Speedway: Berwick Bandits find form for Challenge Trophy

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Berwick Bandits 56 Redcar Bears 40

PREMIER CHALLENGE TROPHY (group stage)

THE Berwick Bandits knew to extend their season they needed a good result on Saturday night at Shielfield Park against the Redcar Bears, boosted by the unexpected inclusion of Matej Kus who had been reported to be away in the Czech Republic for a meeting, writes Lawrence Heppell.

But it was Ulrich Ostergaard and Carl Wilkinson who jetted away from the gate to take an early lead with Nick Morris battling hard in third, but slid off on the third bend. Up front Ostergaard’s bike packed in leaving Wilkinson to take the win, but behind Morris had remounted to take a good third place point in the 3-3.

Nicki Barratt and Klaus Jakobsen hammered home a solid reserves maximum 5-1 in the second, pushing Berwick four-up, before Robin Aspegren flew round the field on the opening bend of Heat Three to claim a well won three points and with David Bellego picking up third the 4-2 pushed score to 12-6.

The gap moved to 17-7 after Sebastian Alden and Barrett flew away from Kus and Jade Mudgway – the latter clattering into his Czech partner and sending him crashing to the ground.

Ostergaard was nominated as an early tactical ride for the Bears in Heat Five and again he and Wilkinson made the perfect gate to leave Bellego and Aspegren standing in a huge Redcar 1-8 courtesy of Ostergaard’s doubled six which tightened the match to 18-15.

Nick Morris took an amazing dive hard on the inside of Kus coming off bend four of the sixth race to take a huge win in the 4-2 as Berwick extended their lead once more to 22-17.

Two more Bandit 4-2s followed with a well held win for Bellego in Heat Nine who nearly put himself in the fourth bend fence with the score now 33-24, whilst Morris and Dyer hit home another home maximum to push their lead to 13 after Heat 10 leading to another tactical ride in Heat 12 for Doolan.

And it was the Aussie who took up the early lead off bend two chased hard by Aspegren who held out Mudgway in third in the 2-7 heat result which again tightened the match to 43-35.

Alden missed the Heat 13 gate but in one lap passed the entire field to take another bit win with Morris hammering hard inside Ostergaard on bend four to hold a Berwick 4-2, sealing the win for the home side pushing the Bandits to the top of their group in the Premier Challenge Trophy.

Team manager Ian Rae said: “After Glasgow and now Redcar it’s ironic that we’re racing to the best form of our whole season which of course was completely ruined by injury. Now we’re in a good place with regard to getting into the Premier Challenge Trophy Final so long as we can go to Glasgow next Sunday afternoon and make sure we don’t lose by more than 10 or 11 points… which to be honest at Ashfield is not the easiest ask in the World at all.”