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George Dodds's picture

Well that’s the merry out of the way; the happy follows next Monday and then it’s simply a case of counting down the Saturday’s until March.
Mind you, thanks to our super Supporters’ Club, January and February are taken care of for a quick speedway fix courtesy of a tasty looking Hall of Fame event and the amazing – and doubly sold-out Tai Talk-in.
The Magnificent Seven has been named – five we probably anticipated, one – NBJ – is a welcome return and in John Lindman the cunning Courtney boys and the young Havelock produced a real left-field signing which caught most of us on the hop and the imagination of many.
We’ve gone for strength in depth while others – such as Scunthorpe and Lakeside have taken the two big hitters road.
Few will lament the disappearance of the black and white tactical ride although the introduction of an anorexic version of the old TS rule gives the impression of a fudged decision at AGM.
More intriguing is the plan that races will only be called back if a rider breaks the tapes.
Fellow blogger Dick Barrie has long campaigned for the starting tapes to be done away with altogether and transponders employed to control race starts in a way familiar to fans of most other forms of motor sport.
While many who back the plans seem to believe that it would lead to smoother, more even starts I tend to believe that it would do just the opposite – actually showing up the difference in riders’ reaction times and engine speed would lead to fans howling their derision at the staggered arrival of the fabulous four into the first bend while the computer printouts showed that the start was fair and legal.
However, and this is where I could become a fan of transponders – what about the punishment for dropping the clutch before the lights went out?
Well if we followed the blueprint for sports already using the system there would be no recall, no red lights; instead the guilty party has to endure an in-race penalty.
The possibilities are endless: a compulsory back straight doughnut; a pits ride through; a full straight and two bends’ wheelie; necking a martini cocktail, complete with cherry on a stick; translating a Sam Masters interview into English; eating two Andersons scotch pies without removing the helmet.
Perhaps we should just stick to starting tapes.
PS: The arrival of Mr Summers brought with it a flurry of publicity material from the busy minds of the legendary Lanning family.
One which caught many attentions was the plan for the hirsute one to jog from his home near Wooler to Shielfield Park for home meetings.
I’m told it’s a distance of 16-odd miles – and am quite happy to take Aaron’s word for that.
Turns out that it was a bit of copy-generating out of the box thinking and I for one am glad.
Not that I don’t think our super-fit Aussie is up to the task but rather for the sake of the long-suffering Denise.
Because she would have been the one pushing two bikes and carrying the kit bag as he jogged up the A1 on a Saturday afternoon!