Dick Barrie's picture


So much for the golden days of autumn….

While we were able to smoothly conclude our Shielfield season without losing a meeting to weather worries (we know how and why) there have been others less fortunate.

Efforts to race off cup-ties and play-off fixtures – in all three divisions – have been plagued not only by rain but the unavailability of doubled-up or racing-overseas riders – causing (for instance) the ridiculous situation of Glasgow entertaining Newcastle on Friday past in what was for both teams a vital (in terms of saving what’s left of their season) KO Cup-tie with both clubs missing riders who were off doing other things at other places.

Incidentally, may I point out this was the Tigs’ first match in the KO Cup this year? Yes, in October. A quarter-final tie.

The Olympus Marquees Bandits (blessed this year by the power of Mike Hope) on the other hand completed our Cup campaign --- in the same quarter-final round --- on April 1st . Six months ago!

It is worth the quietest of smiles to note how, for the past three years, Glasgow people have moaned, begged and pleaded to be allowed to run their speedway on a Friday night – and finally, when they do it, they choose a Friday that sees three of their team racing elsewhere!

But back to these end-of-term traumas.

To call some of the recent statements/rulings/suggestions by those representing our sport in high places “shambolic” is about as understated as calling Donald Trump “imprudent” or that buxom start-line girl at the other track “friendly”.

C’mon people – please. Let’s get back to basics.

Speedway is such a simple sport. Four riders, four laps. No brakes, no gears.

It makes for excellent watching, live or on television, all happening right in front of you – no need for multiple cameras around a long course like at F1, MotoGP or the Grand National. Easy to understand for a casual onlooker – and if there’s a dull race then never fear, there’ll be a different one along in a couple of minutes.

There are smart people among the promoters – and never forget it is the promoters, all of them, who form the BSPA – but it seems the smart ones are too smart to let themselves be dragged into positions of power.

I’ve been there, I’ve sat around the table at conferences and listened to intelligent people presenting fresh, bright ideas – and then sat aghast as their ideas were pooh-poohed by a succession of bosses of very little brain more interested in self-aggrandisement than the future good of speedway.

It is time for this to stop. The last two years, no least this current staggering-to-a-conclusion season have caused me to seriously question my lifelong devotion to the cause.

There will shortly be an AGM which will define what is the future of our domestic racing for 2018 and beyond.

May the better brains prevail and the clearer voices be heard.

Ch-ch-ch-changes – turn and face the strange. Ch-ch-ch-changes…….



Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?). He will always be happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk