WEYMOUTH Wildcats’ co-promoter Martin Peters fears for the future of speedway, saying the sport’s health appears “a little bleak”.

Peters and fellow co-promoter James Tresadern have kept the Weymouth name alive despite suffering a ban on league competition since 2019.

This is down to their nomadic status caused by the absence of a home track.

Back in 2020, speedway chiefs banned nomadic clubs such as Weymouth from riding in accredited leagues.

Wildcats have since been restricted to invitational meetings, including the Michael Richardson Trophy in 2022 and a challenge meeting at Iwade, Kent, in May of this year.

Their plight is shared by some of the sport’s biggest names, with Wolverhampton confirming they will not race in 2024 and Peterborough looking for a new home.

There are also persistent rumours surrounding Edinburgh and Birmingham’s future.

Wildcats were also left out of the reckoning for the new NORA breakaway series this season.

Speaking to Echosport, Peters believes the short and sharp nature of the sport is marketable and can appeal to a wider audience if carefully done.

He said: “There’s always going to be a market for speedway, because it’s very short racing which appeals to a lot of people.

“It shows on Bank Holidays, attendances are probably 50 per cent up. Maybe the world’s just changed from back in the day, where it’s 24/7.

“Back then, it was nine to five. I was only a kid in the 1980s, all I had to worry about was getting an ice cream from the ice cream van.

“But the way things are going, people getting annoyed with noise is a very big factor. The amount of houses going up, they seem to go where speedway tracks are.”

He added: “The future is a little bleak. There are a lot of clubs closing down. Personally, I think things have got to change.

“There’s definitely a market for it because you don’t need much attention span to watch a race. Sixty seconds and it’s over.

“Kids, if they do have that attention span they can watch and race and then do whatever.

“Maybe we need more weekend racing, but that becomes an issue. The riders are leaving the sport and getting full-time jobs, so it’s then trying to get time off to do racing.

“It’s moving away from the professional side and going amateur, but that’s only my opinion.

“Instead of riding four or five times a week, they’re only doing once or twice.”

Peters also called for a U-turn on the current track-sharing ban, claiming it would help existing clubs pack out stadiums more often.

He added: “Maybe track sharing is a way to go forward because there are less and less tracks.

“They do have this rule where they don’t want people to track share. It’s something they need to change.

“We could go and run a National League side at Poole and that stadium’s being used twice instead of once a week.

“That would be a good thing and might bring more teams in. Instead of a promoter worrying about his Premier team, you can get someone else paying money towards a bit of rent.

“Everyone’s making money. Even though the nomadic teams have gone, they’ve still got a fanbase. Even in Weymouth, there’s still a fair few hundred people that would turn up tomorrow without having to do anything.

“The same with Exeter, Milton Keynes and Reading. If they can get places to ride and the people that run the sport would be more open to it, things could develop.”