I used to be of the opinion that nothing ever happens in the off season but as I've gotten older, and uglier, I have realised that this couldn't be further from the truth.
In the last week or so we have learned that Chris Harris, undoubtedly a British Speedway legend, has been dropped from the Peterborough lineup almost two months before turning a wheel for the club.
Whilst I am sure that “Bomber” will bounce back and find a team place elsewhere, there are sadly a further seven riders in the same boat following the sad news that Workington Comets will not be returning to the track in 2019 to defend the treble they so famously won in 2018.
Sadly for Comets fans, club owner Laura Morgan was forced to admit defeat in her search for backers to keep the sport alive in Workington and they have applied to have their licence frozen with a view too hopefully returning in 2020.
In all my years following the Bandits, Workington has always been one of my favourite tracks to visit and I have made a few friends there over the years. While I am the first to admit to poking fun at the Comets over the years, this has always been light hearted and I feel that the Championship will be poorer in their absence.
I sincerely hope that the great Comets fans do not become lost to the sport and that the Comets can bounce back in 2020 and we can renew the friendly hostilities for years to come.
When Jamie Courtney held his fans forum at the Black and Gold a few weeks ago, someone mentioned that if the sport of speedway was lost in Berwick, it would devastate the town and surrounding area. Well if you ask the people of Workington, I am sure they will echo those exact sentiments.
Has there ever been a more important time to show your support for your team? I don't believe there has, so get your backside trackside in 2019!
In other news, I want to share with you a story that will perhaps restore some faith in humanity and if nothing else, further hammer home the fact that speedway people are the best people in the world.
On Christmas day I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the Speedway Star and Speedway Mail from the week I was born as well as a couple of programmes from Bandits away meetings in the same season. By pure coincidence I noticed that the programmes in question were both Knockout Cup meetings against Newcastle and Mildenhall respectively.
This got me thinking…” Wouldn't it be cool to have the programmes from the home meetings to go with them and stick them all in a frame?”
So I did a little research and realised that I between these two meetings we had actually raced Long Eaton in the cup as well so the challenge then became to get the programmes from these two meetings as well, to basically complete the chronicle of the Bandits entire cup run in 1987.
So with that in mind I decided to take to Facebook and send out a plea to all the speedway people I knew to see if any of them had these programmes hidden away. Within 24 hours I had three of the four programmes I needed thanks to the efforts and generosity of Martin Clyde, Colin Clyde and Stuart Bathgate, however the Long Eaton away programme still eluded me.
Refusing to be beaten I took to Ebay and could find just about every other programme but the one I needed so I decided to go back to Facebook and try again. Searching for “Long Eaton Speedway” I stumbled upon a group by the name of “Long Eaton Speedway Memorabilia” and once they had accepted me joining I asked the question.
Within about half an hour a gentleman by the name of Ian Gill has said that he had unfortunately sold the programme around a month ago but he was happy to scan his copy and email to me if I could lay my hands on the genuine article. Happy days!
True to his word Ian emailed me the scans through but he also put me in touch with a friend of his whom he thought would maybe have the original copy I was after. A quick email and a smooth transaction later I had indeed sourced the elusive Long Eaton Invaders vs. Berwick Bandits programme from the 17th of June 1987. Happier Days!
After messaging Ian back and forth and thanking him for his efforts and offering to buy him a pint, or indeed a cup of tea should he ever be up in Berwick in the future, I began to realise that Ian as well as being a total gentleman, seemed to be genuinely thrilled to have helped out a fellow speedway enthusiast.
As a result of this I learned a number of things, the power of social media is incredible and for all the bad that it can cause, it does occasionally do a lot of good. I was also reminded just why I bleat on about speedway fans being the best folks in the world…because it just so happens to be true.
And in case that wasn't enough I also realised that Ian and his good lady have a website selling a vast array of speedway related goodies which is well worth checking out.
Visit www.kgcreations.co.uk and pick yourself up something incredible for yourself or a loved one, or indeed something for a loved one but actually for yourself! If you can't find what you are looking for simply fire Ian an email and I am sure he will endeavour to help you much like he helped me.
Faith in humanity restored…check!
Season Ticket ordered…check!
Bandits ready for the off…check!
Now roll on March!
Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman, have an idea for a feature, or you simply want to chew the fat over all things speedway, you can email me Mythman666@hotmail.com. If your compliments, or indeed gripes can be contained to limited characters. You can send me a tweet @Mythman666.
Until next time...and there will be a next time.
Right I’ll hae’tae gan