but that’s possibly an option,” he added.
“This isn’t something that has happened before and it’s a one-off.
“It’s tough to decide what will happen and it all depends when we can start the season. If we were racing twice a week for three months then it wouldn’t be too bad.
“No one wants to scrap the season off, it’s still early April so it’s early days to be talking about scrapping the season yet,” said Ellis.
After signing for Swindon in 2017, Ellis, 24, has enjoyed unprecedented success in Swindon colours winning the Premiership title in his debut season with the club, before securing league and cup success with Swindon last year.
Having enjoyed a period of club success in Britain, Ellis said he is now focused on making improvements to his riding as he targets a future in the Speedway Grand Prix series.
“I want to keep progressing my personal development this season,” said Ellis.
“With Swindon, my main goal is to win the league again but It will be difficult to do that again.
We were fairly dominant towards the end of the season and that’s what we want again.
“The main goal for me is to keep progressing, I want to finish the season a better rider than what I started it,” he added.
“Of course I do think the Grand Prix’s a realistic aim, I wouldn’t be racing if I didn’t think I could make it to Grand Prix level.
"But I know I need to step it up and get it done now.
“Jason Doyle’s the perfect example to follow. He turned his career around with his dedication to it and it's great to learn from him,” said Ellis.