Well then, let’s take a look at how the season’s going….
I have to hand a copy of Speedway Star magazine dated March 31st – the big, thick one (last time I used that description it was about a well-known personality at another northern track) which includes all the experts predicting how the various clubs would do during the coming year.
Let’s see. Locally, our fans were represented by starting marshal Andrew Blair, who identified Ippo, Glasgow, Sheffield and Lakeside as the top four teams – he also (perhaps ruled by heart more than head) said the KLS Bandits might finish fifth. All sunshine, lollipops and rainbows there, Andrew!
As our local representative of the cut’n’paste brigade, reporter Keith Hamblin came over as a little more pragmatic, again nominating Ipswich, Glasgow, Sheffield and Lakeside for the play-offs, but dropping our black-and-gold brigade to ninth.
Next, taking all the nominations of the Star’s reporters from all the Championship tracks, the magazine published a prediction table for their suggested finishing order – this producing the same top four (by a distance) but overall we were pinned to the very bottom.
The overall supporters’ table was much the same – everyone had the ‘big four’ at the top, and we were down in the depths, usually paired with Newcastle as likely to pick up the wooden spoon again!
So much for predictions – what about the cold, hard facts?
Well, so far, your very own KLS Bandits (powerfully-powered by Mike Hope of Wooler, of course) haven’t done too badly, eh?
We were required to start the year against the same big four clubs, the ones everyone is hailing as the crème de la crème. Which is French for evaporated milk.
We’ve now beaten each of the predicted top four, getting better every time – Glasgow by 4 points, Lakeside by eight, Ippo by 10 and on Saturday night past Sheffield, the reigning champions by a stonking sixteen!
This last one was particularly pleasing, as being without NBJ and John pessimists might have expected a wobble, but the concept of strength-in-depth works wonders -- cometh the hour, cometh the men!
After the Ipswich match we were fleetingly at the very top of Championship table, and even now sit second behind Peterborough with three matches in hand.
All of which suggests that, as predictors, all the fans from other clubs and all the ‘expert’ speedway journalists are every bit as good at forecasting how a speedway season will pan out (soccer World Cup reference alert) as Diana Ross was at taking penalty kicks.
Long may it continue.
Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?). He is always happy to hear from interesting people at firstname.lastname@example.org