How the champion was converted to promoter
Ever since Speak made the announcement in October that he was – as he put it – “going over to the dark side” to become a promoter at Skegness, his eyes have been opened wide to the task ahead.
It is a big step running a stock car track after working in the family scrap metal business since leaving school. “It’s been a bloody nightmare,” he admits. “I’ve come into it with little experience so I’ve been thrown in the deep end. We have got a lot of work to do, but I was expecting it.”
Speak has already set out plans to build a new bar and hospitality complex to replace the existing facilities and has a three-year plan which he hopes, once competed, will take the heat out of the massive job ahead.
“We’re doing it as a family,” says Speak. “My dad absolutely loves stock car racing and I wanted to put something back into a sport that has been so good to me. The drivers needed a track. My dad has been saying for years the drivers should get together to buy one, but nobody wanted to do it – so we decided to.”
The sale took three years to come to fruition. It all began with an argument between Speak’s father, Billy, and promoter Hazel Cooke.
“It ended up with my dad offering to buy the track,” says Speak. “A year later Hazel approached him and asked whether he was still serious about buying it when she was ready to sell.”
A verbal agreement was reached and 12 months later a deal was agreed, with the Speak family taking ownership of the stadium on December 1.
“I’ve a lot more respect for promoters now than I did this time last year,” Speak says. “When you see what goes on behind the scenes, it’s hard work. Hazel has been amazing – she has helped us no end.”
Speak is emphatic he will be too busy running the stadium to have time to race – hence his retirement from the sport – despite having qualified for one of the 2017 World Championship semi-finals for this coming season.
But never say never. It turns out that one of those semi-finals happens to be run at Skegness… BRISCA F2 World Champion: 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 National Points Champion: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 British Champion: 1989, 1992, 1998, 1999, 2013 European Champion: 1994, 1996