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Dick Barrie's picture

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The hot news reached me within minutes from fellow-blogger Sarah’s magic phone (magic, as in that her son seems able, despite tender years to call me at odd hours from it, wherever I am in the world) although I had to be posted missing from the Black and Gold last night.

As we had hoped, the phone told me how recent changes in the circumstances of Berwick Rangers have allowed our promotion to put a proposal to our football friends which will permit our track to be widened before the coming season.

Good news? As anyone with enough brain to keep their ears apart should know it can hardly be otherwise, as the one factor which has caused more criticism of the Shielfield Park strip over the past two decades than any other was that the entry and exit from the corners were a bitty tight for such a fast track.

At a number of other venues, tracks are no wider, yet no-one seems to complain – and this is mainly because these circuits are of a shape and size which keeps speeds down.

But we are Berwick, and when an opportunity arises, we grasp it. I am already avidly awaiting the first few matches of 2020, to see who will be quickest to adapt to the new lines offered by the proposed changes. As well as seeing who can get around the strip in the quickest time, thus setting our brand new track record!

Another item of great news this week – it’s been a really good week – came from up at Armadale, where they announced the reformation of their Dale Devils team, which will re- enter the National League (NDL, Third Division, Conference League, call it what you like) in 2020.

The Devils last raced at that level in 2005, when for the majority of the season they tracked an all-Scottish line-up (from a fair distance away, and using a faded memory rather than any statistics, I think the regular squad included Derek Sneddon, Blair Scott, Willie Lawson, Gary Beaton, Adam McKinna, Cal McDade and Kieran Morris) and if this new incarnation can provide a platform for a few new local faces, that’ll be just grand….

While I have no idea who’ll be forming the new Devils line-up (although I’d truly hope a place can be found for Berwick’s own Mason Watson, to my mind the brightest prospect on the current horizon) I’m sure the eventual plan will be to keep things as local as possible, drawing from second halves and NJL levels, as well as the cream of the crop from places such as Duns and Northside.

The concept of a National League team operating again in the north is a really bright light shining on our sport – if it hadn’t immediately been trumped by our own announcement on track-widening, I’d have said it was the story of the week!

Meantime, I’ve been enjoying the warmth of the sun in Australia, as readers of 'Speedway Star' magazine will be aware.

Fully enjoying it, even if the weather in places has been hot enough to make your underwear infiltrate every crack and fissure, and cling to you like latex ..

Also loving life Down Under just now is young Leon Flint, who has chosen to take himself to Perth, under the guidance of Tai Woffinden, to add to his racing skills and experience.

Perth is far and away the most-remote big city on earth – nearer to Singapore than Sydney!

Leon will have found himself two thousand miles from the other major speedway centres on the south and east coast, so unlike new team-mate Kyle Bickley (who contested several meetings at Adelaide’s Gillman and up at Mildura) he’ll find his racing limited to just a couple of the west coast tracks.

But having Tai on hand to offer the odd word of wisdom will make up for any feelings of isolation, that’s for sure.

So it’s a really good-news week, eh? Track getting widened, Edinburgh launching their NDL side, Leon getting tuition from Tai – and, to cap it all, I’ve just heard that our area’s favourite postman bought another Bandits’ season ticket last night, marking his full conversion to the cause….

Go, Shadders, go!

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