Doolan delight as sun and fans come out for his testimonial
Kevin Doolan had a tear in his eye and a lump in his throat when he thanked everyone for their support in what was a brilliant testimonial meeting at Berwick on Saturday.
The Aussie had meticulously planned the event, which was blessed with glorious sunshine and a bumper crowd and it was no surprise he was emotionally charged when he hailed it a resounding success afterwards.
“A lot of hard work has gone into organising this,” he said. “There have been a few sleepless nights, but it all came together on the night, and for once even the weather played ball.
“I would like to thank everyone who has helped in any small way, and of course the riders and the fans for turning out. It’s been a brilliant night, but of course it’s not finished yet as we still have the after meeting party and a few beers to come.”
‘Kev’s Big Day Out’ included a ‘Fair Dinkum Fours’ competition, featuring sides representing Berwick, Belle Vue, Ipswich and King’s Lynn, four of the clubs he has raced for during his career in the UK.
There was also some ‘old style’ exhibition races on uprights, DTRA bike racing and even a display of ‘side by side’ buggy racing.
The emphasis was on fun, and there is no doubting that everyone who attended enjoyed themselves.
After the weather of the previous four weeks, when covers were required to protect the track from rain, there was no need for any such measures as temperatures rose to a thermometer busting 27deg earlier in the day.
The Bandits’ captain certainly felt it was like ‘home from home’ under those conditions.
Fans travelled from all over the country and on a well prepared track they were treated to some good speedway. In the end it was Team Berwick who took the honours with 27 points, with Belle Vue on 24, Ipswich on 23 and King’s Lynn on 22.
In all there were 11 different race winers on the night, with former Bandit Ben Barker taking the prize for the most entertaining, his heat 14 pass on Ryan Douglas showing that he has lost none of his appetite for racing on the big circuit.
Doolan even got in on the action himself, making four racing appearance as a guest for each of the four sides. He didn’t win a race - he managed two second and two third places - but that didn’t matter.
The meeting got off to a poignant start with the first action being a ‘ghost race’ featuring three former deceased riders, who all hold a special place in Doolan’s heart.
This was pre-recorded and played out over the PA system to the backdrop of commentary and race action featuring Kenny Olsson, Ashley Jones and Paul Fry, riders who had all played a significant role in Doolan’s development as a rider over the years.
Added little extra touches included the fact that the referee for the night was Dave Robinson, who had officiated at Doolan’s first ever meeting in the UK, whilst the centre green presenter was Mike Bennett, formerly of King’s Lynn, but who now lives in Australia.
Berwick 27 - Summers 10, Jorgensen 7, Bellego 6, Doolan 2, Alden 1; Belle Vue 24 - Campton 8, Wells 6, Jacobs 5, Pickering 4, Doolan 1; Ipswich 23 - Barker 10, Heeps 5, Wethers 3, Newman 3, Doolan 2; King’s Lynn 22 - Douglas 8, Proctor 7, Howe 4, Graversen 2, Doolan 1.