‘We’re going to break the mould’ – why the Isle of Wight Warriors have applied to join the French Speedway League

Wightlink Warriors co-owner Barry Bishop believes exciting times are ahead with talks ongoing for them to break the British speedway mould.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 3:42 pm
Wightlink Warriors in action against Belle Vue Colts at the Smallbrook Stadium in 2019. The next league action at the stadium could be against French teams. Picture: Ian Groves/Sportography

The Warriors have held discussions with French League officials as they explore the possibility of becoming a member team after quitting the National League.

Club co-owners Bishop and Martin Widman have also opted to break away from the British Speedway Promoters Limited authority after being given no say over rule implementations for the forthcoming season - and receiving no assurance that would change in the future.

As a result, Wightlink Warriors have been in touch with French officials over becoming part of their five-team Ligue National de Speedway division moving forward.

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Bishop said discussions have been positive so far as they seek association with a new league.

He explained: 'We’re exploring different avenues purely because we couldn’t be confined in the way that we were being confined by our own governing body any longer.

'We’ve applied to join the French League. It was a bit rushed to get it done for this year but we’ve spoken to the league organisers who gave us positive responses and are extremely interested in expanding their leagues.

‘The initial responses were very positive and now we’re at a stage where they’re translating their rulebooks so that we can ensure that we can comply to them, while they consult the other five clubs because they’ll all have to come to the UK to participate.

‘I’m really pleased we’ve made the decision now - we’re going to break the mould, as the saying goes.'

There remains a possibility that Wightlink Warriors could join in time for this season with no date confirmed for the French League to start.

However, it looks more likely that any potential switch would materialise in time for 2022.

But the club are planning to stage several events at the Smallbrook Stadium this summer.

Bishop is hoping speedway will return to the island from June and he remained tight-lipped on something a little different that will be in store for riders and supporters with the club now operating through NORA Motorsport licensing.

He said: 'I think there’s a thirst for it, there’s a thirst for change in speedway, particularly on how it’s going to be presented.

‘That’s what we’re going to be doing this year, we’re going to be presenting it in a completely different way.

‘We wanted to get involved in a progressive league that’s at the start of its development - I think the French League has only been around three or four years - to get involved with that and see how far we can run that one.

‘It’s exciting times and we’re really proud to be moving that way.'