Published on 14th December 2020
Author Dick Barrie

So here it is – Merry Christmas!

Everybody’s having fun.

Look to the future now – it’s only just begun….

Had we been singing along with Noddy at this time last December, would we have belted out that chorus about the future just so lustily?

It’s been a total bugger of a year. Unforgettable. It would take a ‘Men In Black’ memory-wiper thingie to make me forget it.

Businesses, in every walk of life, have suffered huge losses by being required to shut down.

So — as Christmas approaches, let’s look to the future. Remember that little gift that keeps on giving – and why not try slipping someone, maybe not even a speedway regular – a shot at the 5-1 Draw as a (virtual) stocking-filler?

The funds generated — for monthly winners as well as the club — by the promotion’s superb money-maker are absolutely vital for the continued wellbeing of speedway in the borders, and keeping our Banditos operating on a par with the rest of the Championship pack.

Let me give you an example of a potential unforeseen expense that might have to be faced. One we never saw coming as we were singing with Slade twelve months ago.

In 2015, it was decided by the club that the expenditure of thousands of pounds to maintain a sponsor’s licence (and thus be able to employ overseas riders from outwith the EU) was an unjustifiable cost to our strictly-controlled budget, a choice which – as recent seasonal results can confirm – proved sensible enough, given our policy of maintaining the bulk of the squad from season-to-season.

However, the Brexit mess – I’m advised I can’t use my original term – has wrought changes to UK employment issues, as I see it.

In a fortnight or so, riders holding EU passports who we have recruited (and maintained as club assets in a couple of instances) will suddenly become ‘foreigners’ and, as I understand it, require visas, work permits and an authorised, fully-paid-up sponsor to employ their skills here.

Now, I should state that I am not privy to any decisions the club, or the sport in general, are going to be taking with regard to the stated intention of re-declaring the same seven riders who were signed, sealed and delivered for 2020 as the staff for 2021 – but I feel that a club which can do so should do so. I do fully agree with the well-publicised stance taken by Glasgow’s Tigs over this matter.


To track the same squad will mean (as I see it) that three of our Bandits, who were previously allowed free entry to the UK as EU citizens, will – now or at some point in the near future — require visas and work permits.

And that, to assist in their application for a continuance of any previously-free visas, the promotion will require to re-apply for their lapsed sponsor licence to be reinstated, as well as investing in additional costs of employing Dany, Coty and Buskie.

Our promotion’s budget was set for last year’s expectations – now these extra fees might have to be incurred, if it is decided that the sponsor’s licence should be obtained. Which I feel is the case, even if not for the coming season, because we are going to need to get back in the game of recruiting foreign riders – which now means any non-Brit — at some future point.

If the club can afford to.

Which is where we all come in.

Our club has the marvellous 5-1 draw, which is administered – so very well – on behalf of STARS funding by the Supporters Club. Already, in just over a year, more than £10k has been handed out in prizes.

Many of us have one, some even two or more, balls in the bag.

As I’ve urged previously, it is all-the-more important that the 5-1 project continues to prosper, helping the ownership stockpile funding for rainy-day demands from out-of-the-blue costs – such as the re-application for a sponsor’s licence.

We all want our Banditos to prosper, on and off the new-look track – and if we can get ourselves, as well as our families and friends, into a monthly draw which sees 650 smackeroonies coming back to us in prizes each month, why not invest in, or upgrade, that monthly punt?

Contact, or phone Norman on 07751-985702 for details of how to get you and yours into the 5-1 ball-sack, helping swell the funding needed by the Banditos — as well as offering every numbered member the chance of a very nice wee earner?

Because, if we don’t step up and look to the future now (its only just begun) we could, for once, get left behind….

….and on that cheery note, a Merry Christmas to one and all.

Except Michael Gove, of course

Disagree with Dick – as so many do? He is always be happy to hear from interesting people at

Dick Barrie
Dick Barrie

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