Dick Barrie's picture


Did we really believe that the idea of fixed race nights would be the saviour of British speedway?

Were we fooled by Lord Voldemort saying that the other league racing on a Monday and Thursday – no, hold on, Wednesday, well, except for Swindon – would at a stroke bring an end to guests and doubling-up and weakened teams and falsely-strengthened teams and, oh I don’t know, Third World poverty?

Nearly two months into the season, where are we?

Absolutely no kind of a good place.

Despite the cure-all of fixed nights, it seems riders are disappearing to Denmark on Wednesdays with gay abandon – and sometimes Fridays as well.

After consistently having refused permission for British-contracted riders to race in the made-for-Polish-TV SEC competition, our rulers have rolled over and allowed FIM Europe to tickle their tummies, and now we’re seeing guests for guys who are choosing to chase the televisual zloty ahead of any commitment to their British club.

Here at Berwick we thought that we’d be able to avoid the problems caused by the other league – I refuse to call it “the big league” as some still do – but by signing a set of good riders, it is hardly a surprise that first Spud and then NBJ have been drafted by Rye House to bolster their spluttering Rockets.

Which is fine – until the hypothetical case of Rye House going to Swindon on a Thursday we are fixtured to be at Sheffield, Ipswich or Redcar arises

Of course we’d get priority. You’d think. But in this day and age, should that happen don’t put the house on it going our way…….

Because Voldemort and his assortment of Death Eaters seem to consider the rule-book no more than a sort of rough guide to situations, and just when us Muggles think we have a situation which is clearly covered by the book, too often this season it turns out it ain’t necessarily so.

The Scott Nicholls situation, the no rolling averages/20-match rolling averages/30 match rolling averages and the hastily-discarded no-getting-off-the-bike-at the-gate rule --- I mean, what’s happening?

Here’s the thing, fifty-five years ago, the administration of British speedway racing was in such a mess that they called in a retired judge, Lord Shawcross, to examine the circumstances of such shortcomings, on which he duly ruled, his report – “The Shawcross Report” – being the basis of how our sport is administered to this day.

Maybe time for us to look for another judge?

It’s like when I visited Jerusalem on my travels, and watched the pilgrims praying at the Wailing Wall.

I asked a chap who was there what it was he was praying for so fervently?

“You might not understand” he told me. “But I’m praying for a better set-up for British speedway”

“Oh!” I said, a bit taken aback. “How’s it going, then?”

“Like talking to an effin’ brick wall”.


Disagree with Dick - as so many do? He will always be happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk