The Blunsdon Blog

The speedway racing season ends in October but track staff up and down the country work throughout the winter to prepare their tracks for the new season. The Blunsdon Blog shows our winter work at Swindon Speedway. Remember to visit the all singing / colour version on :

Location: Malmesbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Trained as a teacher and then taught for over 20 years at a Wiltshire comprehensive, moving up to the giddy heights of Senior Teacher and then Assistant Headteacher. Taught English and, latterly, Information and Communication Studies (Computing). Gave up teaching and re-trained as a Ceramic Artist and work at The Malmesbury Pottery producing all manner of ceramic artefacts. Also offer computer consultancy work for individuals and small companies, sourcing hardware and software and giving instruction on implementation. Married with 2 children and happily working alongside Gerald and Punch every Thursday at Blunsdon.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Important news about the Blunsdon Blog

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Blog is back up and running

Remember ... the full blog is accessed by clicking this link.

After a torrid time battling with a failing computer (now fixed) the blog is back up to date. Latest offerings on the colour blog include :

A rainy, overcast day nearly puts the lid on our match against Reading ...

An account of the blog's visit to Cowley Stadium, Oxford.

Moore the Merrier ... Andy Moore uses an early morning practice session at Blunsdon to improve his starting technique prior to the match against Lakeside ... and scoops Man of the Match!

In the next couple of days we will be recording "The best decision I never made ..." as said by Terry Russell.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Floodier and floodier ...

Special message for our esteemed promoter, Rosco. Place the mouse on this sentence and press the left hand button twice in quick succession and you'll be magically whisked to the all colour version of the blog!

Wet, wet, wet ... and love is not all around us!

The Blog has been harping on for some time about the need for rain, and we got it in good measure on Thursday when the wet stuff prevented us from running a meeting against our old foes from down the M4, Oxford. It's our first rain off of the season. So that you don't get too down through the lack of action, or the massive inaction, that was Blunsdon on 10th May, the blog is bringing you exclusive pictures and text from our first "Blunsdon Blog Boys" trip of 2007 - to Perry Bar, home of the newly fledged Birmingham Brummies.

But more of that later.

It had been raining throughout the night and the weather forecast was dire. Punch and Gerald were ensconced in the portals of our luxurious staff room discussing the recent televised match from Blunsdon when I arrived. After an uplifting cup of coffee we ventured forth to inspect the track.

Apart from some puddling of water on turn three and a little surface water just prior to the start line we were pleasantly surprised by the state of the track. Certainly we could get a meeting under way if there weren't substantial amounts of rain on the horizon. While they graded and packed the surface I inflated the air fences, hitched them up to the safety fence, hooked up the green netting and spent a little time checking fuel and oil in each air pump.

By 11 o'clock we were beginning to feel the first signs of rain in the air. The track looked good, the fences were all up and were being cleaned by Mick and Roy, while Brian Cox had erected (he'll love that choice of word!) his advertising hoardings.

Recent high winds had displaced a small section of the new fascias in the pits so Steve Masters was soon on hand to repair and replace. Rosco arrived. Together we prepared a new harrow for the track - a very useful piece of steel reinforcing sheet which can dry out and smooth a wet track quite efficiently.

The clouds were looming by the time that Stan Potter arrived to sort out the starting tapes and soon we were rushing for cover as the serious rain arrived.

It rained and it rained (it got "floodier and floodier" as Piglet has it in "Winnie the Pooh and a rainy day".

Rumour had it that Ceefax already had the fixture down as cancelled at lunchtime. We knew it would be off but we had to wait for Terry Russell, Rosco and the Oxford promotion to agree to call it off before we could do anything else.

While Gerald and Punch took the opportunity for a little light blading and some heavy grading and harrowing, Adam (he'd just arrived straight from work), Roy and I began to dismantle the air fence.

By four o'clock the sun was beginning to come out but the damage had been done. By 5 it was pouring down - the right decision had been reached.

In fact, the constant rain should do us good - the water will penetrate deep down into the base and should bind the whole surface together. The light blading (we didn't want to risk the heavy blade incase we were caught out by really heavy rain and the entire track ruined) and grading should have evened out some of the bumps that were appearing in the track when it was bone dry.

Why wait to blade until the track is wet? One, the dry surface is so hard the blade would probably break before any good could be done. Two, blading a dry track turns the surface to useless dust and pulls great chunks out of the surface, thus rendering it rougher than before. Three, the wet shale cuts much better (like soft scoop butter as opposed to the hard stuff). Four, the moisture in the track binds the bladed material together really well.

And so to Birmingham, and the new Perry Bar Stadium!

But you need to go to the all colour version of the Blog to see an account of our visit to Birmingham!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Service resumed - with a bit of luck

Frantic swapping of machines and a very obscure method of connecting to the internet means that the most recent blog is now up and running on the colour site.

To connect and read "Every which way ... you lose!" click on this link.

Thanks for your patience.


The Law according to Sod

Multitudinous apologies to everyone reading the blog, or at least attempting to read the colour version of the blog - problems with a local exchange mean that I am unable at present to upload data to the blog relating to the Eastbourne match and also the Sky match televised on Monday against Peterborough.

As soon as localised problems have been resolved I will post both accounts and update this version of the blog.

Many thanks for you perseverance.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Every which way ... you lose!

The actual blog for the week ending 28th April will be deliayed to take in the Sky Meeting on Monday when the Blog will hopefully be able to un cover some of the mysteries of Sky's coverage of our beloved sport.

Suffice to say that on Thursday we were on to a loser from mid afternoon onwards. With a track as dry and hard as concrete we needed to water on a regular basis right up until the start of the meeting if we were to get the track into the same condition as it was for last week's sensational meeting against Coventry when passing and repassing took place throughout the night.

Everything was going well until the unexpected arrival of some rain clouds at 3.30pm. No rain - just rain clouds. We rang Eastbourne (raining), Oxford (raining), Newport (raining). It was raining everywhere. If we watered and it rained then the meeting would be off. If we halted watering and it rained then we might be all right. If we halted and is didn't rain then we would have dust and single file processions.

It rained, and we halted, but it didn't rain enough. There was no way we could win! And so the meeting was all right but the dust flared up around heat 8 and we had to water to contain it, but only to contain it. The track was OK but not up to the normal standards we have been setting ourselves.

Anyway, I'm off to see Deep Purple at Wembley tonight (Saturday) so expect to be both deaf and traumatised by tomorrow.

Monday, April 23, 2007

An Inspector Calls!

It's been another scorching day at Blunsdon with no sign of any rain at all. Fortunately the supplies of water are topped up and we are able to get on with watering the track very early indeed, just after the fences have been inflated and while Mick Richards is still cleaning them with his pressure washer.

At this stage in the morning all we were concerned about was getting water through the top racing surface and into the base in the hope that the two would bind properly.

What we weren't expecting was the imminent arrival of Speedway Control Bureau track inspector, Colin Meredith, who was to carry out a full inspection prior to the crunch meeting with early season pace setters, Coventry.

To read more about the latest exploits at the Abbey Stadium click on this link for the all colour version of the Blunsdon Blog!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Easter Madness and a mad search for water!

Two meetings inside a week - a bonus edition of the blog can be accessed here via this link.

We battle with the elements (Global Warming included) to get the track ready for two meetings over the Easter period.

For a glimpse behind the scenes you'll need to use the link above to access the latest blog - more pictures, more deathless prose and more eccentric spelling!