Published on 26th June 2019
Author Kevin Doolan

After a bit of a stop-start feel to the early stages of the season we now seem to be getting a bit of continuity and regularity to our meetings.

Saturday’s Championship Shield semi-final against Leicester was tough, but we can’t really complain about being beaten by a team that is in much better form than us at the moment and actually topping the league table.

On the positive side we had flashes of individual brilliance, the racing was great, there was drama, plenty of tactical gambles and a smoothly-run meeting on a great racetrack.

We don’t like losing, but matches like that sharpen you up and get you ready for what is still pretty much a full programme of league fixtures left to be raced.

I’m starting to actually feel like the part-time, semi-pro speedway rider that I am these days; feeling sharper at the starts again and, hopefully the more meetings I get in quick succession the more consistent my gating will get.

My first race on Saturday was a great feeling. I love it when the track has dirt on it. I can’t really explain it but when I it feels like you’re not fighting the bike you just want the race to go on and on.

I feel like I could do 10 lap races and everyone can see how much I enjoy those conditions.

They tell me that only Craig Cook has ridden four laps of Shielfield faster this season, which is not too bad.

That said I can’t rely on that being my only strength and need to keep working on being adaptable to conditions and improving my starts.

Last season I had issues mid-summer with my set-ups when the weather got warmer but changes that I made over the winter should mean that as it gets warmer – which it surely must do someday soon – my form will heat up too!

The Championship Fours at Peterborough turned into something of a non-event for us as a team but overall the meeting seemed like a great day’s speedway and the Bandits’ supporters were as vocal as ever.

From our point of view the Fours is pure chaos with so many riders, mechanics, officials, managers and promoters in a confined pits’ space that you spend most of your time avoiding eye contact so you don’t get drawn into time-consuming, unimportant conversations.

I personally still believe the that the two-day format with a festival vibe trialled a couple of seasons ago would bring out the best of the event but I have to give credit to the Peterborough promotion and track staff as this year’s event ran smoothly and the track was safe and raceable.

From what I seen and heard the early races were a bit processional. It’s a sad side effect that the restricted silencers have had on the bikes over the last few years and a real shame that quality riders on a perfectly prepared track can’t make passes.

I was out in heat three when there was plenty of grip but, despite being on the pace, making a pass never felt on the cards.

My second race wasn’t until heat 15 and with only two short preps I was impressed with how well the track had held up. I managed a win, felt comfortable and like I had good speed so it was disappointing that my meeting was over.

However, I managed to soften the blow with a couple of beers at the track and El Mexicana en-route home.

From the outside the meeting will be remembered for some great racing from the middle of meeting and the final as well as the exciting run off for second so a job well done by all involved.

This Saturday, well if I’m honest I don’t even know who is in Scunny’s team these days – and it doesn’t really matter.

Like the rest of the Bandits I’m just keen to crack on with more meetings and a good win Saturday night will be a great way to finish off a tough month before heading into an even busier July!

Kevin Doolan
Kevin Doolan

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