The countdown is on, and I don’t mean that show off the telly, I am of course talking about the 2018 speedway season which gets underway here at Berwick in a little over a month’s time.
With all the teams in the Championship almost built, we are beginning to get an idea of what we will be up against when the tapes make their way upward at the end of March. As clichéd as it is, there are going to be no easy meetings as all the teams look to be fairly strong.
As is always the case, there tends to be a “key man” in every side, that rider that you look at who will improve and make rapid strides and increase his side’s chances of glory.
Normally there is one rider in each team that sticks out as that guy, but in the case of the Bandits 2018 side I am struggling to pinpoint it down to just the one.
This may sound like a criticism, but it really isn’t, it’s quite the opposite in fact. Now while it would be nice to go out and predict that all seven Bandits will average over 10 points a meeting, go undefeated all season and sweep up everyone in front of them, I know that is an unrealistic expectation. However should that happen you heard it here first!
The point I am making is that when you look down the Bandits line-up, it is a fairly evenly matched set of riders who are capable of big performances on any given day, making it difficult to pinpoint one man who holds the key to success.
However if the Bandits are to be successful in 2018 it will be a true team effort that brings that success, with every rider making a contribution.
Aaron Summers will lead the side and be the man expected to win the big races, he has done this before so this shouldn’t phase him too much, hopefully a change of scenery will do him the world of good and he can add to his starting average even just a little bit.
If Kevin Doolan can keep being Kevin Doolan then the likelihood is that he will produce the occasional vintage display and he will be expected to maintain his starting average and provide the solid engine room backing to Summers.
Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen is an interesting case as based on the few occasions I have watched him race, I believe he has the potential to be a top end rider in the Championship, but for whatever reason he has had a stop start career in British Speedway. With an injury free run in the side though there could be room for major improvement from the popular Dane who endeared himself to the Bandits faithful after only one meeting in 2017.
Another interesting case is David Howe, following a very successful comeback in 2017, he returns in 2018 with actually very little to prove to anyone in 2018. However it is my belief that as David grew in confidence with every meeting during his comeback last season, the hunger and desire also returned and he will see 2018 as a chance to prove just how good he can be when given the time to properly prepare and enjoy his racing again.
Jye Etheridge and Dany Gappmaier start at six and seven which gives us one of the strongest reserve pairings in the league, and given the scores the two of them were knocking in at certain times last season it won’t be too long before either of them are knocking on the door of a place in the main body of the team, which surely has to be the aim for them both. Jye in particular last season showed that he was capable of scoring well in the main body of the side and if Dany can start to produce that same form we know he is capable of, it won’t be long before he is stepping up too.
Last but by no means least, Swedish newcomer John Lindman arrives as a relatively unknown quantity, however with him arriving on an assessed 5.20 average instead of a 7.00, which eases the pressure on him coming in. He looks like an exciting prospect and if he can achieve his starting average and find his feet then he will have done his job. While it’s difficult to say very much about a rider I have never seen before, it is clear that our promotion have done their homework and are excited about him and so should you be!
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 just 280 characters. You can send me a tweet @Mythman666.
Until next time...and there will be a next time.
Right I’ll hae’tae gan