Published on 5th June 2020
Author Dick Barrie

Back on track, but…….

For about the first time in a very long period, our Bandits – our Bonny, Bouncing FTS Bandits of Berwick – are having a Shielfield practice session tomorrow – and I can’t be there……

For which there are two good reasons:  The fact of my being locked down in Scotland (we are being a wee bit more careful than down south, and travel for social purposes is limited to five miles from home) is the most important to me, but the other is quite simply that we don’t need a presenter at a private practice!

Because that’s what it is – strictly private.

Nothing personal, but the law of the land – and the ACU – are very clear on how permitted socially-distanced practising has to be conducted.  That’s with up to ten riders only, each with one mechanic.

Plus the minimum necessary staff to administer proceedings.

So for the majority of our fanbase, some regular helpers and even a fair number of club administrators, we have to politely but firmly say sorry, you can keep a-knocking, but you can’t come in!   Not this time.

Which is fair enough, I guess.      Meanwhile, if you really need a little bit more, you could go to the stadium, listen to the bikes from the other side of the wall, as well as – true heaven – sniff the burning racing oil on a summer Saturday night!

But fear not.  This is the first step in what we are determined will be a slow but steady return to what may become a ‘new normal’ for Shielfield speedway.

Meantime, the club are being as progressive and helpful as they can, and promise those of us left standing on the outside a bit of online footage of what was happening, on track and off.

This will be shown across every digital platform we can find for it – probably on Wednesday – and you’ll be able to see the four English-based Bandits, plus No 8 Mason Watson, testing their equipment, their muscles and their new track shape.

Missing will be Buskie, who’s been doing his practising in Denmark, Dani – doing the same in Austria – and Coty, who can’t take part tomorrow, but is safe over here and living up in Scotland and who will be ready, willing and able to get going at the next time of asking.

For the management and riders, the need for tomorrow’s practice – officially a ‘training session’ in ACU-speak – is vital.

With everything that’s been going on in the world since lockdown, we could be excused if it had slipped our mind that the big news of last winter was the expansion of the racing surface (thanks to the help and support of BRFC) and the resulting need to check out all the different racing lines.

Hopefully, the lads will be wearing their new FTS race-suits tomorrow, which we’ll see when the pictures and filmed footage are released.

I’ve had a wee preview – and I can reveal they’re snappy suits!

The word ‘snappy’ thus bringing me to a peculiar, but true story.

An 84-year-old alligator – named Saturn, and presumably fairly snappy — died in Moscow Zoo last month.

It was ‘captured’ in Berlin in 1945 by invading Soviet troops, allegedly having been a favourite of Hitler’s and lived on in Russia for its final 75 years!

True story.

Definitely an alligator, not a crocodile.

You ask what the difference is between alligators and crocodiles?

Depends whether the beast sees you later or in a while…………


Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?).   The e-mail address is at the top of the page – fire away!


Dick Barrie
Dick Barrie

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