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George Dodds's picture

Just a few hours left to cast your vote and – unlike Brexit – this one is binding, legal, realistic and achievable.
Not least because those most likely to win actually have a viable plan of action while Super Stevie Heywood and not Bungling Boris is leading our party.
If you haven’t already clicked the button to vote for the Bandit of the Year then go to the home page and waggle a digit over your choice from the enigmatic eight.
While I won’t bore you with who has benefitted from my vote or the reasons for it I will admit that the choice was harder than in many previous seasons.
Normally there would be one, maybe two and occasionally three, riders in the running; sometimes I would have struggled to make a case for that many.
But 2019 has been the year in which all seven regular Bandits have done enough at various stages of the season to be in serious contention for the prestigious award, which will be announced at Saturday’s end of season bash while THJ did enough for some in his brief cameo.
So can Jye three-peat? Did Aaron’s consistency clinch it? Will King Kev’s on and off-track leadership swing you? Was Dany’s Shielfield scalp hunting the highlight of your season? How about Coty’s Championship Shield heroics? Nicolaj Busk Jacobsen’s efforts at Newcastle and Leicester? And what about Leon’s development from promising teenage number seven to match-wining reserve?
Along the way the team tipped to fail reached the Shield semi-finals and narrowly missed out on the league play-offs.
They worked hard for each other, hard for the club and hard for the fans despite the majority of them carrying fairly significant injuries during the year.
On-track – especially at Shielfield – they swept all but Redcar and the Shield Lions before them; that Shield victory at Newcastle will long live in the memory of those of us there that night and provided some top quality entertainment along the way.
They also did their bit off-track too in trying to spread the word with visits to schools, holiday camps and high street Saturdays in an effort to drum up support for their efforts on the other side of the fence.
Not just the riders of course as a dedicated band of volunteers helped keep the show on the road and gave backing to the financial input of the Courtney brothers who bravely gave the go-ahead for season 52 at last year’s BSPA AGM.
A lot of groundwork went on behind the scenes and, perhaps, one of the most significant results of 2019 had nothing to directly do with speedway.
News that the club was launching a monthly draw – the Bandits 5-1 – was good. To learn that the Berwick Bandits Supporters Club was backing the draw put the icing on the cake and then added the cherry on top by selling out the initial 120 numbers in next to no time. So popular in fact that more numbers have been released this week.
Suddenly the promotion has a significant sum of money guaranteed each month regardless of what is happening at the turnstiles – during the winter and pre-season too when many bills have to be paid.
As a result we approach the end of season shindig fairly confident that season 53 is going to happen and with a full winter to get our ducks lined up in a neat row.
So if you’ve made it this far then I suggest you switch to the home page, click on your rider of the year, buy your ticket for the Black and Gold big bash and sign up for next month’s 5-1 Draw.
If you’ve already done all that then see you Saturday, 7.30pm.