Speedway: Bandits future still hangs in the balance despite AGM declaration

BERWICK BANDITS’ fans have been checking for news from this years’ BSPA AGM which took place last week and will be no doubt be delighted to learn that the meeting confirmed the exciting French teenager David Bellego as a Berwick asset, writes Lawrence Heppell.

Club co-promoter Dennis McCleary said: “We are more than happy with the decision and thank the BSPA members for taking on board our views and can now add David to our Berwick rider asset base with immediate effect.”

But despite the addition to their riding roster, Berwick have stressed that they are still looking for an injection of funds to ensure their participation in the 2013 season and prospective sponsors are still urged to contact the club as soon as possible to secure a racing future.

The Bandits management also wished to put on record a vote of no disrespect to the sport’s “Speedway Star” weekly magazine - which they feel does a terrific job in promoting the sport - in not taking part in the recent promoters question and answer session on the future of speedway.

McCleary continued: “I know a lot of fans, not just Bandits supporters, have passed comment on our absence from the opinion poll, but as a club, a decision was made to steer clear of pre AGM comments by Berwick before the conference at Coventry last weekend.

“In fairness, John Anderson, who represented Berwick at the AGM, was going to be able to speak to the meeting after his initial period as an associate member, and there were several points Berwick wished to discuss about speedway generally in front of members rather than initially in the press and this included a couple of matters appertaining to Berwick alone, so we hope fans can appreciate where the club was coming from.

“Like every other club Berwick wishes speedway to continue to flourish but realise these are difficult times but they want to be positive too and not paint everything as black.

“We know there are no fast track answers but feel that cost cutting measures likely to be put in place by the BSPA for 2013 (details still to be formally announced) will benefit clubs overall.

“In an ideal world the solution is to increase income through the gates too but you need to strike a happy medium at all levels for speedway to progress accordingly.

“So increasing income and cutting expenditure at the same time is an ideal world stare of affairs. We feel speedway is still a great sport and hopefully it can progress in the right direction next year but like everyone else we can only do what we feel is for the best and hope it all comes together.”

The Bandits declared their intention to run in 2013 at the AGM, as was promised by John Anderson, but stress that the proper funding is still to be in place to ensure that happens.

Director George Hepburn commented: “We have said all along that we need to put in place a new team sponsor for 2013 and other financial measures, to ensure we run and we are looking at various avenues just now.

“We would like to come out here now and say, yes we are running in 2013, but we still have a lot of hard work to do, however, we ask fans please to be patient and we will announce any further news as soon as we can, maybe even at a fans forum if we can get this in place.”

The Bandits were honoured at the AGM with a joint-silver medal in the Premier League track of the season awards. This was scored by referees throughout the season, based on track condition and overall presentation of the stadium and the meeting with the Scunthorpe taking gold and Somerset sharing the prestigious silver with the Bandits.