Saturday December 10, 2016
Its all systems go for the Premiership but while we’re waiting here’s Part 1 of the Where’s Vesprini? take on 2016.

Back to Saturday 19th March and Mrs H had waved me goodbye safe in the knowledge that for the next eight months she had complete control of the TV remote and at the very mention of the words ‘X Factor’ there would be no moans, protests or sarcastic comments about manufactured pop groups (sorry Monkees fans!). First impressions on arriving that night were that the earth really had moved since press and practice day when bulldozers and bikes were almost equal in number. On the track the years rolled back as Robbo produced a 15 point maximum as the Devils were sent packing. We also got the first chance to see the now famous track walk. I’m still to get to the bottom of who had the original idea, Steve, Peter and Captain K can all take some of the credit for what turned into one of the highlights of the year. The lads were off on another two laps of honour as both Somerset and Ipswich were defeated. The former in a pulsating encounter that saw my clipboard fly off the commentary box ledge during all the excitement. It also got too much for one fan who told us in no uncertain terms we ‘should have gone to Specsavers‘ after one controversial decision. Unfortunately for the gentleman concerned confusing us with the referees box defeated his own argument although we did offer him our appointment!

Now as you get older the shine tends to come off birthdays or as I remind Camera Ken at his age they’re worn smooth! So on the 16th April perhaps I should have known things wouldn’t go our way. It started a couple of months earlier when Mrs H asked; ‘ What are you doing on your birthday?’ to get the reply ‘Watching The Rockets beat Peterborough.’ Her look said it all, and so did mine after the lads snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Further frustration in terms of the scoreline followed with the arrival of Workington. There was certainly no frustration with the racing which was out of the top drawer witnessed by the fact Heat 10 involving Kasper and Kenneth Hansen ended up as the BSPA race of the week. It wasn’t the last time some nifty work by Camera Ken and Mountain Mark appeared there through the season.

May also brought a KO Cup meeting with our old friends from Foxhall Heath. As regular readers will know my comments on tractors in the car park being fully justified by my experience working with an Ipswich fan who subscribed to Tractor Monthly magazine. A max double by a suntanned Captain K did the job taking his unbeaten run against the Witches to 23 heats setting up another cup encounter with Berwick. Now where were you when the riders came to the tapes for Heat 11 of the league meeting with reigning champs Edinburgh? We were up in the box looking at a slim two point lead hoping the lads could hold on with a 3-3. 59.5 second later my voice had almost gone and Camera Ken had used all his balancing skills to stop him tumbling over the edge onto the smiling faces below. The reason the one and only win in Rockets colours for PK. Not any old win as well beating Sam Masters over 4 nail biting ‘will he hang on?’ laps. Unfortunately that was it for our ever smiling Dane, a Heat 14 incident which also saw the Silver Fox embedded in the air fence effectively ending his brief stay in Hoddesdon. Ironically at the time I was limping around with a suspected broken foot. All I did was bump into a table! That puts into perspective the risks the boys take and adds to the sense of amazement when they walk away from some breath taking crashes.

June saw some very unseasonal weather, it was warm for the visit of Berwick! Meetings with the Bandits have always produced a bit of incident but it was a good job Sky TV left coverage to the experts (-: as Nige and Kelv would surely have spontaneously combusted by Heat 8. As a meeting it had just about everything from Thomas Jorgensen attacking his stricken machine in full Basil Fawlty style after it packed up in Heat 13 to some spectacular overtaking moves by Young Kasper. As one fan succinctly put it on the BSF ‘If you didn’t like that there’s something wrong with you.‘ Flirting with a play off place, a KO Cup quarter final on the horizon, things were looking bright and Mrs H was getting the holiday suitcases out of the loft....... (to be continued)

"Where's Vesprini" is an exclusive, light-hearted blog from Rye House's Speedway Star reporter and guest website and programme contributor Pete Hill.