Published on 13th December 2021
Author Sarah Charalambous

Now we know.

Our Bandits are again to be sponsored by FTS and powered once more by Keenwood Karpets.

Maintaining the same title and ‘powered by’ sponsors for two successive seasons is never a given and we must be happy that FTS and Keenwood are proud to be again associated with the club in such a major way.

Not only that, we’ll now have GHT sponsoring the Bullets – Grant Henderson having already put his money where his mouth is to the betterment of junior speedway in this area with his backing. of the Duns facility.

This Championship continuity, and increased NDL backing, shows our club has fulfilled the sponsors’ needs for local publicity, while the speedway club have the financial backing so necessary to maintain their planned budget. Truly, a win-win-win situation!

We also know how the 2022 season will play out, details having been laid before us by the bosses in BSPA-land.

I note that the new season has a new director on board – a quick glance telling me there are now only two of the BSPA committee that reigned in 2018 left, indicating a continual injection of new blood into the top team.

A fellow-blogger (no names, but he’s male) once said this was good, believing that committees are like nappies and should be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

Anyways, our FTS Bandits will race in a Championship of eleven teams, the same number as finished last year’s shortened season.

Kent Kings are no more, but Oxford Cheetahs have been revived in their place (using several of their riders). Birmingham will be racing on under new management, hopefully now budgeted to survive financially by following the Berwick fiscal model, rather than that which brought the Brummies to their knees last year.

Ten league matches at home, ten away and the top six to the play-offs. (This year – surely?)

Furthermore, there’ll be the usual KO Cup, plus a new mid-season CL team competition to bulk up the fixture list.

In addition the CLRC will be back, as will the much-loved Pairs, to be staged – somewhere – on the traditional Friday night before the Cardiff GP, with a second big event at the Millennium Stadium on the Sunday afternoon too, being a round of the World U-21 Final, cutely named SGP2.

One thing our bosses will need to watch for when planning fixtures will be the dates on which the 2022 World Long-Track Series will be staged, as both Bomber and Theo are among the permanent riders in this GP-like affair!

Indeed, the whole long-track scene seems to favour Bandits past and present this season. No less than six (out of fourteen!) of the troupe are familiar names to us. As well as Messrs Harris and Pijper, Romano Hummel, Dimitri Berge, Pepe Franc and Stan Burza are also in all six rounds!

If a clash with the long-tracking is inevitable, we do have the GHT Bullets in reserve, who could maybe step in and stage a stand-alone match or two if the FTS Bandits were to be left short-handed. This weekend’s news of Greg Blair racing on as a Bullet almost ensures any match featuring our youngsters will be worth the money!

As I understand it, the NDL side will be contesting a seven-team league, with Oxford and a Kent team (on a different track) joining Leicester, Belle Vue, Armadale, Mildenhall on our visiting list.

Sadly, it seems the new Workington venture has been delayed, after a spate of pikey-led vandalism delayed track construction, making the authorities reluctant to extend a full welcome to the NDL. It does look as though they’ll be allowed to stage challenge matches and the like, with a view to gaining NDL status in 2023.

With Eastbourne also due back for that campaign, the NDL really seems to be slowly building solidarity. What would be really good to see would be former member-clubs Buxton and Isle of Wight coming back in from the cold.

I’m puzzled by suggestions on social media that the new Workington side will be prevented from using the old “Comets” nickname, apparently being withheld by the previous, failed, promotion. No doubt it’ll all come out in the wash, and it doesn’t matter over here anyway – we’ll still call them Comics!

In other news, it’s a boost for the big league that Jason Doyle, Max Fricke and Poland’s Tobias Musielak will be back in the Premiership next season. Good times and big names coming back at last to British speedway, I hope.

What else? Well, since my last blog, there was the bold Storm Arwen, which wrecked our garden and sent bits of roof flying about like Mary Poppins – and I know there was quite a lot of storm damage down the road at Shielfield, too. But there were others worse off than us, so mustn’t moan.

In addition, work’s been really, really hard. So, so busy, hospitals closing for refurbishment and patients are having to be moved around, appointments booked and rebooked, bloods all organised, which is pretty draining at times.

Plus, at home, it was my eldest’s birthday this past weekend and, oh yes – Christmas!

Ho, ho, bloody ho……..

#UpTheBandits #UpTheBullets
Disagree with Sarah? Contact her on: – if you feel brave enough!

Sarah Charalambous
Sarah Charalambous

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