1 October 2023
The Dirt Xtra
The more things change, the more they stay the same, or so…
Did l feel lucky, ready to rock, rolling into Oxford last night?
Not really, I’ve been in attendance at too many Bandits’ away fixtures — at a rough guess, over 250 of ’em — to be ever anything more than ever-so-slightly optimistic about their chances, not least on the slicker southern circuits ….
But the signs were there, if I’d known where to look……
The Rickster had made his changes and was looking quicker again, Theo had shown us against Poole he was back on blob. Bomber and Leon are always capable of beating the best — and now Jonas, well, wow!
Plus our secret weapon of team spirit!
Just watch our guys. After every race the whole team, plus manager Flinty and the promotion are crowded together at the pit gate, waiting for the on-track Banditos to come back in, win or lose ….
Then they’ll encourage their team-mates who are out next. Telling them where the dirt’s moving to, which starts are working best and that sort of stuff. Invaluable information, especially in the early heats.
Then watch the opposition. Too often seven individuals, rather than a team unit. Rarely there to collectively welcome home a hero. Not much in the way of fist-bumping or hugging — and as for the hired-gun riders in the Premiership that we see on TV on (occasional) Monday nights, well…..
Trust me, our kind of spirit is worth a few extra points to any team — and added to the eye-opening speed our guys were using to get out of the starts last night, the Cheetahs had (to quote the late Mr Carter) noooo chance!
Quite apart from the result, l really enjoyed being at last night’s meeting.
So many old pals! Former owner (and master butcher) John Anderson was there with his mate Willie — l think l see John more often at away matches than on Saturday nights — and In an incredible pre-match half-hour, l shook hands with (in no particular order) Phil Crump, his grandson Seth, Bert Harkins, Paul Ackroyd, Barney Kennett, Peter Oakes, Paul Hurry and even ‘Diddy David’ Hamilton, the one-time Radio 1 presenter (still broadcasting daily on Boom Radio) who used to be the announcer at Reading and Wembley.
That’s what l love about just spectating — as opposed to working — at speedway. Apart from watching the racing (without having to concentrate on what l have to say, or do, next) l really enjoy just standing with good mates, full of bonhomie and swapping merry banter.
Not for me the worries that someone’s racing at one-tenth of a point below his average, or if one gate’s offering better grip to this or that rider from the start. Or if the bad guys might spring a taccy-sub in three races’ time….. Who cares, if we’re only watching, hands in pockets, not a care in the world?
I’m there to enjoy the company, the entertainment, the thrills and spills.
Yes, winning’s good – indeed, last night it wás GREAT — but enjoyment’s the main thing.
See you Saturday, and let’s have some fun!
Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do)? He is always happy to hear from interesting people on email@example.com