While it came as no real surprise, Tuesday’s official announcement that there would be no league speedway in Britain this year was still a blow.
Once our esteemed Prime Minister announced that spectators would not be allowed into stadia before October the writing was on the wall and the BSPL bowed to the inevitable.
There is a glimmer of hope for race-starved fans in the borders as the official statement from our forward-thinking promotion dangled the tantalising possibility that, providing the Covid moons can be aligned with political opportunism (er I mean sound scientific advice) there could be racing in some shape or form at Shielfield in 2020.
Eagle eyes should remain trained on the club’s social media accounts for an indication of what, when and how that might happen.
As with everything Boris there is usually an alternative version of his truth to trot out in the event that pronouncements prove too unpopular with the betting or licensed fraternity – or friendly Russian oligarchs.
So we have “test” events ahead of October where limited numbers of spectators will be allowed to attend Glorious Goodwood, country cricket friendlies and the world snooker championships in Sheffield at the start of next month.
Presumably if they are staged without creating a spike in Covid cases then the government of England – Scotland and Wales will inevitably head off in their own direction – will give consideration to allowing a restriction on the maximum numbers allowed to attend stadia which could in turn open the door for the likes of speedway, lower level football and rugby to allow fans back onto the terraces and into the posh seats in meaningful numbers.
Social media also tells me that the Bandits trialled a new ticketing system at last Saturday’s second behind closed doors session and that it was well received by those whose name was on the list.
Again that could very well be a pointer for the shape of things to come.
More forward thinking from the bosses who have come up with a number of innovative schemes during their tenure which has resulted in the Bandits being in ruder health both on and off track than for some years.
Of all its new ideas none has benefitted the club more than the launch of the 5-1 Draw.
Jamie Courtney’s brainwave of a scheme which saw 120 fans pay a tenner a month with half paid out in prize money – £500 and £100, 5-1 you see – and the remainder going the club’s S.T.A.R.S. initiative immediately captured the imagination.
It received another boost when the Bandits’ Supporters Club offered to take on the onerous and time-consuming task of making sure that the monthly tenners were collected and performing the actual draw in addition to recruiting new members.
Since Stevie Worrall pulled the first winner from the hat last August the 5-1 has done its best Topsy impression and, along with the number of prize winners, has grown and grown.
The Supporters Club revealed this week that there are now 152 active members of the draw – although it would be fair to say that number 56 has so far shown all the activity of a quadriplegic Dodo – and that the club has benefitted by £7,230 and rising.
There may just be time to grab a number before the next draw, on July 31. Contact the Supporters Club via their Facebook page or firstname.lastname@example.org to be in with a chance of winning.
The S.T.A.R.S. section on this website gives some idea of where the money has been spent to upgrade the facilities at Shielfield – including the much trumpeted track reshaping.
The management says it hopes to give us all a chance to see how good the changes are before 2020 is out.
It has a record of delivering on promises.