The debt we owe to the speedway family Taylor can never be repaid.
Who but Danny and Liz Taylor would have had the foresight, courage or the blind faith in their vision back in 1968, when they introduced speedway to Shielfield Park?
They chose to leave the big city club they were running in Glasgow and hoist the black-and-gold flag in little Berwick – a town with no speedway history in an area with no motorcycling pedigree – starting this wonderful club, which other promoters sneered wouldn’t last three months but which has now celebrated fifty glorious years!
Their sons Ken and Alan have been our welcome guests already this season, but just a few weeks ago we were further reminded of Danny and Liz when their daughter Mary (known to her close friends and admirers as Esmeralda) was spotted in the main stand, along with her grandson Greg Blair (briefly a Bandit in 2009) his wife and their 9-month-old son Rhuaridh.
Which makes young Rhuaridh the fifth generation of the Taylor dynasty to be spotted at Shielfield – what price he’ll hav a spin around Duns in a few years and maybe become a fully-fledged Bandit, circa 2033?
Long before then, we’ve got the Tigers of Glasgow here on Saturday night – apparently hell-bent on victory, in an effort to justify considerable investment in their squad as they scramble to consolidate a play-off place as we move towards the business end of the season.
Their main sponsors are Allied Mobilty, the parent company owned by the Facenna family.
The group has also invested in Team GB this season, with the British riders in the Speedway of Nations competition, as well as the quartet who will appear in Denmark at the World U21 Team Final, wearing Allied Mobility’s logo on their race-suits.
A further part of the deal will see a full-scale Great Britain versus Australia Test Match at Ashfield on Saturday week (August 4th) which, as we don’t have a meeting that night, might be worth visiting.
Tai Woffinden will be leading the Brits – he’s someone we haven’t seen up this way for a longish time – and although currently sidelined after his horrific Cardiff pile-up, it is hoped World Champion Jason Doyle will be skippering The Aussies.
Pretty tasty, huh?
This will be the first full GB Test to be staged in Scotland since a match against Poland 47 years ago, at Hampden Park in May, 1971 --- our losing (47-61) side consisting of 3 Englishmen, 2 Scots, An Aussie and a Kiwi!
Next week, the British team will be completely British (cue all the tired old Woffinden jokes) and the match might well be worth checking out. They’re aiming to start proceedings at 3pm, I understand.
Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?). He is always happy to hear from interesting people at firstname.lastname@example.org