Published on 16th May 2022
Author Dick Barrie

How many black cats have our Banditos squished in the past fortnight?

At about 7.55pm on April 30th, our team was on fire. Reaching the play-offs was gonna be easy-peasy!

Then, it began to unravel.


Firstly, Theo and Leon proved their hand-shaking technique was a bit below that demanded by the freemasons, leaving one Dutch Master and one Local Hero sprawled on the back-straight after both had passed tactical substitute Ulrich Ostergaard during Heat 9 of our defeat of Newcastle.

Theo was shaken, but not stirred. Leon however, had awkwardly dislocated his shoulder, and remains sidelined.

One down.

Less than 24 hours later, Ty Proctor – who had just begun to show us his true form – was caught out on the fourth turn by the notorious Newcastle track surface and whacked the Brough Park fence, injuring his neck. He remains sidelined.

Two down.

Couldn’t get worse, could it?

You bet it could – on Saturday night, we got no further than fifty yards into Heat 1 when Adam Roynon somehow got just slightly out of shape, but in so doing caused both his skipper and our stand-in captain to come to grief – independently – on our own Shielfield shale.

As seems inevitable, the aftermath of these first-turn incidents is that the visiting rider gets up, dusts himself down and gets ready for a four-man re-run, but the Bandit doesn’t get up, and heads for hospital……

And so it was, yet again. Charlie Chuckles escaped unscathed, Jye joined Leon and Ty on the injured list.

Three down.

On a bad-luck scale of 0-10, I’d say this is an 11.

Thus, as I write this (Monday afternoon) we are preparing to head off to Plymouth and Poole with four Bandits, one rider-replacement, a borrowed Monarch and 50% of the Thompson twins……

A big ask? Maybe, but as one who has watched the Banditos struggle to get sixteen or seventeen points in the Deep South – Eastbourne and Rye House being two bad memories that won’t go away – I’ll still be at the St Boniface Arena and Wimborne Road the week, with fingers crossed, impossible dreams in my heart and a black-and-gold shirt covering my beating heart…..

Because it’s what I do.

For those not following the drum to the south coast tomorrow there are brighter prospects ahead, with the GHT Bullets back in action on Saturday night, facing down their closest rivals at the top of the NDL standings.

If they can dethrone the Royals, our young ‘uns will extend their table-topping lead to a stonking nine points over Kent, and leave the rest of the league playing catch-up.

We’ll see Ace Pijper elevated to #3 in the line-up – some achievement after only five official matches – with Mason Watson going to #2 to partner Kyle in Heat 1. As expected, Kieran and Ben take over the reserve positions

The Royals, with Alfie Bowtell boasting a higher average than our skipper, and Ben Morley (who we’ll see against us at Plymouth tomorrow) also holding an average somewhere north of the nine-point mark, won’t be easy meat.

But with your support – and our attendances at these stand-alone Bullets meetings are growing each time they race – nothing’s impossible, no team’s unbeatable.

There’s also another outing for the Academy lads in the NJL on Saturday, with Redcar coming up (and featuring Britain’s top lady-racer Katy Gordon in their line-up) so in short, that’ll be twenty-one official, meaningful races for a tenner.

Less than 50p per race!

Let’s go skidding………….


Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do)? He is always happy to hear from interesting people on

Dick Barrie
Dick Barrie

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