George Dodds's picture

I guess that it shows how far we have travelled in such a short time that some fans went home last Saturday disappointed that Workington hadn’t put up much of a fight as we made it three home wins on the trot.
That a track which began the day submerged should end it dusty, albeit so smooth that even Mr Schlein would have struggled to find something to whinge about – was testimony to the hard work behind the scenes.
While it is true that compared to some of the epic battles witnessed so far this season it was one of the less eventful evenings – although James Sergeant and Mason Campton may disagree – there was still much to admire.
Danny Gapp made a welcome return to form, Jye made a seamless transition from reserve berth to number three, Connor Coles suggested that the dynasty is in good hands and then there was our skipper and THE ride.
While Captain Cook may had his eye on young gun Morris it was a wilier old Anzac who made him eat dust.
Kev picking himself up from first bend bunching to leave the Cookie monster in his wake brought the house down and proved what dear old Tony Millard used to say. “Form may be temporary but class is permanent”.
We even managed to bring a point – and the Border Trophy – back from Derwent Park the following day, Mr Cook and the flawless TJ just having the firepower to inflict a rare defeat on the boys in Black and Gold.
An especially irritating old editor of mine used to love to remind reporters that “to assume makes an ass out of u and me”.
He thought he was being clever but we all knew who the real ass was! Suffice to say that – despite some less than anticipated management committee decisions already this season – I am assuming that there will be no late change of rules which allow the Bandits to qualify for the end of season playoffs.
Therefore I will also assume that the visits of Newcastle, Edinburgh and Sheffield over the next three Saturdays will mark the end of our 50th season.
It is a damn shame that the season should be coming to an end just as the riders are earning reward for our efforts – and just that little bit of luck now and again – and racking the points up as a result.
It seems a long time since Newcastle arrived in the Tyne-Tweed Trophy, the first team action in our 50th season after the magnificent opening night individual spectacular.
Robert Lambert headed the Diamonds' scorechart that night at the start of a season which has seen him win the European under-19 and under-21 titles. On Saturday he will be racing in the World under-21 Grand Prix with Edinburgh and Rye House’s Ricky Wells replacing the Norfolk teenager in the Shielfield line-up.
Lambert leads an exciting group of British talent which includes Dan Bewley, Nathan Greaves, Kyle Bickley, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn and, of course, Berwick’s very own Leon Flint.
One of the challenges facing domestic speedway – and the past couple of weeks has shown that there are many huge, fundamental problems to be tackled head-on – is how these young talents can be nurtured and given the opportunities at International level without incurring the wrath of the British public by racing on the continent.
One of the obvious solutions is for British speedway to actually stage some of these meetings.
Every year a round of every championship should be staged in Britain, the costs underwritten by the BSPA or SCB. We should also be staging meetings in the SEC series and qualifying rounds for both it and the GPs.
Any TV deal with BT should see money first and foremost ring-fenced for staging such meetings.
Then, and only then, should it be shared out equally among the domestic league teams.
One way to help British riders is to give them the advantage already afforded to their Polish, Swedish and Czech counterparts – meetings held in conditions that they are familiar with. Let the world get to grips with British tracks in the same way our riders have to roam the continent in search of glory.
English football, cricket and rugby has, for decades, been held back by and insular attitude towards change, speedway should learn from their failings and come up with a plan to back our riders and give them the best chance possible to compete on the international stage.
But first there is a chance to complete a Shielfield “treble” over the Diamonds.
Messrs Worrall, Wells, Lindgren and the legend that is Stuart Robson will have other ideas. Tapes-up 7pm.