Dick Barrie's picture

It’s cold.

I know, I know – I’m not getting your sympathy for feeling frozen, being that I’m not long back from spending a couple of months in overly-warm, bush-fire-burning Australia, but I’m still bloody cold…..

Too cold yet to start thinking about actual outdoor stuff like speedway, but – given that plans and suchlike things can be laid out from the warmth of one’s cozy wee pied-a-terre – this is the month we can stay in, stay warm and contemplate what we can be doing in the weeks ahead…...

On the 29th of this month – the extra day – the World Speedway Riders’ Association’s Scottish branch will be holding their annual shindig up in Livingston. Each year they have two ‘honoured guests’ and this time both have strong Bandito connections.

Sean Courtney raced in black-and-gold for five seasons (including one memorable KO Cup victory!) in the ‘80s, and is of course still tied to the club by being “Uncle Sean” to the current promotion and a Saturday-night regular at Shielfield to the rest of us.

The other guest lined up for what we traditionally call “The Vets’ Do” is one of those rare personalities who can be identified by a single name.

Such mononymous celebrities as Madonna, Michelangelo, Bjork, Napoleon, Boris, Pele, Cher, Ghandi, Dolly, Geronimo or Bono for instance.

A noble list to which can be added the single-word name of --- Mose!

Our machine-examiner and resident patter-merchant for at least forty years, he’s pretty well-known to everyone connected with speedway in the frozen north and – like Sean – a fully-deserving recipient of WSRA honours.

That might be the main, perhaps the only event happening during this chilly month, but come March, the old diary can be updated (while still sitting in a warm hoose) to include some real bikes, in real speedway action. Bring it on!

First up will be the BenFund Bonanza at Scunthorpe. My favourite cause, if not my favourite track. Saturday 14th March for that one, with a 2pm start. Newcastle hold their 90th Anniversary party the following afternoon, and I’m told our skipper Spud is on their invitation list.

A week on, Redcar will be staging a (deserved) Testimonial for Stuart Robson on March 21st (there will be Bandits involved there too, I believe) and I’m delighted to report the reopening session of the year at the GHT Training Academy at Duns the following day.

Duns is going to be so important to our cause in future times. The location where the rapidly-improving Mason Watson learned to skid a bike at the very tail-end of 2018, sliding him forward into our NJL squad last year and Armadale’s National League side this coming season. Had it not been for Duns, would this have happened at all, let alone so swiftly?

I’ll get to see my first actual racing of the year down at Poole on Wednesday 25th, having been asked to do a bit of presentation at Middlo’s Testimonial (I never miss working at Neil’s meetings, I do one for him every 35 years) and after that it’s all go……..

I’m sure we’ll be represented at Edinburgh’s Scottish Open on Friday 27th and the following night there will be huge interest at Shielfield Park when our annual Press’n’Practice session will reveal how the 2020 Banditos are going to be handling our newly-widened track – and that’s certainly a “cannae wait” moment to look forward to, however chilly the March night air.

Which brings me back to my opening words

It’s cold.


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