Well that’s almost it, the proverbial fat lady is clearing her throat and getting ready to belt out a tune, and our season is almost at an end.
Had you told me back in June that it would all be over at the weekend, I think most of us would have been happy with that as the well documented rotten luck and injuries were ravaging the Bandits side and results weren’t going our way.
Fast forward to now and we are currently enjoying a bit of a purple patch, five wins on the bounce at home and Dr Feelgood is back on the Shielfield terraces.
These wins may not have been enough to bring us off the foot of the Championship table, but it has restored a lot of pride and it has proved a deserving reward for our promotion who have worked tirelessly to get things right all season long.
Irrespective of our league position or results we have had probably the best season ever in terms of the quality of the racing we have witnessed and that is down to our promotion, our track staff and of course the riders out on track.
Talking of the riders out on track, and we saw a few here, everyone who at one time or another wore a Berwick race jacket during the course of the season was a part of that entertainment at one time or another.
As we all know, as the season wore on we made a few changes to the side and it is vastly different looking now to what it was at the start of the season, as Ryan Blacklock, Dimitri Berge, Claus Vissing, Liam Carr and Lewis Bridger all made way for changes for varying reasons.
Joe Jacobs deserves a mention too as he did an admirable job during his time as a Bandit and arguably exceeded the expectation of most people I am sure.
However it is the side that we finished the season with that I want to focus on here, which is the side that has ridden its way into form and performed admirably in the face of adversity over the last few weeks. That is the side that has probably restored a lot of people’s faith and pride in the Bandits once more.
Unfortunately we didn’t really get to see much of Lee Payne in a Bandits jacket as injury curtailed his season, but we had some able guests step into his place, most notably Jack Parkinson Blackburn who gave nothing short of 100% every time he was out on track.
We saw even less of Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen as his spell as a Bandit, only one meeting in which he sustained a season ending injury. But even in that very brief encounter there was no doubt that he was going to be a popular addition to the side and it is a shame his season ended the way it did.
What about the remaining five though? All heroes in my eyes as every one of them rose above and beyond the call of duty to entertain us and to put a few late season wins on the board.
Our Captain Kevin Doolan continued to be the inspirational leader that he always has been and in spite of him suffering a few machinery problems of his own at varying times throughout the season, he was always the first to lend a hand to his team mates. In spite of the results often not going our way he was rarely seen without a smile on his face, and when he did find his form he was still as bad to beat as ever.
The only rider to last the whole season alongside Kevin Doolan was Austrian rider Dany Gappmaier and particularly in the early part of the season he was one of the brighter lights in the side. Double figure scores week in and week out became the norm and even though his form dipped a little bit at times, he would still pop out and make a start and win a race, often when we needed it the most.
Nick Morris was high profile mid season signing and he more than delivered. Reeling off race wins for fun, he was a revelation, a proper number one and frankly a joy to watch. The manner in which he won a lot of his races with aggressive cut backs off the fourth turn had to be seen to be believed at times. In the past we have signed big name riders who haven’t lived up to the hype, but Nick Morris more than lived up to it and delivered on every level. He took the pressure off the rest of the team by going out and winning the big races on a consistent basis.
Our last two riders probably raised a few eyebrows when their signings were announced, Jye Etheridge had been unceremoniously shown the door at Edinburgh last season after a confidence draining spell with the Monarchs and found himself without a team place at the start of the season. He found himself thrown in at the deep end during one of our reshuffles and now he has a club that appreciate him and have allowed him to prove himself and I would say he’s done alright! Another who has put together a string of double figure scores together week after week and taken a few big scalps along the way. He’s now a full Berwick asset too and a highly popular character around these parts, and surely must be in contention for title of most improved rider in 2017.
Not bad for a lad labelled as “the worst newcomer in British Speedway” around this time last season.
If you had told me at the start of the season that David Howe would be winning heats 13 and 15 in 2017, I think most folks would have laughed. Out of the sport for two years, David decided to make a comeback and the plea was “come and get me” to anyone who would take the chance. Berwick took the chance and David has paid them back in abundance with a string of vintage displays. Riding with the enthusiasm and commitment of a teenager he has more than proved his doubters wrong. The best bit though? He wants to do it all again next season and I’m sure the Bandits fans would love to see the rise of “The Phoenix” (Copyright Roy Clarke) continue on into 2018.
There you have it folks, the Mythman Season Review. You are probably all wondering who has won the coveted Mythman Rider of The Year prize; well there is only one way to find out....
Get your backside trackside this weekend, cheer on the Bandits and buy a programme, the winner shall be announced in there! If that doesn’t put an extra 500 on the gate, I don’t know what will!
Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman, have an idea for a feature, or you simply want to chew the fat over all things speedway, you can email me Mythman666@hotmail.com. If your compliments, or indeed gripes can be contained to just 120 characters. You can send me a tweet @Mythman666.
Until next time...and there will be a next time.
Right I’ll hae’tae gan