Speedway: Berwick Bandits look on the bright side

WITH weather boffins predicting better a weekend outlook, speedway will be roaring back into Shielfield Park on Saturday night, with Berwick’s Bandits (sponsored by A & J Scott Ltd of Wooperton) aiming to maintain their 100% home Premier League record against Sheffield Tigers.

Ian Rae, the border club’s team manager, is optimistic his charges can have a good weekend, racing at Edinburgh on Friday and in the League’s Four-Team Championship at Peterborough on Sunday afternoon on either side of the vital visit by the tough-riding Yorkshire outfit.

“I feel the lads will be boosted by the return of Alex Edberg, who has been on the disabled list since his big crash at Rye House on June 9th,” he predicted.

“You can quote me as saying I reckon we can take a point at least on Friday, a solid win at home on Saturday and on Sunday we have as good a chance as anyone!”

While Edinburgh’s Armadale circuit has not been a happy hunting ground for the Bandits in recent seasons, Friday night will find their hosts short of high-scoring Dutchman Theo Pijper (off on a World Long-Track jaunt) and have their young German reserve Marcel Helfer still familiarising himself with his new home track.

“If we could take even one point, which we get for losing by six or less points, that’ll be a boost.” Rae observed. “Although what we’re really concentrating on is Saturday night, and these Tigers!”

The clash will be high-pointed by not only the return of the highly-popular Edberg from his shoulder wound but by the appearance for Sheffield of Josef ‘Pepe’ Franc, the wee Czech star who is still a Berwick asset, but has to miss too many weekend meetings to really benefit being a Bandit at present.

Also with the Tigers is Ricky Wells, who showed to advantage for the US team who were narrowly eliminated from the World Team Cup in Poland last weekend.

Weekend Line-ups:

Berwick (for both Friday and Saturday fixtures): 1, Ricky Ashworth; 2, Alex Edberg; 3, Lee Complin (captain); 4, David Bellego; 5, Sebastian Alden; 6, Lubos Tomicek; 7, Jason King.

Edinburgh: 1, Craig Cook; 2, Derek Sneddon; 3, rider-replacement for Theo Pijper; 4, Matthew Wethers (captain); 5, Andrew Tully; 6, Mickey Dyer; 7, Marcel Helfer.

Sheffield: 1, Josef ‘Pepe’ Franc; 2, Hugh Skidmore; 3, Chris Schramm; 4, Richard Hall (captain); 5, Ricky Wells; 6, Joe Haines; 7, Emiliano Sanchez.

On Sunday the club’s squad will comprise Ashworth, Alden, Complin and Bellego, with Edberg as reserve.

Berwick have been drawn in Group 1 of the Fours Championship alongside Redcar, Newcastle and Plymouth.

“We won this title at Coventry back in 2002, live on TV!” recalled Ian Rae. “Now we are back ten years on, contesting the event at Peterborough – and have as good a chance as anyone, given the right conditions.”

Supporters travelling to Peterborough might wish to take advantage of a special Track Shop offer on Saturday night.

Bandits’ Supporters Club members can avail themselves of a 10% discount on all club merchandise on production of their BSC membership cards.