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Dick Barrie's picture

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Those of us who travelled in support of the Banditos since our final, rumbustious, rambunctious Shielfield show did so in the finest of autumn weather.

The match at Birmingham saw our team fight hard for the vital point needed to hold fifth position – I really enjoyed the night, basking in the warmth of a balmy evening – and the Pairs at Somerset were staged at the end of a nigh-on perfect day of blue clear skies.

Since then, not so much.

The opening meetings of the play-offs in both leagues – at Poole on Monday and Somerset tonight – have been washed out, this throwing the racing calendar (which had been sensibly set out to avoid the dreadful late-October log-jam which so diluted Workington’s triple triumph) into chaos.

To my rheumy old eyes, the worst knock-on from the need to readjust the fixture-list concerns the decision to move the match between Ipswich and Poole, which has proved – for the umpteenth time – how the “big league” is always ready to trample over promises made to our own level of racing at any time that suits them.

The rule-book (16.1.1) states quite clearly that priority will be given to riders participating in the SGB Premiership League on Mondays and Thursdays. Priority will be given to riders participating in the SGB Championship League on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

However, in the interest of keeping BT Sport happy, our heads of state have allowed Ipswich to transfer their match from Thursday to Saturday night.

Fair enough, and perhaps even sensible.

But………..

There is also a Championship match on the books, to be raced at Eastbourne on Saturday against Birmingham.

Again, fair enough. Eastbourne must be well over a hundred miles from Suffolk and there is little likelihood of anyone wanting to be at both matches.

Except Richard Lawson. He races for Eastbourne Eagles in their home meetings on Saturday nights, and for Ipswich Witches on Thursdays. Per the rule-book.

Obviously, by the regulations the late decision by Ipswich’s ownership to move their meeting (not through any weather worries in the Foxhall area, only to retain the second leg after Monday’s postponement at Poole) means that with Richard being required at Arlington, the Witches will require to hire a guest in his place…

Or so you’d think.

Forget the rule-book. Forget that the Eastbourne fixture has been on the books for weeks. Forget that Eastbourne supporters have every right to expect to see one of their star riders in action during their final meeting, being staged on their regular Saturday night. Forget that all clubs form the BSPA, and should expect fairness in delivery of their own rules.

Because this morning, the line-up to race for Ipswich on Saturday night were logged with the SCB. Richard Lawson is named at No 4.

Eastbourne, we have to presume, are now left to seek a guest for a rider who should be wearing their colours in the final match of their largely-successful return to our Championship.

Once again, the wishes and indeed rights of an independently-run Championship club have been steamrollered to serve the purposes of the ever-struggling “upper league”.

Where have all the speedways gone?

Long time passing.

When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? .
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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