Speedway: Berwick Bandits to host Ben Fund bonanza

IN 2013 the Speedway Riders’ Benevolent Fund will stage the fifth Ben Fund Bonanza – and the great news for northern speedway fans is that this meeting will be at Berwick Speedway’s Shielfield Park on Saturday March 9, writes Lawrence Heppell.

This meeting, which raises funds for seriously injured riders, is now the traditional opener for the British Speedway season, and Berwick follows previous stagings at Sheffield, Rye House, Scunthorpe and Birmingham. Organiser Paul Ackroyd gives very careful consideration to choosing the venue each year.

“We need to move the meeting round the country, and it’s only fair that the northern supporters get a chance to see the meeting,” he explained.

“Berwick have always had good track collections for the Ben Fund, in fact they have been the highest for the last three years, so obviously the people there are keen to support it.

“With the Polyfoam safety fence, and the stadium the way it is now, the improvements that have been made make it an ideal venue and opportunity for us to have the meeting there.”

For Berwick boss John Anderson, this is another major milestone in the history of Berwick Speedway.

“I’m very pleased to have the Bonanza here. It’s a big privilege, it’s an honour, and it’s something I didn’t think would happen as quickly as it has to us.

“Although I’m not 100% sure we made a good job of the Grand Prix qualifier as far as being a speedway spectacular went, I think we did a good job in getting the meeting on, and that seems to have impressed the FIM people.

“I think the Polyfoam fence has helped us in getting this meeting, although it cost us a lot of money.

“The plan when we came in was to try to lift Berwick’s profile, to put us on the map rather than always being also-rans. If the names come that we hope will come, it’s going to be some day.

“Personally I like to be low profile, I don’t like pushing my own barrow forward, but I must admit I’m mega-chuffed that we’ve been chosen to have this.”