Great Britain manager Alun Rossiter has stood down after six years in charge. Rossiter has informed the GB Speedway team management and the British Speedway Promoters’ Association of his decision due to personal and business commitments.
Keith Chapman, Chairman of the BSPA, said on behalf of the directors: “Alun has given his all to the role over the last six years and we sincerely thank him for his efforts.
“He has enjoyed success along the way and has always been passionate about the role. We fully respect his decision and wish him every success for the future as he continues to remain involved in the sport with Swindon Robins. He has carried out his duties with pride and passion for his country.”
Rossiter, who was appointed national boss in 2014, has overseen the country’s best results on the International stage in the modern era during his time at the helm. GB secured silver medals in the 2016 World Cup Final at Belle Vue, some 27 years after their last major tournament victory, and they then repeated that result in the 2018 Speedway of Nations Final in Wroclaw.
Rossiter’s teams also secured direct qualification to World Cup/SoN Finals in four attempts out of five.
Said Rossiter: “First of all I want to say it’s been an honour to manage my country, I’m proud of my record and I feel I’m leaving with my head held high. There have been a lot of good times over the six years – the night we finished second at Belle Vue, and the atmosphere of the crowd especially will live with me forever, and then we had Wroclaw two years later when we were the best team all weekend and it was really only the rules of the tournament which prevented us from taking gold.
“It was always great to beat the Aussies, and beating a strong Australian side at King’s Lynn in 2017 when we were without Tai Woffinden was also a night I’ll always remember.
“I’ve been thinking about this decision for some time, and this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to what happened in Russia although I do have to say the criticism from some people after that was over the top.
“I’ve always been prepared to put my hands up when I make a mistake, but a lot of what I read and heard criticising myself and the team as a whole wasn’t made with knowledge of the facts. The bottom line is that if you’re already without the World Champion and then your next two riders crash together in their first race it doesn’t matter who you are or what country you are, it’s going to have a massive effect on the result and no manager is going to be able to change that.
“But as I say, this isn’t purely about Russia, I’ve had a lot of things to consider and I do believe when you’re not entirely comfortable with things, that’s when you have to look to move on.
“Hand on heart, I can honestly say the situation with the national team is far better now than the one I walked into six years ago, and whoever my successor is should be able to look forward with optimism – and that’s because a great deal of hard work has gone in over the whole of that time.
“I do feel the current SoN format gives us the best chance of success in the short-term as we’re probably still a few years away from challenging under a four or five-man format, certainly for an event staged abroad.
“But an awful lot has improved since we got the ball rolling in 2014, and that started with the changes at the BSPA who gave their backing to the pre-season fitness sessions, the training camp in Croatia, and also allowing our riders to enter the European Championship, which has been a major benefit.
“Bringing Paul Suggitt and Chris Neville into the set-up in 2017 also helped us to take things forward. Chris has a wealth of expertise and is a massive asset to the team, and Paul has really grown into his role – we’ve all enjoyed working with them. I also want to mention Dave Rowe who was my first appointment and has been there throughout, and he’s been a big help both behind the scenes and at the tournaments.
“Most of all I want to thank the riders for their support, and despite what people might believe I can honestly say we’ve always had a good atmosphere in the camp amongst the riders, mechanics and staff.
“It’s been a privilege to do the job and I’d like to finish by wishing Great Britain all the very best for the future.”