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George Dodds's picture

Damn, drat, blow, flip, pooh, argh, nngh … feel free to insert the four letter word of your choice to sum up last Saturday night at Shielfield Park.
We certainly went through the wringer of emotions: pre-match trepidation after our less than stellar start to the season; surreal happiness as we raced into an eight point lead; the slow realisation that – despite the best efforts of an inspired Dany Gappmaier and skipper Kevin Doolan in particular – we didn’t quite have the firepower to complete the task.
And so it was left to Aaron Summer and Richie Worrall to seal victory for Glasgow Tigers to the raucous delight of the Red and White hordes.
Two points, two measly points – that was the difference between the sides after 15 cracking races.
Two points, two miserable points was the difference between Glasgow heading towards the top of the table and suffering their second successive road trip defeat.
Two points, two crummy points was the difference between the Bandits opening their account for the season and putting a smile on the faces of those who believe that winning is the only result and more muttering and mumbling and calls for Henry VIII-style man management.
Once again there was some cracking racing in front of a big and boisterous crowd – especially if you found yourselves among the Tigers fans on the back straight.
It’s strange to think that in five years’ time the same meeting will more than likely be a match-up between teams from two independent countries, the Weegie fans will have had to endure severe security screening at the Cornhill border crossing and Belhaven Best will be considered a luxury, international imported beer.
Hopefully the quality of racing will be as high as it was last weekend with Ian Rae and his crew producing yet another track which gave those willing to screw the throttle open full reward for their efforts.
Now I notice that some of our friends on t’interweb are concerned that the home riders are not getting sufficient home advantage from track conditions – especially at the starts.
The simple answer is that a track prepared for racers doesn’t differentiate whether those racers are in Black and Gold or Red and White – Bandits, Tigers or, indeed, Scorpions.
Positives aside it does give a little extra edge to this Saturday’s visit of Scunthorpe who, a home victory over Glasgow aside, have suffered a similar tale of disappointment and injury this season.
They almost pulled off a shock win at Workington last week before losing at home to Redcar on Easter Monday. Again three points – at Derwent Park – and two points at the Eddie Wright Raceway were the losing margins. The line between success and failure is narrower than ever in the SGB Championship this year.
Carl Wilkinson was a popular Bandit a few seasons ago while the Scorpions’ skipper Michael Palm Toft has been an outstanding guest for us on a couple of trips to Rye House in recent seasons.
A wrist injury means that Fritz Wallner will not be able to stage his own mini-Austrian Number One shootout with Dany Gapp but in Josh Auty, Lewis Kerr and Ryan Douglas the Scorpions still have enough firepower to make a Bandits’ victory something that we will have to work very hard for.
Scunthorpe, like us, are speedway survivors - the Lincolnshire town has twice had to conjure up purpose-built stadiums to keep the sport alive.
They also operate on a sensible, but tight, budget and work hard for their rewards.
I am hopeful that come 9pm or so on Saturday the four-letter words leaving my mouth will be whoo, yeah, pint (for celebratory purposes). I’ll settle for phew – as in “that was close but the racing was brilliant”.
Fingers crossed.