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Kevin Doolan's picture

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Well I wasn’t wrong last week when I said that there was no rest for the wicked.

My chain failure and heat 14 crash against Scunthorpe put me on the back foot at the start of a busy three days.

At first I thought that I had avoided any real shoulder damage but when I went to the workshop the following morning and sat in the riding position I found that with my elbow lifted my hand was weak and I had no feel for the clutch.

There was no way I could undertake my guest booking for Belle Vue at King’s Lynn that night so it was straight on the phone to their boss Mark Lemon before arranging treatment which would enable me to ride for the Bandits on Friday and Saturday.

Acupuncture meant that by Thursday lunchtime I’d released the restriction in my shoulder and regained strength and control in my hand.

I was under strict orders not to do anything physical for 24 hours but, by my reckoning, as my first ride at Redcar wasn’t for 25 hours I was good to go!

The legendary Bandits’ team spirit kicked in on Friday with Leon and Jye helping me get bikes loaded for Redcar and I travelled down with Tony Flint so I could rest my shoulder.

The meeting itself didn’t go to plan but we fought hard for a point but just couldn’t find the speed to push for that vital away win.

My shoulder held out OK but the pain was an energy-sapping distraction. With hindsight I think I could have made better set-up choices if I had been able to fully concentrate. But I gave it my best and that’s all I could do.

I was looking forward to an easier ride on Saturday. The weather was great, the track has been smooth and easy to ride in recent meetings and my team-mates are all in great form. Four rides and a big Bandits’ win against Birmingham would give my shoulder time to rest and recuperate.

The management did their bit when they announced at the team meeting that young Leon was going to take on the captaincy role against his former club.

He did a great job and, while I didn’t exactly disappear into my own pit, I was a little less involved in other matters than normal and able to concentrate on my own things.

It was a fine plan which lasted until bend one of heat one when Aaron crashed out of the meeting, and the season, with a badly broken foot.

Already using rider-replacement for NBJ, the remaining five of us rallied round and we managed another big home win – even if personally I was having a nightmare night.

My shoulder felt fine but I had another mystery chain failure and a carburettor issue in my first two rides. They forced me onto my spare bike which, despite not having the speed of my number one engine was still able to get me some good points.

While I was rebuilding bikes on Sunday, Gary Flint and Jamie Courtney were completing the signing of Thomas H Jonasson for the remainder of the season and, as long as he completes his initiation, we welcome him wholeheartedly to the Bandits!

He has a classy racing style and it’s great to have him on board for our remaining meetings.