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George Dodds's picture

… and so I was left to ponder who or what is King Dick and why he, or it, has such a prominent presence on Jye Etheridge’s left shoulder?
Obviously I am too poor to afford BT Sports let alone fund a jolly to Prague to Selfie Stalk Nigel Pearson and Kelvin Tatum, so the Grand Prix was off limits.
Saturday night prime time TV redefines the words excruciating, unfathomable and un-necessary; Party on the Parade was charging an arm and a leg to listen to some – admittedly classy – Jock Rock and, well if I ever want to feel every day of my 54 years I venture into a Berwick pub on a Saturday night – a real ‘weird guy hanging around the playground’-type experience.
With no speedway at Shielfield I needed alternative sources of entertainment.
Once last week’s episode of The Bridge – or Broen/Bron as Messrs Busk-Jacobsen and the now departed John Lindman would know it – had been viewed and dissected it was still only 7pm.
Well 7pm on a Saturday is Speedway O’Clock so I ramped up the AC/DC and reached for my copy of the previous week’s The Dirt.
Which is how I came to be reading Dick Barrie’s wise words, beautifully illustrated by a picture of a smiling Dragon resplendent in his second racesuit, that of the Belle Vue Aces.
Where I noticed that alongside the Aces team sponsor and some builder called George Hepburn (anybody?) the aforementioned patch for King Dick.
A quick cross reference in Colin Poole’s online photo emporium confirmed that the more thoughtfully designed and superiorly attractive KLS Bandits racesuits also feature the aforementioned patch on the self-same broad shoulder.
At this point I must caution readers to heed the words of Procul Harum “not to do what I have done” and attempt to Google “King Dick” without first ensuring that the Safesearch feature is enabled. Failure to do so will lead to results that are both eye-watering and not a little disturbing.
But I needed to know.
Look first at the source.
Was it an homage to Scotland’s indisputable greatest-ever centre green presenter and top country radio DJ?
Were young Australians, in preparation for the inevitable voyage of self-discovery back to the motherland forced to view never-ending loops of Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? After all Dick van Dyke and his stunning Cockney accent defines Britishness in the same way that my generation’s awe at everything Down Under comes from dissecting the thought processes of Skippy the bush kangaroo.
Is the Dragon a fan of Belgian musical legend Wim de Busscher; the whale that feasted on Captain Ahab’s leg; German ski jumper Richard Freitag or, as a rugby league fan, familiar with the excellent writings of one of my former colleagues, the Hull Daily Mail legend Richard Tingle? Was he a secret fan of New Zealand’s longest-serving Prime Minister Richard Seddon (1893-1906)?
Indeed it could even be a retrospective nod to Master Etheridge’s bit part in Mmm, Margaret Salmon’s documentary about the 2017 Berwick Bandits, aka The Showering.
All worthy of the epaulette epitaph King Dick.
As it turns out King Dick is a valuable piece of sponsorship from a Birmingham-based tool maker (stop sniggering on the third bend) which has been on the scene for almost as long as Australia – founded in 1856 in case you’re interested.
In addition to filling in long hours on a speedway-barren Saturday the quest also served to inform me that it is possible to buy such things as cranked and flat slogging wrenches, bastard files and lenker rods at highly competitive prices.
It’s probably just as well that we have some on-track action this Saturday – and indeed Sunday – with the second instalment of the 2018 quest to take the bubble out of the troublesome neighbours. Once again this weekend it's Diamonds at the double.
So far things have not gone quite according to plan for the Bandits as we lost home and away to George English’s black and white army in the Tyne/Tweed Trophy.
Injury to Scott Robson and Lewis Rose's, hopefully temporary, retirement has given Kevin Doolan, David Howe and Nicolaj Busk Jacobsen the opportunity to get some valuable laps in around Brough Park.
And every rider’s Shielfield form has improved dramatically since we suffered that surprise defeat way back in May; Theo Pijper’s midweek signing should be another boost to the Bandits.
Surely lightening cannot strike twice?
Discover the answer from 7pm on Saturday.
PS. I am informed by my former Manchester colleagues that our young Australian is struggling to impose the Dragon soubriquet on the Premiership; some at the National Speedway Stadium still insisting on referring to him as “Dame Edna”.
And they say that Manc comedy died along with Bernard Manning.