Bandits back with a bang with good home win over the Tigers
After a two week delay caused by the rain, Berwick finally got their 2018 speedway season up and running with back to back Championship Shield meetings against Glasgow Tigers at the weekend.
On Friday, the Bandits went down 54-36 at Ashfield, before the Borderers gained satisfaction with a 47-43 win at Shielfield on Saturday.
But the meetings did not pass without incident, as Berwick unfortunately suffered an early season injury with Jye Etheridge sidelined with a hand/wrist knock.
He sustained the damage in a fall at Glasgow, was withdrawn from the meeting and was forced to miss the return on Tweedside 24 hours later.
At first there were fears he may have broken his wrist, but later the Australian reported that he had some movement in his hand and was waiting to see a specialist before any official diagnosis was confirmed.
Under the circumstances, Berwick drafted in Peterborough’s Simon Lambert to ride as a guest at Shielfield on Saturday.
Berwick Bandits 47
Glasgow Tigers 43
After a two week delay due to the weather, Berwick finally got their home season up and running with a win over the highly-rated Glasgow at Shielfield.
And it proved to be an entertaining meeting, with some good racing from the off, Kevin Doolan and Richie Worrall passing and repassing each other in the opening race to set the standard.
In truth there was nothing between the sides, with no more than two points separating the teams in the first nine heats, the scores being level at 27-all at that stage.
Two 5-1s were traded in heats three and four, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen doing well to keep Chris Harris back in third in the latter race.
But whilst the exploits of Doolan, Jakobsen and Dany Gappmaier were matched by Harris, Claus Vissing, who won his first two races, and Worrall in the opening stages, it was only when Aaron Summers finally got going towards the end of the meeting that Bandits managed to give themselves some breathing space.
The former Tiger partnered Doolan to a 5-1 ahead of Vissing in 10, and with the scores 37-35 after 12, he managed to fend off the charging Harris in 13 and then chased him all the way to the line after being passed in a typical ‘Bomber’ move up the inside in heat 15, when the visitors needed a 1-5 to force a draw.
All in all, a good way to open the season, but for the large crowd, including a good contingent of Glasgow fans, it was just nice to finally see some speedway action again!
After the meeting Berwick co-promoter and team manager Scott Courtney said: “Well, we are finally under way, and I have to say it is a relief after all the delays with the weather.
“At Glasgow I thought the lads did well and the scoreline perhaps did not reflect the racing.
“Aaron (Summers) was down on power, we lost Jye (Etheridge) and John (Lindman) took a heavy fall when leading his first race and wrecked his number one bike.
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“For the home meeting things were a lot more promising. Kev (Doolan) did exceptionally well in the difficult number two position, Dany (Gappmaier) and Nikolaj (Busk Jakobsen) both looked good, and after a slow start, when he was suffering from compression problems, Aaron finally got going towards the end and helped us turn the meeting around.
“We will now just keep and eye on Jye’s injury and hopefully it is nothing too serious. Fingers crossed, with a bit of luck, all he needs is some rest.”
Meanwhile, Gappmaier, who scored 20 points over the two nights, was full of smiles when he said: “I was very pleased with the way I rode. I went into the meetings not feeling too confident as I have had no real track time and not a lot of time on the bike.
“But I think everyone is the same at this stage of the season, and this is a real boost to my confidence.
“If I can ride like that and score points like that every week I will be happy.”
Berwick: Doolan 12+1, Gappmaier 10, Summers 8+2, Jakobsen 8+1, Howe 4+1, Lambert 3, Lindman 2.
Glasgow: Harris 12, Vissing 8+1, Worrall 6+1, Kerr 6+1, Starke 6+1, Sarjeant 5, Thomas 0.
Glasgow Tigers 54
Berwick Bandits 36
Berwick finally got their season underway at Glasgow on Friday when they went down to the much-fancied Tigers.
There was a blow for the Bandits with the loss of reserve Jye Etheridge, who picked up a hand injury in his second ride and was withdrawn from the meeting.
John Lindman, on his debut for the club, also damaged his bike when he fell whilst leading his first race, whilst former Tiger Aaron Summers, on his return to Ashfield after switching sides during the winter, sadly was down on power and only mustered one point from four starts.
It was therefore left to the remainder of the team to cary the fight. Dany Gappmaier won two races on his way to a top score of 10, whilst skipper Kevin Doolan, David Howe and Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen each took the chequered flag once.
For Glasgow, it was Richie Worrall and former Bandit Claus Vissing who led the way in the score charts, ably backed up by James Sarjeant, who was also in double figures, and Lewis Kerr, who had two wins.
Glasgow: Worral 12+1, Vissing 12+1, Sarjeant 10+1, Kerr 8, Harris 6+1,, Starke 4+1, Thomas 1.
Berwick: Gappmaier 10, Doolan 8, Jakobsen 7+1, Howe 6, Etheridge 2+1 (withdrawn), Lindman 1, Summers 1.
* On Saturday (April 21), Berwick will face Newcastle in the first leg of the Tyne-Tweed Trophy at Shielfield. This was a meeting which was postponed on the opening night of the season due to the weather.