Perfect practise for Bandits

BERWICK BANDITS’ promoters John and Ryan Anderson expressed “total satisfaction” with their club’s new-look line-up after a rigorous practise session at Shielfield Park on Saturday night, writes Lawrence Heppell.

“Much of the work put in by the newer riders was to get the feel of the circuit before this week’s opening event,” explained John Anderson. “They certainly dialled up a lot of laps. But in addition, all seven of the lads were experimenting with the set-up of their engines after fitting the new silencers which are compulsory at all Premier League tracks from this season.

“There are increasing restrictions on noise levels wherever you go, in all walks of life, and it is to our sport’s credit that these new silencer regulations have been brought in, hopefully meeting any future complaints head-on.”

Anderson’s co-owner George Hepburn must have been pleased by the way his racing surface stood up to a woeful spell of weather late in the week, allowing the Bandits’ squad more than two hours of relentless lapping without the track once requiring attention.

Team boss Ian Rae is enthusiastic about the way Berwick’s riders are already bonding as a tight unit after just a couple of general get-togethers at winter functions and a pre-practice meal.

“They are just so ‘together’ I’m delighted,” he said. “Everyone was working to help one another over silencers and advice on how to ride the circuit. Our new captain spent a long time out at the starting gate with our reserves, especially Tamas Sike, offering advice. It is just so refreshing – I can’t wait, and they can’t wait, for Saturday night.”

Australian Kozza Smith, 22, was in especially rampant form at the sessions, but took a long time afterwards to talk to fans, even as rain fell.

“They are the lifeblood of the sport,” explained the exuberant Aussie. “I’ll always be available to meet Borders folk, be they sponsors, supporters or even people who don’t know anything about speedway racing – maybe I can help them learn.”

The club’s new No.1, Danish World Cup star Charlie Gjedde, spent a long time getting the feel of the Shielfield track on Saturday and expressed himself “more than satisfied” with his progress.