It's been a while since I penned few words here, so lets see if I remember how to do this!
We are now a few weeks removed from the BSPA AGM and we find ourselves at the very height of silly season, when the teams are starting to take shape for 2020, and in the cases of Eastbourne, Leicester, Scunthorpe they find themselves with their lineups already complete.
At the initial time of writing, we hadn't fully completed our lineup, so bear with me while I frantically edit this blog from this point to no longer be out of date! This speedway lark moves fast so it does!
We are in that strange period where fans, promoters and team managers dust off the old abacus to partake in a spot of number crunching, seeing who should go, who should stay and what rabbits can be pulled out of what hats in order to track a competitive team.
It is also that strange time where the rumour and innuendo are at an absolute fever pitch, with every rider in the league being connected to every team in the league if you listen to enough of those "in the know."
There wasn't an awful lot to take away from the AGM and there were no real radical changes made to the rules and best of all, there were no helmet colours harmed during the event. What it did give us though was an idea of what we are up against heading into 2020.
What we do know is this -
We have 41 points available to us in order to put together the absolute best team that we can track.
We have a league made up of 12 teams with the introduction of Kent and Poole essentially swapping places with Sheffield.
The other thing we can take away from the AGM is that a major bugbear of 2019, namely fixture continuity, has been addressed with the Championship League essentially splitting into two, basically we will face our local rivals Glasgow, Edinburgh, Redcar, Scunthorpe and Newcastle twice at home and twice away.
We will host and visit Kent, Poole, Eastbourne, Birmingham, Somerset and Leicester once during the league campaign.
There are two ways to look at this.
1 - Speedway is a simple sport made overly complicated, so we should be used to this. (glass half empty)
2- It works in other sports, like Ice Hockey, Baseball and American Football, so why cant it work in speedway? (glass half full)
I personally like the idea and sincerely hope it is a success. It most certainly gives us more fixtures against our nearest and dearest, which are our bread and butter in terms of income and revenue so it makes sense to me.
As with anything it is all a matter of interpretation and you can't please everyone and there will be those out there quick to shoot down the idea but I'm here to focus on the positive rather than the negative.
So how does all this shape up from a Bandits vantage point?
Well there may have been no shocks so far in terms of the team building but I think it would be safe to say that Jye Etheridge, Aaron Summers and Leon Flint probably fitted into most fans permutations when putting together a team in their own minds.
Of course since the time of writing our promotion have announced that Dany Gappmaier, Coty Garcia and Nickolaj Busk Jakobsen would all be returning to the team with Kyle Bickley making the switch from Glasgow.
That does sadly mean that one man we wont see don a Bandits race jacket in 2020 is Kevin Doolan, who has decided to take a step back from full time racing. While it will be strange seeing a team without him, I have a feeling he will still be playing a pivotal role in the pits on race nights, particularly with Leon and Kyle.
I have long since said that Kevin Doolan is the type of guy who brings an awful lot more to the table than what he does on the track, and with his presence in the pits still there, he can be as inspirational as ever without hurtling round track at breakneck speed!
So that's our 2020 side, and strength in depth once more is the order of the day. It is an approach that has served us well in the past so let's get behind the guys who will be giving it their all to entertain us.
I have absolutely no doubt that there will be doubters, there will be those who could have done better, but the harsh reality is that this is the team that our promotion believe will give us a crack at glory and given the uncertainty that we have faced over the last number of seasons, I would say we are already on to a winner.
Before I tie up for another blog entry, let me ask you a question...
In a sport where there are very few genuine surprises anymore, how many of you saw the return of Nicki Pedersen to these shores coming?
Very few I imagine, which means that the sport is still capable of capturing the imagination even after all these years!
Just let that sink in for a moment...
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 email@example.com or get in touch via the JB Speedway Media Facebook page. 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