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Dick Barrie's picture

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So onward and upward we trundle, into another year.

I can’t tell you what will happen this season – I don’t have 2020 vision – but if it is as enjoyable and entertaining as our past fifty-two terms of trading, who’s going to complain? Other than the usual half-dozen forum fannies who apparently don’t attend our meetings anyway…..

Having been out of the loop while Down Under, I’m now busy playing catch-up with all the news.

The big thing I guess, is the track. Having had a look at Berwick Rangers’ fixture-list – and I have to say I was a bit surprised at their lack of continuity, this Lowland League they currently operate in seems to offer as many blank Saturdays as any BSPA schedule – I’d guess that Heppy, Razor and the troops have two ‘windows’ in which to get the cutting-out operation organised.

There have been weather worries, of course -- football can be rained off, just like speedway -- but I see the next home fixture is scheduled for January 25th, against East Kilbride.

After the Rangers play East Stirling on February 8th, they don’t have another home game until Edinburgh University come to town a fortnight later – those two weeks, I’d think, might be the time to make the first inroads up and down the edges of the soccer strip. The first cut is the deepest!

After disposing of the students, there doesn’t seem to be another Shielfield soccer match fixtured untl April 11th –against Spartans -- which should be more than enough time to sort out any drainage and cabling changes before we get the bikes out.

In fact, while our own schedule hasn’t been publicised yet, I’d be guessing the FTS Bandits (powered by Keenwood Karpets) first meeting would be planned for earlier than the 11th anyway -- oooh, I can hardly wait!

Any delay in starting racing to let the track settle would, of course, aid Jye Etheridge’s return to full fitness after his crash at Kurri-Kurri in the aborted opening round of the Australian Championship series.

By the way, contrary to some reports based on the guesswork of spectators, Jye told me his fall was due to his hitting a soft patch on the track surface – insisting both chains were still on the bike when dad Darren picked it up – and indeed, that patch was one of the major reasons behind the eventual abandonment of the meeting.

Although a broken collar-bone is usually a fairly standard six-week recovery job, in Jye’s case it is complicated by the break being to the shoulder he had pinned last year, this latest accident having bent the pin! Sounds painful, but he’ll have had around twelve weeks since the accident to get himself sorted out – I think he’ll be right.

Someone getting it very right now in Perth is Leon Flint, who will line up alongside Tai Woffinden in a GB squad racing against Australia (led by no less than Jason Crump!) at Pinjar Park next weekend.. Leon has been getting better and better results as his Aussie adventure rolls on, and racing against riders of the class of Sam Masters and Rohan Tungate will set him up nicely for his return to the FTS Bandits line-up.

Although I’m reasonably-frequent visitor to Australia, I have only been in Perth a couple of times. Once in the company of Ivan Mauger (as I was saying to Rod Stewart the other day, you can’t accuse me of name-dropping…..) on a brief stop-over en route to New Zealand, the other time being for a big individual meeting featuring Leigh Adams and Chris Holder.

My second Perth safari was for a couple of days, and I remember going into a health-food café -- perhaps by mistake – with Rob Woffinden. Like all good Brits abroad, we asked for fish & chips.

“We don’t do chips” said a rather snooty, amply-proportioned-in-all-directions waitress.

“Really?” I thought. “How did you manage to get like that, then?”

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Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?). He is always happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk