Behind The Scenes: Rob Painter

Every organisation needs a steady hand behind the wheel, and with Managing Director Rob Painter, hands don’t come much steadier.

Overseeing everything that happens under the Great Britain Speedway Team banner, Painter knows more than anyone the troubles the team has had to go through in 2020 to get racers on track and keep the team running smoothly. In a year like no other, he and the GB management team has managed to keep the wheels turning and kept the Great Britain team heading in the right direction.

“It has been a hectic year considering that our calendar was greatly reduced” said Painter. “It’s really been non-stop for us, even in lockdown we continued to engage with the GB squad and it was excellent to see them being encouraged to improve with the support of our performance team even under difficult circumstances .”

“Making sure that GB were prepared and ready to race was important, especially given the evolving situation and the knowledge that we had to race in Denmark and Poland this year.”

“We had to plan how we’d get our guys to each destination and the various requirements that were needed by each respective government.”

With 2020 being perhaps the most unpredictable since World War Two, Painter explained how every option had to be evaluated, planned for and then the final decision made almost at the last minute as restrictions continuously changed as the year went on.

“We had to plan everything as normal and then be ready to react to the situation as it was evolving. Being well prepared this year was important, we have been in continuous contact with the various authorities and we are extremely fortunate to have the support of our commercial partners at the most difficult of times.”

“When we went to Denmark for the FIM Team Under-21 Championship, we reached the point where we had to sign off and confirm production of everything the team needed for the event which on the 5th September, however, we knew that the Danish government were making an announcement on the 1st September as to whether sporting events could even go ahead!”

“We pride ourselves on Great Britain being the best presented team in World Speedway so even though there were many challenges we still had to have race suits, bike covers, bike mats, pit bay setup and team clothing all produced.”

“We also needed to have the riders travel requirements, ferries, flights, hotels and meals arranged prior to knowing for sure if the events would be staged, so it was great to have 24 hour support of our Travel Management Partner, ATPI Sports Events for this.”

Covid-19 means that 2020-21 won’t see the GB team heading down under as they did last year but Painter is keen to see the team return to Australian shores at the next available opportunity.

“A number of riders went to Australia, I think they’d all love to go again but unfortunately it won’t be this year of course. We’re hoping to do it again as soon as possible so hopefully we can get them more track time and experience, particularly for the young riders. It was also nice to beat Australia 2-0 as well!”