Dick Barrie's picture

Let there be praise to the Lord -- other imaginary friends are available – because this coming Saturday brings us speedway again!

We should remember that, over the bleak midwinter there was no certainty of my being able to write such happy words come springtime.

That spooky bassoon which Stravinsky designated to kick off his ‘Rite Of Spring’ has always to me sounded a bit creepy and sad, and could have hinted to us that, this spring, the game really was up, the ba’ on the slates.

But Jamie announced “The Miracle of December 9th” and we could all breathe easier.

Imagine there’s no speedway.

Which is how the missing third verse of John Lennon’s classic began.

Doesn’t bear thinking about. So let’s not – let us instead concentrate on having our speedway this 52nd season -- and for many more to come.

It’ll take hard work, both from organisers and supporters, but if we pull together it can and will happen.

First up? Why, ‘tis the 22nd staging of the Bordernapolis – nothing like starting with a biggie.

This very Saturday night.

As well as our septet for the new season, it’s nice we’ll see Theo Pijper and Matty Wethers back on our track on Saturday.

Too often, after a guy has to move on – and with the way speedway’s averages work, sometimes he just has to – supporters (at other, not-so-nice clubs) seem to blame the innocent rider for leaving, rather than the club for having to let him go.

Such fans have a bunny-boiler mentality, and woe betide the rider who moves on before they’ve finished with him.

Thankfully, I’ve always found those of the Bandito persuasion more sympathetic, and I know Theo, Matty and their families will be made more than welcome on Saturday.

And so will speedway be welcomed back. Despite the usual wrinkles to the rules that have been snuck into the book over the winter.

Two have caught my eye. One is that, after a false start and the two-minute warning given, no rider may leave the track – but this doesn’t apparently apply to his bike, which can presumably been rushed into the pits and fiddled with by the mechanics – as long as the actual rider stays out on the shale! Daft!

The other is a reminder that, if a rider is excluded (OK, disqualified) for a starting-gate offence for a second time, he can’t be replaced – that heat will restart with three riders only. Thinks: I see a riot on the way, when this crops up in the heat of battle during a local derby!

But what really matters -- after a week in which British Airways landed a flight at Edinburgh in mistake for Dusseldorf and our skinny Prime Minister said a petition signed by more that five million good citizens “isn’t worth her consideration” -- is that speedway is back.

Let’s go racing!

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