Christmas comes early

Published on 5th September 2020
Author George Dodds

“Dear Santa Courtney, if you check your good list you’ll see my name near the top for 2020 and what I really, really, really want … is a ticket for the British under-21 Final …”

It’s a bit like being a kid again. You’re pretty sure that the mithering and nagging has paid off and you’re going to get exactly what you’ve asked for.

Indeed there’s strong evidence that it’s already wrapped and tucked away in the back of your mum and dad’s wardrobe, next to the insurance policies, Kays catalogue money and Health and Efficiency’s classic 1971 swimwear tan-lines edition.

But it remains tantalisingly out of reach.

So it was on Thursday night learning that our formidable promotion team had managed to jump through the hoops and defy the Covid odds and get the go ahead to stage speedway at Shielfield in 2020.

Not only that but we have cemented our position as the place where speedway’s future is the present and for the third successive year the British under-21 Final will be held in the real north.

Happy days – the only problem is that it won’t be happening until October 17. Which is a frustratingly long time away.

We want our speedway and we want it now! But will grudgingly wait for our early Christmas present.

As always in the new norm nothing is simple and there are plenty of dots hovering over I’s and horizontals waiting to be applied to t’s but it’s going to happen.

There’s a lot to be revealed before the wheels turn again – not least how many socially distanced spectators will be allowed to see the cream of young British talent battle it out on our reshaped raceway.

So far we know that those who invested in season passes for this Covid-ravaged year and sponsors will get their chance to cheer on the boys – a suitable thank-you for leaving their hard-earned cash in the club’s coffers during these challenging times.

Who will join them and how they go about it will be announced via the club’s social media accounts in due course with the experiences of Scunthorpe and King’s Lynn no doubt forming the basis of the Bandits’ management blueprint.

Interestingly I have spoken to a number of supporters who have previously given what they rather surprisingly have dismissed in the past as a “junior” meeting a wide berth.

Speedway starvation seems to have prompted the sort of u-turn that would make even Bojo blush and they are now fretting that they might not actually be able to get a ticket for October 17.

Scunthorpe reported a Championship-sized crowd for their NDL challenge against Leicester on Bank Holiday Monday while the Norfolk Arena was unusually busy for a British Youth Championship round.

It also appears that Ipswich will be heavily oversubscribed for its staging of the senior British Final so there is a glimmer of sunshine in what has been a bleak season for the sport in these fair lands.

Which 16 will feature at Shielfield next month is one of many questions still to be answered but it promises to be a wide open race for the title after Robert Lambert’s graduation from the division.

Bandits’ Leon Flint was a member of the British under-21 team competing for the world title at Outrup this weekend.

Team-mates Dan Bewley, Tom Brennan, Drew Kemp and Jordan Palin will be among the favourites for the domestic crown. Throw in the likes of another Bandit in Kyle Bickley, Anders Rowe, various Thompsons, McGurks, Watsons, Mountains Millars and Freemans and all the ingredients are there for one of Shielfield’s most epic evenings.

All that is left is to write that all important note and shove it up the chimney.

George Dodds
George Dodds

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