Dammit Janet, bring on the superheroes

Published on 3rd September 2021
Author George Dodds

It’s just a jump to the left … then a step to the right, with your hands on your hips. Perhaps best to leave the pelvic thrusts to those still running on their original hips but are we all ready to do the time warp?

To a time when Eastbourne had two speedway teams, Luke Crang and Willie Lawson were Edinburgh Monarchs, Anders Rowe a Bear, Justin Sedgmen a Tiger, Leon and Kyle setting the SatNav for Suffolk with British Under-19 glory in their sights.

When we were still basking in the glorious afterglow of a visit from the supreme being they call Jason.

A time for innocence, a time for confidences. A simpler time when the world rotated on a steady axis. A time before Bandits moonlighting as Aces attempted motorcyclical muggings of Bandits dressed in Wolves’ clothing.

A week last Saturday to be exact.

When it rained. And rained. And rained. And rained.

So instead of welcoming Scotty, Troy, Starkey and Cam, Gilksey, Jake and the Royals we were left counting the cost of the season’s second rain-off.

Pies, burgers, rear tyres were all pressed into action seven days later but in a dusty corner of the Park that is Shielfield sits four boxes of the best in speedway journalism and pre/post-match entertainment. The thoughts, insights and humour of Barrie, Black, Etheridge, Flint and Courtney.

Too good to pulp.

So in true Womble style we’re recycling The Dirt from August 21, there for you to enjoy in all its finery on Saturday night.

I mention this is the spirit of goodwill and transparency as this is not our first Orinoco moment of the year. When Glasgow’s league visit disappeared amid another deluge the decision was made to use the programme produced for the following week’s visit of Newcastle with a Diamonds-centric racecard insert. Sensible fiscal oversight which gives a clue as to why we’ve made it so far this season without closure threats, gofundme or use-us-or-lose us ultimatums.

Now it would be fair to say that this was not universally popular. Indeed one regular appeared so traumatised that at every subsequent meeting he’s demanded to know if it’s “last week’s programme” before parting with his three shekels.

This week the answer will still be no – it’s the week before’s. But, unlike the Newcastle insert edition, it is totally relevant to the first-ever visit to Shielfield of Kent’s Kings and Royals. It’s still a cracking read and it still costs £3.

Among the measured musings in The Dirt Revisited is bossman Jamie Courtney who, without giving too much of the plot away, promises that if Eastbourne fail to survive then there will be speedway at Shielfield last Saturday – if you see what I mean – and that it might be a good time to look at the future of the sport. In a new format sort of way.

Which is what happened, Berwick’s Formula Future the hand-carved Wiltshire ham between two chunky slices of Ezekiel 4.9, the night we had an entertaining glimpse of what could come to be, when the Bullets gave the Bandits a bit of a battering before being put in their place, when cut-out pulling became the bicep punching of speedway’s new dawn, Maeve Bissenden-Summers made her speedway debut, Greg Blair found that jumping over fences is more fun than bouncing off them.

And quite a few riders – and fans for that matter – rediscovered the joy of no-quarter asked competitive racing without the winning is everything pressure which so often dominates league and cup meetings.

It was the perfect pick-me-up after the expected tough going at Glasgow on Friday. And the launch pad for what seemed to destined to be the Bandits’ now traditional end of season WhereTF did that win come from?  moment, this year Redcar, only for a last bend crash to force us to settle for a draw.

It also previewed the inter-club carnage to come as Ben Rathbone deposited erstwhile Bullets’ team-mate Mason Watson into the third bend fun bags at a rapid rate of knots – and kept a straight face as he said sorry.

Rumours that a variation on the theme – Formula Format II – may be in the offing for an end of season extravaganza have done the rounds. As with all rumours they may be true they may be pish.

What’s certain is that the Bandits – who have Jye recovered from a hand injury inflicted during his game of Flint skittles at Monmore Green but Busk poorly and doubtful after a Danish League crash – and the Bullets, with Kieran back down at reserve and Ben up in the top five – need to bring their A team on Saturday night with victory vital at opposite ends of the respective tables.

Start 6.30pm. Tickets from berwickspeedway.com/tickets cash on the gate, more opportunities to be pictured with your favourite rider in the grandstand than you can shake a selfie stick at.

No room for a horror show – Rocky or otherwise.

George Dodds
George Dodds

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