AUSSIE ACE CHRIS HOLDER INSISTS HE DID THE RIGHT THING IN TAKING A STAND OVER SAFETY, DESPITE FACING A NINE-MONTH BRITISH SPEEDWAY BAN.
The Sydneysider has been ruled out of UK racing until April 13 and fined £3,000 after refusing to ride in two of his heats in King’s Lynn’s 52-40 home loss against Poole on July 13 due to concerns over track conditions.
Holder was initially hit with a 28-day ban and then sacked by Stars owner Keith Chapman. Troy Batchelor was also axed, but didn’t face any disciplinary action after withdrawing from the Pirates fixture on medical grounds.
IT’S SO ONE-SIDED IT’S UNREAL. NO-ONE HAS MENTIONED THE TONNES OF MATERIAL HE PUT ON THE TRACK THE DAY BEFORE WITHOUT TESTING IT. IT WAS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.
Chapman has questioned the Aussies’ attitude in a number of statements since the club’s farcical night. But Holder says he has no regrets about confronting the BSPA chairman over what he felt was an unfit track, which required extensive work after heat nine before the meeting could be completed.
Reflecting on the rumpus, he said: “It’s so one-sided it’s unreal. No-one has mentioned the tonnes of material he put on the track the day before without testing it. It was a recipe for disaster.
“We knew when we walked the track that it was going to be terrible, but everyone walks on eggshells around him (Chapman) and everyone is scared about saying something to him. People just get on with it and I am sick of that attitude.
“We’re the ones who are racing and if we get injured, they’re looking at replacing you before you get carted out of the stadium in an ambulance. They don’t really care.
“Enough was enough. I knew it would probably cause some trouble, but it’s funny – the next week when the weather was bad, he cancelled the meeting straight away (against Rye House on July 19). He didn’t want to risk riders not dealing with tricky conditions.
“It worked then, didn’t it? They didn’t race on a poor track. If I didn’t say something that night, they would have probably raced the next Wednesday. But he was too scared to run the meeting because he knew the track wouldn’t be good enough. And he didn’t run it.”
Holder says he didn’t just take a stand for his own benefit. He added: “I remember when I first started. When you’re not an established rider, your voice doesn’t get heard. I remember when we raced bad tracks and I’d just get on with it and do my best.
“But when a top, established guy would say something, you’d think ‘thank God someone said something. Now something is going to happen.’ Obviously he (Chapman) has a problem with listening to people, but that’s his deal.”
Holder says he’ll have more to add on the incident in due course, but plans to focus his energies on regaining top speed in the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series, Polish Ekstraliga and Swedish Elitserien.
He said: “I’ll come out with something. At the moment, I am trying to race in the Grand Prix, Poland and Sweden. There’s a lot of pressure on. To be honest, I don’t have the time to be dealing with that garbage. It’s total garbage and it’s so one-sided it’s unreal.”