Belfast Telegraph

Yikes, it's Melanie Sykes presenting the bikes on BT Sport

By Billy Weir

You can only imagine the meetings that were held in the BT Sport office of late when it came to discussing a couple of presenting options that were on the cards – hang on, I'm spotting a theme here ...

The capture of MotoGP from the Beeb was one of the tongue-sticking out and thumb on nose and waggling fingers highlights for BT over the summer so, with that in mind, hopes were high when it burst onto our screens over the weekend.

"It's a new season, with new riders on the track and a new team on your telly," we were told, by Melanie Sykes. Yes, Melanie Sykes, possibly the most ridiculous decision since Russell Brand was brought in by Match of the Day.

Over the course of the past few days I have tried to come to terms with just how a woman who is more used to rubbing shoulders with Des O'Connor and Gino D'Acampo than Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi got the gig.

The only possible explanation is that BT Sport wanted someone whose name rhymed with 'bikes'. Eric Sykes is, sadly, no longer available, although would have still done a better job, while David Icke would never have got the turquoise tracksuit through customs in Qatar.

Alongside her is former rider James Toseland and the usual array of foot soldiers such as Neil Hodgson ambling about the pits while the commentary duties are shared by Keith Huewen – the man who does the North West 200 – and a big jolly bloke called Julian Ryder, who also got the job because of his amusing bike-based name.

They never shut up, a constant barrage on the ear drums, a bit like Toseland whose opening gambit was to tell us that his band's new album had just been released and they were about to support Status Quo on tour. Let's hope they make it big.

Thankfully such was the quality of the race – Formula One take note – that despite the off-track mayhem the on the track action was riveting stuff.

"Wow, I feel so privileged to have watched that," said Mel afterwards, and we all nodded, before bringing the curtain down with 'from the whole BT Sport team it's ta-ra from Qatar' as countless helmets were chucked at TV sets across the land.

Great action, great coverage of the racing and interviews, but go and get a presenter who is there for a reason not a rhyme.

Belfast Telegraph


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