1 October 2023
The Dirt Xtra
The more things change, the more they stay the same, or so…
Well, having watched the two SON semi-finals, I was struck by a few things…..
Firstly, the good bits. They ran the meetings really swiftly, really smoothly. You’d have thought you were at a Shielfield double-header.
The discovery+ programming was well done, and could be cast to a simple-but-smart tv without three science degrees.
The minor nations, those touted as being there to be cannon-fodder, all had their moments. Norway, thrust into the mix at three days’ notice, tried valiantly (Lasse Fredriksen made me smile when he twitched at the start and sent Robert Lambert into the tapes) and Ukraine – while denied the generosity shown to them by Eurovision Song Contest voters – had, in Marko Levishyn, everyone’s Wednesday-night against-the-odds hero.
The surprise packages turned out to be Finland and France. Plus maybe Paco Castagna.
On the down side, the attendances were shocking – tonight’s was especially poor. Some re-thinking of a good concept is required if the idea of a four-day speedwayfest at a single venue is to be maintained.
Also shocking was that both the reigning World Champions and the hot favourites to succeed us both had to survive squeaky-bum qualifiers to even get to stick around for the Saturday show. Signs of a tilt in the balance of power?
The track was what Vojens has been for nigh on fifty years – smooth, slick and somewhat disappointing if you were expecting extensive passing. However, as the Danish authorities had been let down by the Esbjerg people, it was a major achievement for Vojens and its surrounding area to accommodate the logistics required to stage the tournament at all.
All in all, we are in the middle of what – after Cardiff – must be speedway’s major event of the year.
I was interested enough to watch it unfolding – I’ll miss the U-21’s tomorrow and the big Final on Saturday, as I always prefer watching live speedway to the televised variety – but not enthralled.
Here’s hoping I’m better-entertained, more-excited and cheerfully-cheered-up by the Bandits and Tigers on another Shielfield Saturday in two days’ time.
Please remember that we’ll be staging the annual Riders’ Collection on behalf of the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund during Saturday’s show.
Both clubs have seen favourite riders cut down in horrible accidents in the past, and it is the SRBF which has to pick up the pieces when these inevitably occur.
Our clubs do all they can to minimise injuries – Ashfield and Shielfield both have foam safety-fences, the only such barriers in our Championship – but when we send young men out to race one another on ferociously-powered motor-bikes without brakes, things happen.
Let’s see how much we can do to ease the pain of our injured heroes and their families through our generosity on Saturday night.
If you can’t be with us in person, or have stopped carrying cash these days you can still donate a fiver at any time by texting SRBF to 70085.
I expect we’ll have an advert in Saturday’s programme to explain other methods of donation – but if you can, just chip your spare cash into the riders’ buckets when the come around, probably after Heat 11, this Saturday night.
An interval during which we’ll also be making the monthly 5-1 Draw – and yes, there’ll be details in the same programme about how you can get on board the Berwick band-waggon as a 5-1 member, too!
Aye, and there’ll be speedway as well – tapes up at 7pm.
Let’s go skidding!
Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do)? He is always happy to hear from interesting people on email@example.com