Well, where on earth do I start?
You know, I’ve seen comments online about speedway that range from somewhat sensible to utterly nonsensical and of the latter, they can range from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Among my favourites are: –
“NaTiOnAl LeAgUe SpEeDwAy IsN’t GoOd”
“It’S fUlL oF wObBleRs”
“ThE rAcInG iSn’T eVeR gOoD”
The intelligence has left the chat.
Now I know that this is far from being the opinion of every speedway fan out there and I know that not every National League meeting is going to be a classic. But let’s be realistic here, not every speedway meeting, at any level is guaranteed to be a classic.
That’s just the way it is.
But when you have four riders of roughly level ability, and you give them a good track upon which to do their thing then there is a fair old chance that you might just be entertained more often than not.
For those who stay at home for the Bullets meetings I can assure you that you’re missing out on some fantastic action and that meeting against Mildenhall at the weekend was no exception.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the “snobbery” if you like towards National League speedway and to be honest, I used to think like that too. My first introduction to National League was around 12 years ago at Newport and it was a terrible meeting.
Did I let that cloud my judgement? Yeah, I probably did a little.
Was I wrong to do so? 100%.
When the Bullets were announced I wasn’t overly enthused but because it was another Berwick side, it had my full support and to be brutally honest, last season the Bullets were more entertaining than the Bandits.
No criticism, just facts.
Fast forward to now and I would just about consider myself a Bullets die hard! The progression of Mason Watson and Ace Pijper has been great to see, and it is brilliant to see Kieran Douglas finally get a proper chance at this level.
I don’t need to go into detail about the entertaining exploits of Greg Blair, but they are surely worthy of mention, even if he does “ride on the edge a bit too much” for one keen observer.
The solid scoring of Blair, Bickley and Crang has allowed for the progress of the likes of Douglas, Watson, Pijper and Rathbone, the latter of whom I wish to talk about at length.
At the end of last season Ben Rathbone was involved in a crash at Mildenhall if memory serves me correctly and he ended up with a fairly nasty hand injury. As a result, Ben didn’t get a lot of practice in during the winter and went into this season, by his own admission a little cold as it were.
Understandably he has struggled a little bit at times and his confidence has taken a little bit of a knock it would be fair to say. Now prior to Saturday’s meeting, myself, and the rest of the guys from the YouTube chats (Paul Capaldi, Marty Clyde & Greg Blair) were discussing where the meeting would be potentially won and lost.
We concluded that it was likely going to come down to one rider stepping up their game and being the difference maker between the two sides and it turned out that for once, we were right.
Step forward Mr Rathbone. His paid 10 including two wins and a paid win ultimately meant that the spoils fell into the favour of the Bullets and the Fen Men had to settle for a single point, which they thoroughly deserved to be fair.
From the first time I saw Ben Rathbone as a Bullet I have got the impression that it would fall into place for him, and it was pleasing to see that on Saturday night. When some of his other teammates didn’t have the best of nights, he stepped up and was the match winner.
I would have to go back and check scores, but I believe that to be Ben’s best performance in a Bullets jacket so far and what a time to step it up, against the reigning champions and keeping the Bullets at the top of the National Development League.
Well done that man! Cometh the hour, cometh the man and all that jazz.
Proper speedway, proper National League speedway.
Back to Bandits business this weekend and a crucial meeting for them as their new look side take on Scunthorpe.
Where? Shielfield Park.
When? This Saturday.
What time? 7PM.
Can’t make it? No problem, it’s being streamed on BSN.
There truly is no excuse!
Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman, have an idea for a feature, or you simply wish to chew the fat over all things speedway, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via the JB Speedway Media Facebook page. If your compliments, or indeed gripes can be contained to limited characters you can tweet @Mythman666.
Until next time…and there will be a next time.
Right, I’ll hae’tae gan.