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Dick Barrie's picture

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Weather permitting, we have our last meeting of the year tomorrow evening.

It is disappointing to be missing Nick Morris and Josh Grajczonek from the teams lining up (tapes up 7pm) although we will see Stevie Worrall and Flyin’ Ryan Douglas in their race-jackets and the quality of competition shouldn’t be compromised.

However, it wasn’t hugely sensible for the Premiership Riders Championship to be presented on the final Saturday of the regular season.

When it was announced that the event was to be staged “on a Saturday night at the end of the season at Belle Vue” we were truly enthused, many of us veterans remembering all those cold misty October nights at Hyde Road, when the last night of season was always the biggest and best.

A great idea to bring it back, sadly compromised by staging it on a Saturday when six Championship clubs – four of whom are still involved in chasing the all-important play-off places – have matches scheduled.

Doubling-up (or down, or sideways) means the majority of riders competing in Manchester tomorrow have been pulled out of their Championship clubs’ teams – and that the ‘best of the rest’ who might have been expected to act as guest replacements aren’t available, either.

Sorry folks, that’s poor planning, and a slap in the face for our league.

I love speedway, love our Saturday nights at the skids, but have to confess being somewhat worried about the future of speedway in the UK.

Despite our having had a thrilling, romping ride of a season (however gloomy the league position, we still have so much fun) here at Shielfield Park, in general there have been cracks appearing in the façade of the game.

This year, when the promoters sit down to mend the broken dream, I truly hope there will emerge better, brighter and stronger-minded leadership with a will to serve the sport instead of egotism and self-interest prevailing as so often happened in the distant, as well as recent past.

It is extraordinary how a roomful of intelligent, qualified adults can gather to discuss problems occurring with a subject in their chosen field, yet year after year come back down the mountain with muddle-headed, stupid decisions.

In 2018 there must be no – or at least dramatically-culled -- doubling-up of riders between teams.

In 2018 there must be contemplation for the wellbeing of all member-clubs in all leagues.

In 2018 there must be consideration for clubs with stadiums and/or planning permissions which preclude their racing on “two fixed nights of the week” – which might be introduced to suit the petty selfishness of other nations, other clubs and greedy riders.

So there.

But we can always have cock-eyed optimism and dreams. Dreams of changes solving the problems of our wonderful sport/business/entertainment (delete as necessary) in one fell AGM swoop, making 2018 the first year of the Great British Recovery.

Why not?

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