THE 2012 Australian speedway season has brought massive misfortune to Berwick’s A & J Scott Bandits, writes Lawrence Heppell.
At the start of the year, last season’s rider of the year Kozza Smith suffered a badly broken femur as a result of a chilling high-speed crash involving Swindon rider Troy Batchelor during the opening leg of the Australian Championship Series at North Brisbane, Queensland.
Now comes even worse news, as 18-year-old Brenton Barnfield, pictured right, – of whom much is being hoped for by the Berwick promotion in the coming British season – has been injured, possibly seriously, during Saturday’s Australian Under-21 Championship event at Kurri-Kurri, NSW.
The young Bandit, from Mildura in Victoria, crashed in his second race, tangling with rival Sean McLellan on the third bend of the first lap.
His teammate Smith, present at the meeting on his crutches, reported the crash as being “massive”.
McLellan suffered shoulder injuries, but Brenton was rendered unconscious and immediately rushed to hospital.
He was placed in intensive care, and – to ease his situation – medical staff initially induced a coma.
His mum Vicki, who was in attendance for all her son’s mini-matches for Berwick’s junior league Borderers last summer, advised Bandits’ officials that hospital authorities are assuring her “all reports are positive” as she waited at his bedside.
“He responded to us the following morning which is great,” she confirmed. “He opened his eyes and is now breathing on his own. No broken bones, a set of badly-bruised lungs and we are now awaiting a radiology report after a CT scan.”
The news has absolutely overwhelmed the border club’s management.
Co-owner John Anderson stated that each and every rider, official and supporter of Berwick’s A & J Scott Bandits wished Brenton Barnfield every blessing, and sent collective best wishes for a full recovery.
“It is so hard to take in,” said team manager Ian Rae. “Obviously, when we heard about Kozza breaking his thigh just four weeks ago, we were devastated – but a broken leg is something that can be quantified, and we know he’s well enough in himself.
“But this news about Brenton being in such a bad way after another crash has just flattened us.
“Right now, so soon after the accident, no-one really knows how things are, especially 12,000 miles away. We’re waiting for news from Vicki, and any major changes will be reported on the club website.”