Speedway: Berwick’s Ashworth in major crash

Ricky Ashworth - awaiting news
Ricky Ashworth - awaiting news

BERWICK BANDITS’ Premier League meeting at Scunthorpe last night was curtailed to 11 of the 15 heats as a serious crash resulted in Ricky Ashworth leaving the stadium in a blue-light ambulance.

Ryan Douglas and David Howe made the Heat 11 gate with Bandit David Bellego storming round both Scorpions off bend two. Ashworth then squeezed past Howe but Howe’s chain came adrift causing the Scorpion to grind to a halt.

Ashworth then powered up to get on terms with Douglas on the fourth bend of the third lap but overcooked his manoeuvre, lost control and smashed heavily into the safety fence on the home straight past the point where the air fence runs out.

The paramedics were instantly on the scene and proceeded to administer medical treatment for the Bandit, placing him on a backboard for precautionary measures and loaded the Berwick favourite into the ambulance which then immediately left the stadium with the full paramedic staff accompanying Ashworth on his way to the local hospital.

The meeting was abandoned immediately with the score standing at 34-31 to the hosts, although no one was especially bothered as all thoughts were with the injured Ashworth.

Berwick’s team manager Ian Rae was naturally shocked saying: “We know very little about Ricky’s situation or condition at the present time but he’s with the medical staff who are working with him to make sure he’s comfortable and make a start on recovery.

“The best people are with him and we wish him well and will report more to our fans as the news is released via our media outlets and the club website.

“All at Berwick Speedway wish Ricky all the very best.”

Prior to the drama the meeting began with Ashworth shot from the Heat One gate along side his partner David Bellego but the forceful Josh Auty split the Bandits coming out of bend two but it was the Border travellers who took the early lead 2-4.

Lewis Blackbird and Ryan Douglas put Scunthorpe back into the driving seat after a solid Heat Two maximum although Nicki Barrett and Paul Starke did make a go of it at the back but failed to hold their points with the Scorpions now leading 7-5.

11-7 down after the third, Berwick skipper Kozza Smith made no errors from the gate as he shot off to lead well and take the three points from David Howe, but with Starke at the back the heat could only be shared 3-3.

Bellego and Ashworth gated in Heat Five’s re-run but Nicolai Klindt shot round Ashworth to split the Bandits until he took a line way too wide on bend four to allow the Bandits number one to regain second and score a 1-5 to level the scores at 15-15.

Robin Aspegren and Mathew Wethers took another Berwick 1-5 from the gate in Heat Seven with a brief challenge from Howe on Wethers coming to nothing and shooting the Bandits into the lead 20-22.

Thomas Joregensen made a great gate to win Heat Eight over Bellego in a 4-2 to level the scores at 24-all, but Klindt and Douglas surrounded Smith in a home 4-2 in the Ninth to put Scunthorpe back into the lead 28-26.

Josh Auty was strong from Heat 10’s gate and took a comfortable three points with Aspegren taking second after a hard battle from Jorgensen in third to extend the home lead to 32-28 before the final heat 11 took to the track.