It's March, which means it's speedway month and the season starts in a matter of days. I'm sure we can all share the elation of standing freezing our Jacob's crackers off on opening night!
Unfortunately for all of you it means that you will be hearing from me a lot more in the coming months...
However before I get this particular set of ramblings underway I have a bone to pick with both Glasgow and Newcastle. I spent hours writing a preview for the 2019 season,which presumably many of you will have read, only for both teams to then make changes before a wheel is even turned, rendering my preview useless.
To be fair though it might have been useless before that, but I'm laying the blame firmly at their doors!
But I digress....
During the off season I often find myself with time on my hands...now time is a dangerous thing for someone like me because I then start to think. But the trouble with thinking is that it has the potential to bring trouble to one's door and perhaps I shouldn't do so much of it...but then again, without it I wouldn't be here would I?
So, what exactly are these thoughts I hear you say?
Well, as I was scouring through the fixtures for the season and planning a road trip around them I began to think about fixtures that used to be on the calendar, that are no longer there for one reason or another.
One such example that sprung to mind was the old regional Four Team Tournaments where for example Berwick, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh would face each other. Now my memory is a little hazy on the exact format of these meetings as it has been the best part of twenty years since these took place, but I fail to see how these sort of meetings wouldn't be a money spinner for teams within close proximity of one another.
However, with the thoughts in my head being far from straightforward I started to think outside the box a little bit.
What if the magic of the old Fours could be recaptured and in turn revamp the Pairs meetings too?
Now hear me out here, had Workington came to the tapes in 2019 there would have been 12 sides in the Championship which would have been an ideal number for a Fours tournament, but sadly that hasn't happened.
However, I don't see that as an obstacle and it certainly hasn't stopped me playing devil's advocate...so with that being said, here is what I came up with...
You essentially split the league into two groups, North and South.
Northern Group - Berwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Redcar Newcastle and a "Select side." (stay with me)
Southern Group - Birmingham, Eastbourne, Leicester, Sheffield, Scunthorpe and Somerset.
Still with me? Excellent!
Using a similar format to the Speedway Of Nations, the top two riders and a reserve rider from each team battle it out and the top three teams from each group then meet in the final.
This wouldn't necessarily have to be restricted to just three meetings either, as at a guess the North and South "semi finals" could spread over more than one meeting if you so desired.
This would give the riders and fans more meetings and it would allow promoters the potential to have more people through the gate with there being more teams on show.
While the format perhaps isn't perfect, it would help plug some of the gaps in the fixtures whilst also trying something a little different.
Now for the really good news, that isn't the only idea I have been toying with. (I did warn you about the dangers of thinking)
The Riders Championship has been one of the highlights of the calendar for as long as it has been around, but what if every rider in the league had the chance of a crack at glory?
Again hear me out...
There are 11 teams in the Championship with seven riders each, making for a total of 77 riders.
There are several unattached riders but for the sake of this lets call them wildcards.
So 77 contracted riders plus three wildcards gives us 80 riders.
With 80 riders there are a couple of possibilities...
Option one - 5 x 16 rider meetings, top four from each meeting qualify for a 20 rider final.
Option two - 4 x 20 rider meetings, again where the top four would qualify but for a 16 rider final.
While the format can certainly be played around with and the obvious things like injuries and team changes will happen and inevitably screw things up it does allow every rider a fair crack of the whip, whilst also allowing some of the "top heavy" sides to have more than just a sole representative in the final.
Again with something like this, it allows for more meetings for fans and riders alike and it is something a little different that can perhaps be played around with to fine tune.
The likelihood is that neither of these things will ever happen but it does present food for thought, and if nothing else it has filled in some column inches and given away some of the nonsense that flies around in that space between my ears.
However, should it happen, remember that you heard it here first!
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