We are now in what is known as the business end of the season and for all there are plenty of meetings still to come up for some clubs, many clubs are beginning to wind down their 2018 season.
Even though there haven't been any trophies handed out yet, there has been enough action to form an opinion on how satisfied the fans are with their teams performances and the season in general.
With than in mind I wanted to gather a pool of information to see what the fans think about the season in general. I took to Twitter and sent out a plea for people to help me out and had a phenomenal response.
My thanks go out to Martin Clyde, Norman Clark, Phil Dawson and Stuart Bathgate for providing the opinions from a Berwick perspective.
And thanks also to Dean Felton, Christine Lloyd, Steven Murphy and Daisy (@TigersSheff on Twitter) for providing the opinions from a little further afield, Wolverhampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield respectively to be precise.
With that in mind, let’s get to the questions...
Question 1. Overall how have you viewed your team’s performances in 2018?
Martin – Berwick were vastly improved from last season, with a very solid septet at home which perhaps lacked that killer instinct away from home.
Norman - Many people thought Berwick would be near bottom of the table at the start of the season, so to still be in the hunt for a playoff place towards the end of the season is a bonus. A few more points away from home would have seen us there comfortably.
Phil - Berwick’s home form has been excellent, but away from home we have been average at times. However our home form has generally gotten better as the season wore on and some of he later performances were very encouraging.
Stuart - Berwick have been a bit of everything in 2018, sometimes good, sometimes bad and sometimes pretty frustrating. However the team have done well and I've enjoyed the season overall.
Dean- A lack of number 1 and inconsistencies amongst the rest of the side have lead to Wolverhampton being very poor this season, despite being s decent looking side on paper.
Christine - Glasgow have been somewhat frustrating due to being inconsistent and subsequently have underachieved in a season which promised so much.
Steven- After a below average start to the season, changes were made and that was the catalyst for improvement among the rest of the side and now the Monarchs find themselves truly in the playoff hunt.
Daisy – Sheffield sadly didn’t do too well but you could always tell that the effort was there and that the riders were putting their heart and soul into it and you can’t ask for much more.
Question 2. Which riders, home and visiting, have impressed you most in 2018?
Martin – Jye Etheridge and Nickolaj Busk Jakobsen have both been fantastic at home and Jake Allen was one of the most impressive visitors to Shilefield Park.
Norman – Jye Etheridge has been in very good form at home lately as have Nickolaj Busk Jakobsen and Theo Pijper. Scott Nicholls was superb when Peterborough visited and Ricky Wells and Nicolai Klindt were also very impressive.
Phil- All the Bandits riders have impressed at various times this season. Robert Lambert's performance at the British Under 21final was excellent and the likes of Scott Nicholls, Ricky Wells, Erik Riss, Nicolai Klindt, Ty Proctor, Nick Morris, Dan Bewley and Richard Lawson have all impressed on their visits to Shielfield Park.
Stuart - The Berwick riders have all had their moments and equally all of them have blown hot and cold at times, however I have particularly enjoyed watching Nickolaj Busk Jakobsen around Shielfield Park. Chris Harris, Scott Nicholls and Erik Riss have all impressed on their visits but I've been impressed with anyone who has come and given it a real go.
Dean- Tom Bacon guested for Nathan Greaves on a number of occasions and always gave 100% and I would like to see Wolves take a chance on him next season. Both him and Drew Kemp have impressed me especially given their limited experience.
Christine - Since Craig Cook arrived at the Tigers he has been superb,and up until his injury Lewis Kerr had been excellent too with Claus Vissing also having his moments too. Drew Kemp, Nick Morris, Erik Riss, Ricky Wells, Charles Wright, Dany Gappmaier, Richard Lawson and Scott Nicholls were all highly impressive on their visits too.
Steven- Ricky Wells, Erik Riss and Richie Worrall are all superb around Armadale , but none of them are as exciting as Josh Pickering, he is a joy to watch. Best visiting riders have been Scottt Nicholls, Nico Covatti and Matej Kus.
Daisy – At home Todd Kurtz and James Shanes impressed me whilst Adam Ellis, Jordan Stewart and Ty Proctor were all very impressive visitors to Owlerton.
Question 3. Who do you think is the most improved rider of 2018?
Martin - Dan Bewley
Norman – Michael Palm Toft and young Tom Bacon, who has come on leaps and bounds this season.
Phil- Robert Lambert
Stuart - Dan Bewley has progressed this season and hopefully he recovers well from his injury to further progress.
Dean- Dan Bewley
Christine - Jack Thomas and Joel Andersson have improved steadily as the season has gone on.
Steven- Josh Pickering
Daisy – Ty Proctor or James Shanes
Question 4. 2018 has been another tough season for British Speedway, with that in mind which changes, if any, would you like to see for the sport in 2019?
Martin – I would like to see an end to doubling up and the top two divisions make up one big league. With very few Grand Prix riders riding in Britain I feel British Speedway can survive there being one big league unlike in 1995/1996.
Norman – I would like to see teams return to race nights which suit the clubs and a serious look at the fixtures to eliminate teams having to go weeks without a meeting. Also the riders averages should be based on the ingoing season and not based on 20 meetings from the previous year.
Phil- All individual meetings like the British Final and the Riders Championships for example to go back to the old 20 heat formula where the top riders after the 20 heats ends up the winner, just like the good old days!
Stuart - I would like to eye the top two leagues amalgamate to make one big league. It would give the fans more variety of teams and riders to watch.
Dean- I would like to see doubling up scrapped if possible as I feel that until the team ethic is fully reinstalled in speedway, it will never recover or thrive.
Christine - There has to be more consistency in the application of the rules, better communication and more transparency within the sport. Perhaps an independent control board would help with this. I’d like to see less gaps in the fixtures during the summer months and where possible less reliance on guest riders. I don't want to see riders giving up during a race and surely there has to be some way around the manipulation of rider averages. Why should high average riders be penalised for simply being better? Wouldn't happen in any other sport.
Steven- Teams should return to the race nights that best suit themselves and I think a merger of some sort between the Premiership and Championship would greatly benefit the sport.
Daisy – I would like to see more clubs taking the leap from the National League and hopefully more young British Riders coming through the ranks.
So there you have it folks, the fans have spoken, and it would seem that overall the Bandits fans are happy with how the team has performed in 2018 which is a testament to how well they have done. It also seems the consensus is that change of some sort needs to happen and whilst I agree with that, I don't think we need to reinvent the wheel.
I like the idea of one big league, but it has to be done right. We are almost at the crossroads of the winter months and the AGM to decide where we go from here and I think we need to simplify what we have and make the best product possible out of it. I would also like to think that whatever decisions are made at the AGM actually look towards more than just a season ahead and they actually make a difference that benefits the sport.
We all know that when it's done right that Speedway is a match for any sport on the planet in terms of excitement, drama and entertainment, but underneath it all it is a relatively simple sport perhaps made overly complicated by its own rules. What lies ahead for Speedway in Britain may be unknown at this time, but one thing I do know is that Speedway fans are the best people on the planet!
Once again a huge thank you to everyone who took part in this and answered questions, I literally couldn't have done it without you and your input was invaluable.
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 limited characters. You can send me a tweet @Mythman666.
Until next time...and there will be a next time.
Right I’ll hae’tae gan