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George Dodds's picture

First, as they say, a bit of housekeeping.
Season passes are still available at the supremely competitive price of £229 (£179 for concessions) via the Bandits’ revamped website.
With a programme, our big brother The Dirt, included for good measure it works out as admission for £12.76 a head at full price and £9.43 for those qualifying for the lower rate.
Also any local or national business which has been overlooked by the Bandits’ commercial hit squad while it pounded the streets drumming up hard-won sponsorship and advertising deals can put itself forward firmly in their sights either by emailing sales@berwickbandits.co or ringing 07712229898.
That goes for employees who think their bosses may have a bit of spare folding and would respond to a call.
Good quality blackmail material and incriminating photographs to help seal the deal will be considered individually on their merits.
Packages range from £250 to £10,000 – something for even the most picky of marketing managers.
And let us not forget the legendary Bandits’ VIP Hospitality packages.
Neil Stephenson, taking time out from his residency at Ord House Country Park and fresh from making multiple world champ Tai Woffinden’s dream come true, again heads a crack squad of party people behind the hospitality box glass. hospitality@berwickbandits.co or a tinkle on 07486668240 is all it takes to make the dream of a night to remember become reality.
Berwick Speedway Supporters’ Club’s Facebook and Instagram pages continue to be a cool way of winning things without having to part with a penny – a selection of Aaron Summers ultra-cool leisurewear to celebrate our number one’s birthday last week, the latest giveaway.
Further signs that Winter is becoming a distant memory and speedway is roaring over the horizon come with a Back and Gold double header this weekend.
Young Leon is first up, staging his season launch from 7.30pm on Saturday.
Kevin Doolan and ex-Bandit Mitchell Davey – thankfully recovered from the horrific injuries he suffered in a crash at Birmingham last season – lend their support to Berwick’s most famous teenager.
Sunday sees the keenly anticipated 2019 staff meeting when existing volunteers and anyone with a desire to help make Shielfield the only place to be from Seven on a Summer Saturday can rub shoulders from 5pm.
Bossman Jamie is due to be in attendance – his Oxfordshire pile allegedly being used to film interior scenes for a new version of Pride and Prejudice.
The highlight of these shindigs is invariably provided by track curator Ian Rae; Razor traditionally invoking the spirit of Rabbie Burns, Churchill, Bunsen Honeydew, Nietszche and Fenella Fellorick during his call to arms for the season.
I’ll be honest. It’s a meeting that I began to believe would never be called when the Courtney brothers caught us all on the hop on the cusp of Winter by announcing that the club was up for sale.
It looked bleak. After all there’s not too many people in the Borders with thousands of pounds rammed into the tea caddy just waiting for the opportunity to buy a speedway club.
I feared that Berwick would become another casualty of British speedway’s struggle to keep its head above water; that it would disappear from memory, appearing only on a lousy home-made flag tied to a balcony at The Millennium Stadium – the Bandits consigned to speedway history alongside Hackney Hawks, Oxford Cheetahs, Exeter Falcons, Wimbledon Dons and Barrow Blackhawks.
It was the perfect pre-Christmas present when Jamie announced that he was stepping forward to, with the help of brother Scott, run after all in 2019.
Unlike our friends north and south we have managed to keep clear of the dangers of vaping and retiring Finns and from the west the whole problem of servicing big debts and actually getting investors and sponsors to pay up the promised cash.
Instead we continue the countdown to press and practice with the Magnificent Seven settled, fit and eager to get Season LII underway.
All fine and dandy.
But one of the battles for 2019 must surely be to ensure that we reach the end of it in such rude health that when Kev lifts the Championship Trophy in September, Jamie can immediately announce the opening night for 2020.
It is true that speedway is a business and spectators are customers.
All that is required of them is to turn up, part with their hard earned cash, cheer the Bandits to glory, offer to buy glasses/balls of wool for referees, boo Cookie, snaffle a burger, neck a bitter and toddle off home happy.
Some do much more but that’s more than enough from most.
But if you do happen to see the opportunity to point new sponsors, a potential advertiser, a group wondering how they can get to spend quality time with Sandra and Viv on a Saturday night and still have change for a pickled egg on the way home, pluck groups of holidaymakers from the clutches of Bradley Bear and steer them in the direction of Buddy the Bandit, then it will go a long way towards ensuring that we have live speedway to watch next season.
After such a fretful Winter I need a, metaphorical, hug from the Bandits’ brethren.
Which makes it ironic that I won’t be around this weekend.
Instead I will be in Berlin, a city which holds some fond – and many very hazy – memories as a base for trips into, then Communist, Poland to watch speedway in the 1980s and early nineties.
Had American President John F Kennedy been brought up in The Prefabs, Prior Park or Highfields I believe he would have said: “Ask not what your Bandits can do for you but what you can do for Berwick speedway”.
Mind you he also made a trip to Berlin and ended up telling the world that he was a doughnut filled with jam and topped with vanilla icing.
As Dean Hachamovitch – the man who invented autocorrect – would say: Hardbodies Prefect.