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Dick Barrie's picture

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When I was a youngster, I wanted to play the guitar very, very badly. It wasn’t long before I could.

Failing a musical career, I got my teenage kicks from playing other people’s music, leading to forty years of radio programmes (currently on Crystal FM 107.4 of course) and a penchant for mangling song lyrics to make a point in writing about speedway….

Thus: …. and now, the end (of season 2018) is nigh. The race is over, the dance is done and we face the final curtain.

So my friends, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case of which I’m certain…..

OK, corny lyric-stealing apart, what did the past year do for you – and what case do we want to put forward for 2019 and beyond?

My case (of which I’m certain) is, let’s not change too much too soon – and for heaven’s sake, let’s not knuckle down to the wishes of the few among the Premiership who feel their clubs must be treated as first-class citizens at the expense of others……

This year we had a much-reduced programme of matches, fixed race-nights and – thanks to a shameful cancellation (by some self-serving facet of the powers-that-be) of previously-legally-fixtured Friday meetings at Workington and Lakeside – total confusion over these same two teams meeting too often, too many times, too late in the year.

Do we need more change-for-changes-sake?

Not at Berwick, not on Saturday nights, we don’t.

Yes, I want more meetings on the schedule, and a season which ends later than the middle of August.

But some of the crazy ideas being bandied about are just that. Crazy.

A twenty-team league? Five-man teams? More guests and even more doubling-up?

These are floated ideas which have “hit” – or something sounding very, very similar – written all over them.

Look, we’ve done fifty years at Berwick without killing too many egg-laying geese – let’s not be party to a total emasculation of rank-and-file speedway in this country, just to keep three or four ‘big league’ clubs in business……

But enough moaning on what might be happening in future. I guess I was happy enough with the Shielfield season past -- and a lessening of attacks on the promotion by the usual suspects hints most of you were, too.

In other news: My previous weblog told of how a referee had been suspended for a minor clerical error while others were allowed to mess up meetings willy-nilly by screwing up starts and excluding the wrong riders.

I had protected his name, although it was later revealed in Speedway Star (but you heard about it here first, folks!) to be Willie the Dish and I can continue by saying I rate it as shameful.

What constitutes a good referee? One who runs races without trouble, sets the four guys off evenly from the gate and who we don’t really notice during proceedings. No delays, no hysterics.

That Willie (and another referee too) suffered the indignity of a month’s suspension for what were just minor clerical errors -- which they quickly admitted and apologised for – and which had in no way influenced the result of the meetings concerned was to my mind pathetic. Time for an administrative shake-up, methinks.

But now, as winter draws on it is time for old bones to be warmed up.

In past winters, I’ve tried to warm mine by heading to Australia or Argentina – sunshine AND speedway, I’m not daft! – but right now, having discovered a deal to allow me ten days in Dubai in exchange for a lot of air-miles and a small amount of money, that’s where I’m bound.

Having worked hard for fifty years, I’m now hard at play for my next fifty, spending my pension as quickly as the government send it to me. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

People say “he died penniless” as if it’s a bad thing.

Sounds like excellent timing to me!

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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