Dick Barrie's picture


We seem to be at Ipswich every second week this season.

There in the Cup in March and rained off (if only they had covers!) ten minutes before tapes-up in April.

Now we’re back again this week --- and there’s yet another visitation due in September, for heaven’s sake!

Fortunately, I like the Suffolk folk, so it isn’t any hardship to grab my gear and head south when we’re booked in – and the last visit, the washed-out one, was quite handy as I had a bit of business to attend to over towards Luton the day before.

Which is why I was driving afterwards around rural Buckinghamshire when I met the road-block. One with a huge police presence, stopping and questioning a selection of motorists. Still don’t know why.

I was selected (of course) and a large member of the Bucks fuzz (ha!) enquired why I was on that particular road.

Of course it got complicated, until I said I was going to speedway.

The copper then got all interested, and told me his grandfather used to race – at the speedway, just up the road. This, he explained was at Brafield-On-The-Green, and grandad was a Brafield Badger!

Now, I’d heard of Brafield, but never been there. I had some free time, and asked it is was close enough for me to take a detour. “Just fifteen minutes up the road” he told me. So off I went.

Now Brafield-On-The-Green is a beautiful wee place, a picture-postcard English village in every respect.

The old speedway, now a stock-car circuit, er, isn’t.

It looks as if God, having put in pretty fair shift, was totally knackered by the evening of the sixth day and, having made the village look so nice, reached this site a few miles out of town and he just tipped his celestial wheelbarrow sideways and slung out what he had left.

But I’ve seen it. Another long-dead speedway site to tick off the bucket list, I suppose. The Badgers’ nadgers!

Moving on (as I did pretty smartly) we take a break from the business of picking up the pieces of our first-ever Championship campaign this Saturday, with Kevin’s much-deserved big meeting.

Everyone will have a “Doolan story” to tell on Saturday night, but one of the things maybe not mentioned is the period when he was at King’s Lynn – maybe around 2006 -- and used to bring a big cantilevered stand into the pits, pop his bike on and crank a lever – and up came the bike to a handy level to be worked on!

“I tell you, mate” he enthused. “These are the coming thing. Much easier than grovelling about in the dirt between races. Take my word for it – in ten years, everyone’ll be using these, all over the world!”

Kevin Doolan. Great rider, superb skipper, all-around good guy.

Lousy prophet.

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