Dick Barrie's picture


My previous blog – I still want to use the correct term ‘weblog’ but no-one wants pedantry to flourish these days – carried the message that we might want to consider moving on in terms of presenting speedway, rather than doggedly marking time.

But maybe I should consider the viewpoint of others, the intelligent traditionalists among our avid readers?

Each page I write, I put the e-mail address at which I can be complained to, or about, at the end – and more than a few of you do just that.

Usually, I reply personally (except for the ones we pass on to the police, of course) but after my last witterings I got a mail in from Colin Kidd, who felt my tub-thumping for transponders instead of starting-gates wasn’t required.

He wrote:

“I have to disagree with your idea of replacing the tapes with electronic transponders. Yes it's always been done like that and it causes re-starts and controversy –isn’t that part of the entertainment?”

“Watching other forms of motorsport, started with lights -- you just don't get the same anticipation and tension at the start, and they can end up being predictable and even boring, something you can rarely say about the start of a speedway heat!”

“I'm all for running meetings smoothly and efficiently, but let's not lose the excitement just for the sake of accuracy”.

OK, that’s me told – and I fully appreciate Colin is probably not the only one who loves the atmosphere – might even yearn for the “good old days” – but how good were they really?

In all walks of life, only the vivid memories continue to exist. All those dull, wet, first-from-the-gate meetings are totally forgotten.

In our minds, Dave Trownson is still beating the Owens, Penhall and Carter are knocking lumps out of each other, Danny Warwick holding off a certain World Champion, Ivan is out-gating the world’s best and the Main Dane relentlessly romping to another title.

We conveniently forget the awful predictability, bumpy tracks and strung-out races – at all tracks, at all levels – of the past half-century. All the old dross is wrung out of our selective memories.

Look – really look – at videos and YouTube footage from the past.

Yes, there were great races, but in truth regular racing today – again, at all levels -- is far, far better, closer and more-exciting than regular racing was in the past. So there.

Looking forward – as we always must – the Bandits of 2018 are being assembled as I write.

Already three out of the five released names are Aussies. Which is something of which I approve – until Duns really gets going and starts to hone the next generation of young Scots, Australia’s the speedway nation I find myself supporting.

My next blog will be sent from Down Under, and should pop up just as soon as I recover from my New Year festivities there.

While most of you nice readers are still shivering, I’ll be watching some sunshine speedway.

OK, I put my hands up – I’m just a lucky old b*****d!

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