Welcome one and all to another instalment of Mythman rambling on your brand spanking new Bandits website. I'm sure you will all agree it looks fantastic and I know I cannot wait to be bringing you the lowdown on all things weird and wonderful in the speedway world, so without further ado, lets get cracking!
Last time out I promised to bring you somewhat of a preview of the coming season, a little bit of a taster of what I think may happen in 2017. So whats the fairest way to do this? Alphabetically? Best team in all the land first? Seems fair enough to me, so no better place to start than here at Berwick, and your Mighty Bandits.
How do I think the Bandits will fair? Well I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that we will be an entertaining side, both home and away and I suspect we may surprise a few along the way. I think that we know exactly what to expect from our skipper Kevin Doolan, rock solid reliability on and off the track has become the norm in recent years and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
I know that Claus Vissing is absolutely champing at the bit to get started again with the Bandits, and we all know when he is on form at Shielfield, there are few better. If Claus can remain fit and injury free, then I can see him being a genuine challenger to the number one race jacket which Lewis Bridger will of course, be aiming to keep a hold of.
The case of Lewis Bridger in an interesting one, as he will be seeing a few of the tracks for the first time, but he is a capable enough performer to adapt to surroundings quickly and should he find a good setup for Shiefield he could also take some stopping. Talking of which, another man who will fancy laying claim to that number one jacket is our flying Frenchman Dimitri Berge, although much will depend upon how he performs at some of the smaller, tighter tracks. On the bigger wide open spaces though, he is undoubtedly one of the fastest guys around.
At the lower end of the team is where I feel the key lies though, if Ryan Blacklock can chip in with a few points here and there he will have done his job and more. Dany Gappmaier starts the season as lead reserve and has already proved he can win races almost anywhere, which isn't too shabby for a guy who hadn't ridden league speedway before. However, more of the same will be required in the Bandits are to be at the right end of the table at the business end of the season.
The key man for the Bandits in 2017 though? It has to be the local lad Liam Carr, he proved that he could mix it with anyone at this level last season, but if that was his apprenticeship, then this is the real thing. Starting in the main body of the team will be tough but I know Liam will want to stay there and there is no reason why he can't achieve that, improve on his starting average and solidify himself as at least a reliable second string rider at this level.
Of course my predictions shouldn't be taken as gospel, and you may have your own ideas about how we will perform. As we all know, nothing is won on paper and whilst some teams look stronger than others, there are sure to be a few surprises along the way, it wouldn't be speedway if there wasn't!
Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that the Bandits will sweep up all before them and go through the season unbeaten, but what I will tell you is that there is a quiet air of optimism around Shielfield Park as the new season draws ever closer. I have a feeling that the 50th season could well be one to look forward to for the small club with the big heart. I know I personally can't wait for it to get started, to get that roar of the bikes in my ears and that smell up my beak once again, you just cant beat it!
Next time out I will take a brief look at some more of our nearest and dearest rivals and see who I think holds the key to their potential success. Of course as always if you wish to agree or disagree with the Mythman, or you have an idea for a feature you can always email Mythman666@hotmail.com, I am always happy to hear from anyone who wishes to chew the fat over all things speedway.
Until next time...and there will be a next time.
Right I'll hae'tae gan