WE SAW ‘EM FIRST!

Published on 1st September 2020
Author Dick Barrie

While we await news of when the clanking of spinning turnstiles will be heard again hereabouts, speedway in the UK’s slow emergence from the Covid-demanded dark ages continues.

I know it’s pure co-incidence that the first meetings I heard about (at which spectators were to be admitted) all seemed to be happening, or going to happen at tracks – Scunthorpe, Leicester, King’s Lynn and Ipswich – which are promoted by members of the BSPL management committee, but as Plymouth have now scheduled a public meeting at NL level for next Tuesday, the door may now be ajar.

Let’s hope for a further general spread of venues this new month, where racing can take place in front of paying punters, will be announced shortly – before it gets too cold to be hanging around on draughty terraces!

Meanwhile, at the weekend we had BT Sport providing some first-class live speedway as the 2020 World Championship got going at Wroclaw.

Watching some of the races on Saturday – Doyley impossibly hanging in at impossible angles against Magic during Heat 1 right through to the classic battle between Tai and Bartosz over every inch of their semi-final – reminded me just how high the level of this competition is.

At Shielfield Park we usually race to Championship standard, which is not quite GP level. – yet we have, over the past couple of decades, been able to watch nine — over half — of the fifteen permanent riders in the current GP series in action.

Not bad, eh? I think I’d defy any other Championship club to provide such a list. This wee border club really does punch above weight, y’know………

We saw Max Fricke taking a while to blossom at Edinburgh before pushing steadily onward and upward to his current impressively-high level……..

Further back, when Trelawny and Newport visited Berwick in 2003, did anyone (honestly, now) spot the Grand Prix-winning potential of the 20-year-old Matej Zagar or Niels-Kristian Iversen at 21?

In the past decade, did we realise, when we saw Zmarzlik, Woffinden and Doyle romping around Shielfield that these were actually future World Champions?

Did we clock Maciej, wee Dudek or Mikkel Mikkelsen on their FIM-event visits as potential GP contestants?

So, what I’m saying, is that as the new normality returns, there will be many young riders arriving at Berwick to face the Bandits – and a very small proportion of these new faces will move on, and up, to become GP regulars, even World Champions.

The trick is; will we spot them on the way up?

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Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?). He is always happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk

Dick Barrie
Dick Barrie

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