Speedway: Bears come to town for Shielfield opener

Berwick Bandits team line up 2014/15 season
Berwick Bandits team line up 2014/15 season

The speedway season kicks off at Shielfield Park tomorrow night with a much-changed Berwick squad (sponsored again in 2014 by New Holland Agriculture) aiming to capture their first silverware of the season.

“The event is the second, deciding leg of the annual Tweed-Tees Trophy” explained club director George Hepburn.

“We were supposed to be down there last night, but their promotion felt their track was too wet, and instead the first fixture is to be tonight down at Redcar.”

Returning to lead the Bandits as their captain in 2014 will be the tall, droll Aussie Matthew Wethers. Matty, now 28, has been a professional speedway rider his entire adult life, and has experienced success as a skipper, having led Edinburgh to the Premier League title back in 2010.

“He was the obvious choice” said team manager Ian Rae. “Cool and calculating, and a tremendous competitor when the chips are down – when the going gets tough, you can reply on Matty to get going.”

Joining Wethers as familiar faces in the new-look line-up are local teenager Liam Carr - now 18 and ready to make his mark at Premier League level - alongside third-year Bandit David Bellego, from Marmande, France.

New riders to the black and gold will be two Danish stars in Claus Vissing and Steen Jensen, Matej Kus from the Czech Republic and the star signing – Kevin Doolan, from Shepparton, Australia, who will be Bandits’ new No 1.

“How will they do? We’ll find out after Saturday night,” said Hepburn.

“But one thing I know is that these seven guys are very committed to the Berwick cause, and will be going all out in every race, determined to win the cheers of our fans.

“This is the 47th season of speedway in this town, and we aim to make it one of the best.”

Saturday’s teams

Berwick: 1. Kevin Doolan, 2. David Bellego, 3. Matej Kus, 4. Matty Wethers (Captain), 5. Claus Vissing, 6. Liam Carr, 7. Steen Jensen.

Redcar: 1. Richard Lawson, 2. Carl Wilkinson, 3. Hugh Skidmore, 4. Richard Hall, 5. Aaron Summers, 6. Jan Graversen, 7. Luke Crang.