Dick Barrie's picture

This coming Saturday sees the start of the British speedway season.

The BenFund Bonanza will hear the bikes roaring at Scunny -- and from that point on, the term of 2020 trading is alive and kicking!

It will see a first run-out for our new Skipper Spud, who’ll be representing the Banditos. I haven’t actually seen his name among those announced, but you can take it from me he’ll be there.

I’ll be there too, and later in the month my next excursion will be to Poole, for the night we’re holding Neil Middlo firmly by his testimonials.

Those who revel in my being discomfited from time to time will smile at the following……….

I told Neil a while back that yes, I’d be pleased and proud to help his cause, and last week realised I had better get around to actually arranging my travel.

So, on the afternoon of Wednesday 4th March I booked and paid for flights from Glasgow to Southampton (and back).

While on the lap-top and website, I also booked and paid for return flights in April, to travel to our first league match at Poole since October, 1991.

With FlyBe.

Five hours after pocketing my cash, FlyBe went into administration. Five bloody hours!

Well-known as a penny-pinching pig-weasel, I did not take this news well.

OK, I know I’ll get the money back eventually, but still……

These annoying wee things seem to happen to us bloggers.

No names, no pack-drill, but one of us wrote a scintillating piece for The Dirt Extra last week, and pressed the button to transmit it. Except, instead of transmitting, they pressed the ‘delete’ button. Had to sit down and write it all out, from memory, all over again. Silly girl………….

In last week’s blog, I revealed how like to jiggle things.

I’m still at it……

Speaking statistically, while doing research for something completely different, I happened upon a list of British U-21 Champions.

The work I was doing was in connection with this year’s title tilt, which has a four-way guarantee of Berwick representation already -- Leon Flint and Kyle Bickley are both seeded directly to the Final (at Redcar on May 15th) while local youngsters Mason Watson and Kieran Douglas have been allocated places in the qualifying round at Plymouth next month.

All of which clearly indicates the club’s increasing commitment to ‘growing our own’ and sends a warm feeling flowing through my loins. Or is that incontinence?

Anyway, back to that list of U-21 winners. In the first thirty years of the event, there were just two winners who later wore black-and-gold – to save your brains being too racked, I’ll tell you they were Mark Courtney in 1980 and Scott ‘Scud’ Smith twelve years later.

However, since the turn of the millennium, things have improved apace. The last twenty U-21 titles have seen four winners who later became Bandits – again to save you thinking too hard (although I’ll let you keep it upsleeve as a good pub question) these guys were David Howe (2000), Edward Kennett (2006 and 2008), Lewis Bridger in 2009 (ahead of runner-up Tai Woffinden that year) and the tricky fifth name of Robert Branford, who took the title in 2013.

Plus, the real star of the show, Ritchie Hawkins, winner of the 2004 U-21 Championship while a signed-up Bandit – our only real-time winner in fifty years of the event!

Time for that to change?

Well, I don’t think we can complain about any lack of recognition for our young ‘uns by the powers-that-be this time around – now let’s cross our fingers for a good return for the black-and-gold young ‘uns on May 15th.

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