While I’m delighted we’ve signed NBJ (I recall his first visit to Shielfield, in the U-21 World Final when he got as far as the first turn before high-siding out for the night) and although I’m looking forward to his debut as a Bandit on Saturday, my sights are already set on the week beyond.
The Starza! My favourite meeting of the year – any year.
What could be better than seeing into the future – without even needing a flux capacitor?
This season’s event – on August 5th – promises to be as good as any since 1970, with 16 young riders booked in from no less than five nations (my money’s on the Scot, of course) to give us their best.
Of the competitors, both Dan Bewley and Denmark’s Tobias Thomsen will be aiming to improve on their 2016 Starza showings – wee Dan was eliminated at the semi-final stage, and TT crashed out in the final.
In attendance will be Troy Scott, the Aussie from Broken Hill – currently on holiday in Berwick -- who maximummed (is that a word?) his way to the 1991 title at Berrington Lough, ahead of Edinburgh-based Brian Mercer and one-time Bandit David Nagel, who gained third place on the podium by beating 16-year-old James Grieves in a run-off.
Scott Courtney was kind enough to tell wee Troy that he’d get him involved again this time around – even if only be by presenting the trophy!
With a competition stretching back to 1970, there is a rich history surrounding our event. So many stories, big and little victories and quite a few might-have-beens.
In 1978 I think there were three riders (Mike Caroline, David Foot and Denzil Kent) who each won every race they finished – except none of them managed to finish more than three or four -- and their points weren’t enough to prevent the more calm and calculated Rob Grant (words I never thought I’d ever write) pick his way through the carnage to win the thing with 13!
Not once but twice we’ve had father-and-son winners – the Waites went first with Peter (1975) being followed by Wesley in 1998, while the Grants provided Rob in 1978 and Rob Junior in 2000.
The first winner was a Scot (Jimmy Gallacher) and recently we’ve seen Jade Mudgway from New Zealand and the well Hungarian Tamas Sike take our title.
At this point I should mention, although the Starza is ‘powered by Minibike Champs’ the organisers are still actively – dare I say anxiously? – chasing a wee bit of help in setting up the show, while keeping admission costs down to a measly £12.
Sponsor the whole jing-bang? You can do that for only £1,000. Cheap at the price, folks! Put your name on a race? Certainly, that’ll be just £100. Things a bit tight just now? – I can still get you fixed up, how about backing a rider -- only £70.
All these sponsorships will get you copious programme and public address mentions, of course – and all you need do to get signed up is phone Gary Flint on 07730-691897. Now!
Want to disagree with Dick (as many do?). He will always be happy to hear from interesting people at firstname.lastname@example.org