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George Dodds's picture

I kinda thought I’d just about got it covered this week.
All the many and varied permutations involving who has/can/can’t qualify for the Championship play-offs.
Not forgetting the even more complicated matter of a Shielfield double header involving two teams whose original fixtures were hit by rain with the crowd in the stadium – on nights when vastly different admission prices were operating.
I seem to have developed a nasty little tick which coincides with the “ping” of a new message arriving in the in-box which begins: “Dear sir or madam, we attended the rained-off speedway meeting on …”
But all seemed to have been taken care of only for that damn ping to inform me that the Bandits trip to Ashfield on Friday night had been rained off around tea-time.
Pigeons suddenly found their personal space invaded by cats.
No-one really saw that one coming – especially in Berwick where our micro-climate was delivering a pleasantly mild, albeit blustery day.
So now we go head-to-head with the might of the Monarchs and then then G-men of Glasgow knowing that a six-point haul will send us to Birmingham on Wednesday still very much in the hunt.
Four points at Perry Bar would set-up a shoot-out at Ashfield when we would know exactly what was required to qualify.
Sounds so simple when you put it like that doesn’t it.
Except that we first have to find a date to go to Ashfield.
Fortunately and about as predictable as night following day, the cut-off date has proved to be somewhat elastic. Must have it done by September 15 becoming Must have it done by September 19 … unless it’s not.
Anyway with the Tiggs racing Tuesday, Friday and Saturday next week, us Wednesday, the Premiership Monday and Thursday the options are somewhat limited.
No doubt better minds than mine will be working to solve the problem. Personally I’m in favour of the one that puts the Bandits directly into the play-offs on alphabetical order - far from the daftest ruling ever made in British speedway! - and gives us choice of opponents and dates. Others may feel that’s not entirely fair but so what?.
Anyhow it’s a real shame as our new super-Swede was reportedly in the mood to show all and sundry the fastest line around Glasgow.
His spirits were high following a pretty impressive debut against the Diamantes last weekend.
Now there are many ways to gauge how good a new signing is going to be – the formbook, body language, whether Razor approves.
But I feel that one cast-iron pointer is often, criminally, overlooked … musical taste.
I’ll be honest that my first impression of THJ last week was that he’s not the tallest racer I’ve ever met – and I can go all the way back to King’s Lynn Starlets and the legendary Ian “Tiddler” Turner. Come to think of it I’ve always just assumed that his nickname came from his height. Maybe in modern speedway he would have had a Tena for Men sponsorship.
Anyhow a multi-national pit crew, impeccable kevlars, polite demeanour had already signposted Mr Jonasson as a shrewd signing.
But a glance at his bike covers was all we needed to know that not only would he would be good but THJ was born to be a Bandit.
Not many riders are confident enough to put their musical tastes right out there in public view to be scrutinised and commented upon by the Shielfield intelligentsia.
It’s a brave move. Abba could have been explained away by him being Swedish; Iggy Pop an intellectual streak; Transvision Vamp a taste for blondes in skimpy outfits; Barry White a bit of a ladeez man; Girls Aloud, tone deaf; The Warehouse Announcement, a management sook-up
But you’re never gonna be let down by a man with Motorhead emblazoned on his speed machine.
Which means that after the soaraway success of the 2018 Bandits end of season bash rendition of Highway to Hell we can expect Huffman and Spence to lead the class of 2019 in Ace of Spades.
I seem to remember that Lemmy and the chaps also, fittingly, declared a Blitzkrieg on Birmingham and there was No Sleep til H-armadale – although it might have been Hammersmith now I come to think of it.
On Saturday it’s the Magnificent Seven against the Fabulous 14 over 30 Shielfield super-heats.
So Beer Drinkers and Hellraisers gather at the extra early time of 6.30pm to see Thomas lead his new charges into Super Saturday.
At stake is a place in the play-offs. It won’t be decided on the night but you could say it’s Do or Die.
Turn it up to 11 … at 6.30.