Berwick Bandits get back to winning ways

Berwick ‘New Holland’ Bandits” 48 Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches 45


BOTH these teams went into last night’s encounter desperate for Premier League points.

The home Bandits in order to re-start their somewhat sleepy campaign, whilst the visiting Witches were keen to make up for their last heat defeat at the hands of Newcastle on Thursday at Foxhall.

Ben Barker, from a slow gate, hit the grip line perfectly round bend one to jet hard between both Bandits off bend two and take a sizeable win for three points in the shared 3-3.

Cameron Heeps found himself wide on bend one of the second heat, and as Nicki Barrett charged hard under him the Witch lost all ground to end up in third place ahead of Adam Ellis who had lifted wildly from the gate in as home 5-1 to put Berwick ahead 8-4.

Matthew Wethers rode a great race challenging Rohan Tungate for second throughout the four laps, but with Robin Aspegren well out in front the Bandits again took an advantage - 4-2.

Leigh Lanham made the early pace in Heat Four, but on bend one, Barrett shot under the Witches’ skipper, and going into bend two Kozza Smith took the fast wide line to pass both Lanham and his partner tight up against the fence to seal another home maximum taking the score to 17-7 which allowed the Witches to nominate a tactical ride - that honour going to Barker in Heat Five.

Barker made no errors and took a gate to flag win with ease for six points over Wethers in an Ipswich 2-7 result that tightened the score to 19-14 and come Heat Six Lanham again made the gate, but was pushed hard by Berwick guest Craig Cook who forced his way through a virtually nonexistent gap to take the lead, and indeed win.

Heat Seven’s activities came to an abrupt end when Smith went frighteningly wide off bend four, clipped the fence and tumbled head over heels down the home straight in front of two other riders and was only just missed by his own bike.

The race was awarded an Ipswich 1-5 taking the score to 24-21, but more importantly was the good condition of stricken Bandit Smith who walked back to the pits.

Heat Nine saw a fine battle from Wethers and Lanham with the Bandit trying every move to force his way past the Witch, but despite some excellent moves it was to no avail in the Bandits’ 4-2 taking the score to 32-25.

Barker made a brilliant pass round Smith mid-way through Heat 11 to seal his third win of the night but Starke’s bike failed as the tapes went up and by the time he got it going the other three were nearly 3/4 of a lap ahead in the Witches 2-4 which tightened the match to 37-32.

Tungate went up a gear in Heat 12 to take his first win of the night but vitally behind Aspegren and Barrett tucked in for the minor placings to restrict the race to a 3-3.

With two races to go Barrett fell on the second lap and was duly excluded from the re-run, but Risager in that second running made a superb gate to lead well with Wethers stuck in third, but the Bandit found the drive to pass Heeps and then pressure Risager for a lap before settling for second in the 2-4 leaving the match on a knife-edge 45-42 with one heat remaining.

Anything but an Ipswich 1-5 would give Berwick the win and Barker shot round from last to first on the opening lap, but thankfully for Berwick he left his partner Risager at the rear with Smith and Aspegren successfully holding him at the rear to record a home victory 48-45.

Bandit’s team manager Ian Rae said: “This was a far better show from Berwick and as expected Ipswich really pushed hard especially the brilliant maximum from Ben Barker.

“This result has really boosted our lads’ confidence and now we can start to build this 2013 season to the level we know we deserve to be at.”

Individual Riders’ Score Chart

Berwick ‘New Holland’ Bandits

1, Craig Cook (guest) 2,3,2,1* = 8+1

2, David Bellego 1*,1,3,1* = 6+2

3, Robin Aspegren 3,0,3,2,2 = 10

4, Matthew Wethers 1,2,1,2 = 6

5, Kozza Smith © 3,Fx,2,2,1* = 8+1

6, Paul Starke ® 3,1,R,N = 4

7, Nicki Barrett ® 2*,2*,1,1*, Fx = 6+3

Ipswich “Sackers Witches” 45

1, Ben Barker 3,6^,3,3,3 = 18

2, Ritchie Hawkins 0,E,0,1 = 1

3, Rohan Tungate 2,2*,0,3 = 7+1

4, Morten Risager 0,3,3,3 = 9

5, Leigh Lanham © 0,2,2,0 = 4

6, Adam Ellis ® 0,0,0,N = 0

7, Cameron Heeps ® 1,1,1,2,0,1 = 6