Dick Barrie's picture


Speedway in Berwick – and most other places -- is off the menu. Two weeks into the season and hardly a wheel turned in anger.

Up, down and across the land, most prudent citizens have been checking the ark-building instructions detailed in the sixth chapter of Genesis.

It isn’t just the track, the car-park is like Passchendaele in 1917 and falling rain meant racing was a total no-no.

Hopefully, this coming Saturday will be fine and sunny as we welcome back the Tigs.

As many may know, I’m from Scotland’s greatest city and it was as a six-year-old schoolboy my love affair with speedway began, at Glasgow’s old White City.

On Wednesday, June 22nd 1949. Tigers 52, Giants 32 for the pedants among my readership.

(On the very same night, a baby named Meryl Streep was born in New Jersey – who knew?)

From the first race, indeed from the first whiff of burning oil, I was hooked. Helplessly, hopelessly devoted to the business of skidding.

Within a few years, I was spending time I should have been devoting to revising (OK, maybe just vising) for my 11-plus -- we called that exam ‘the quallie’ – hanging around the track workshops, running errands for the riders and mechanics and trying to make myself useful. Happy days.

Nowadays the Tigs – having (sometimes just) survived moves on from the White City to another seven different circuits – are to be found (talk about circles?) racing at Ashfield, which had been the home track of the very Giants I watched them beating nearly 69 years ago.

Doing well too, and tipped by many to – finally – repay recent investment and go toppermost of our Championship poppermost.

Well, we’ll see.

The startling departure of long-term manager Stewart Dickson might have repercussions, not only in the Glasgow pits but through Scotland’s ongoing lack of top-table representation as he had only this past winter been empanelled to the BSPA management committee, and was also to be involved in the administration of this season’s shared events.

Nae luck, just when we think we’ve got a straight-talking committee man, there he isn’t!

We await news of his replacement, and any reshuffling of the MC pack. Stewart was voted in by the main body of the BSPA --- I’m not sure if he’ll be replaced by the same process, or if there lurks a cunning plan worthy of Caligula to parachute in a new person-in-power…..

Caligula, you may recall, was the Roman emperor who was so disappointed in the personnel gaining favour as big-wigs in and around the seven hills that he announced he was appointing Incitatus – his favourite horse – as a consul.

A style of government which might liven up, even improve BSPA conference decisions, that’s for sure.

Mentioning horses, I should tell you I was feeling a bit lucky this week, and decided on a tasty treble.

I put my dough on three horses, called Sunshine, Moonlight and Good Times.

Not one winner. I blame it on the bookie.
Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?). He is always happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk