All bound for Moomin land

Published on 10th June 2022
Author George Dodds

Well that leaves an ammonia-tainted jous around the pommes frites.

Heaven knows British speedway, and especially in this part of the Borders, finds itself under threat almost weekly from the vagaries of the weather but in my 54th season this is a first postponement because of illness.

Like so many I was planning to spend Saturday salivating at the thought of Cookie in the Bandits’ number one jacket and skipper Leon engineering the greatest comeback since Lazarus – or in sporting terms the 1993 Buffalo Bills – Kyle, Jye, Ricky and Theo unstoppable, Josh MacDonald recording the fastest average speed by an Aussie ginge in history on the way to an unforgettable maximum. All of which left the Bears licking their wounds as they shuffled back to the Cleveland jungle.

Instead it’s a night in front of the tv – I warmly recommend Tove on BBC4 at 9pm, the story of the Finnish artist behind The Moomins – fantasising about what might have been.

Riders ride, supporters support but for the rest speedway, in line with almost every other sport and especially those propelled by motors – relies on volunteers who give up their time to do the 101 tasks that make it happen in addition to the front of house operations such as manning turnstiles, flipping burgers, sating thirst at refreshment installations.

It’s a big commitment to their clubs and one that fewer and fewer are able or willing to make on a weekly basis. So when a number of key components are unavailable at the same time it means that the show cannot go on. And the result is postponements such as Saturday and those at Redcar and Newcastle in past and coming weeks.

While the on-going circus that is the current government and the bizarre spectacle of a country attempting to sanctify an establishment which lives in unimagined, tax-avoiding luxury at the expense – and even more bizarrely with its benign approval – of a population struggling to keep their own home, singular, heated – has hidden it we are still in the grip of a Covid pandemic.

You don’t have to isolate for a fortnight any more, indeed you won’t even be paid if you’re in the grip of it, but there are still 1,000 people a day reporting positive. Recent person experience – which sidelined me from Redcar’s visit in the Championship – is that it’s a real bugger of an affliction, one which takes some shaking off and also leaves you wary of from whom, how and where you came to pick it up and how to avoid a repeat.

It is noticeable that many who lent a helping hand pre-pandemic didn’t return once it was over, choosing to spectate instead.

It’s not often that I would suggest that the messageboards be used as a barometer but when the inevitable huffing and puffing – suitably hidden behind the knob-de-plumes of the qwerty warriors – after the early announcement of our postponement quickly ran out of steam: get more people (duh), use the opposition’s volunteers (double duh), race on a different night (dum duh), it’s Rob Godfrey’s fault (duh de duh de du duh) there came the voice of reason.

Perhaps, the suitably disguised writer opined, those doing all the complaining should offer their time to make a practical contribution to solving the problem.

If only Shigetaka Kurita had included tumbleweed when he introduced his little yellow pictographs to a waiting world.

Cough, cough, nothing to see here move along.

Now it goes without saying that anyone who wants to help out at Shielfield, especially on race night, even on an irregular basis, should let the club know via I beg to be corrected but I’m not anticipating a rush.

Anyway hopefully those afflicted are tucked up in isolated splendour and wolfing down the lemsips and quaffing corvornia we begin the build-up to the next live speedway involving a full team of Bandits – various guest bookings are being undertaken on a regular basis by an increasing number of our sextet – as attention switches to the Bullets on Saturday week.

It’s Jason Edwards Day at Shielfield Park that night when everyone will be called Jason Edwards to mark the latest appearance of the season at the Stad de Shielfield of Jason Edwards.

Slade have released: “I wish it cud b Jason Edwards evri week,” there’ll be a Jason Edwards themed bouncy castle, a Jason Edwards treasure hunt and H Bar will sell a special JE cocktail in the colours of every team he has appeared at Shielfield in, and anticipates appearing in. A fancy dress competition will see the boy or girl who looks most like Jason Edwards win a special prize – having their name changed to Jason Edwards by deed poll.

He is apparently very cross that this Saturday cannot go ahead as it severely dents his bid to move above Chris Harris on British speedway’s guest list and had vowed to take his frustrations out on the table-topping Bullets.

George Dodds
George Dodds

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