Published on 27th July 2020
Author Dick Barrie

No leagues in 2020..

It ain’t for me to say that the government is right or wrong, but the incongruity of speedway not being allowed to perform in front of a socially-distanced paying public while stock-car racing (in the same stadia where bikes are banned) is quite OK is quite radically stupid.

But it is a Tory government.

I have no insider knowledge on what the Berwick promotion are planning, but the two training sessions – which carefully explored and tested social distancing in the pits — and the (very successful) trialling of the advance ticketing process indicate an eagerness to put the sport back on public show at Shielfield as soon as legally possible.

The question of whether people will want to come into a stadium in these uncertain times has been asked, but I personally believe this isn’t an issue.

Yes, some folk will shy away and stay safe, hiding under the bed until a vaccine is proven and available, but they would be replaced at the stadium by people desperate to watch speedway – any speedway – after so long.

Back at the end of March this year, as we tumbled into lockdown I offered one of these wacky weekly weblogs, pontificating about how speedway picked itself up during 1945 as the war ended and Britain got itself back into gear for peacetime.

Which, after six years and a worldwide death toll of 65 million would have been very much a ‘new normal’ – 75 years ago.

We had no leagues, and only a handful of tracks opened up after VE Day.   But while plans were being laid for a full league programme in 1946 the tracks which did open up for a few late-season bounce fixtures were well rewarded.

Bradford, Newcastle and Glasgow ran meetings that packed ‘em into Cleveland, Brough and the old White City.   Whatever the contest, who the riders were, didn’t seem to matter.

The public had missed their speedway and just wanted to watch motorbikes going sideways!

At the risk of criticism for repeating myself, I concluded:

“Indeed, if our season is to be delayed this horrible year, when we do get a chance to put bikes onto the new Shielfield, it might not matter too much if there’s a proper league or even if teams are turning up for matches with more than a few guests – people will just want to see speedway!”

An opinion by which I stand.

If and when the lads are allowed to open the gates and present some racing this year, no matter what they are allowed to put on – a Starza, a Bordernapolis, a Bandits versus whoever challenge meeting, a junior-level bounce affair, whatever – I am confident there will be a public appetite for speedway.

Of course, that’s only an opinion.     Some readers may not agree.

Which is fine, I’ve never shied away from constructive criticism, delivered to the address below.  Bring it on!

Mind you, a couple of  ever-so-slightly insulting e-mails hit the in-box after my last blog, accusing me of being a “puppet of the promotion” and “brown-nosing” in my golden prose.

Well I’ve been doing it a long time, writing stuff about speedway in Berwick for half a dozen promotions over close on fifty years – believe me, there have been more than a few times they haven’t been too happy with what I was going on about!

But I’ll keep it up, whatever my correspondents think.  I’m convinced that the  older ones gets, the more one feel the world is filling up with idiots

But there you are, the world is full of shitty things.

Look at Michael Gove.


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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