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Kevin Doolan's picture

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Here it comes! It will be the last meeting of 2018 -- the season may have been a short one in time but it has been packed with action, struggles, celebrations, bad times and good.

As a captain of a team I could not have asked for a better group of lads to stand beside each Saturday night.

I have taken inspiration from their determination and resilience. I have laughed almost nonstop at the banter and I have felt immense pride in our results, our effort and the character we have shown during our performances.

I have said all year that I was not looking at the numbers, that I was focusing on ourselves, improving our team and being ready for the playoffs when the time came -- and we showed we were ready and we proved that with our results toward the end of the season.

We were only one point off our playoff target and in a season where a lot of crazy results have happened it was exciting, right down to the last match at Ipswich.

We would have loved to have our crack at the playoffs and see what we could have done but we can be massively proud of how far we have come as a team and the example we have set along the way.

It has to be seen what direction the sport takes in 2019 but everyone from the management and riders through to the mechanics, track staff and fans have given Berwick Speedway a solid foundation and we can all stand tall knowing in 2018 we set the example in many areas when it came to entertainment in sports.

So it’s on to one last night of on track entertainment.

The Bordernapolis. My very first visit to Berwick was to the Bordernapolis of 1999, won by Mark Loram in the rain. I had been staying with Jason Lyons in Manchester and after a hectic week I headed up with him just to help on the spanners.

About an hour before the event started Jason said “Get your kit out the van -- you’re in the meeting!”

I can’t remember too much about that meeting apart from the black dirt and the dark surroundings being pretty intimidating and I’m pretty sure my results were poor but it was my first visit to Shielfield Park and the furthest north I had been in the UK at that point so it was a good experience.

I’ve mentioned in previous columns about the importance of open meetings to help riders develop and progress.

I was one of the riders that, without these special open meetings my career would have never developed the way it did. At different times open meeting have given me the chance to learn new tracks, earn money, race and beat riders higher up the rankings then myself, test machinery and set-ups.

There can be great physical and mental advantages to taking on open meetings and while league racing is our job the sport needs the open meetings to secure the progression of the talent and showcase that progression at all levels from the Stars of Tomorrow to the Division One Riders Championship and eventually Grand Prix Speedway.

Have a great night everyone and thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable 2018.

I hope to see you in the Black and Gold for a pint at the after-party and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the club’s big end of season party at Ord House..