Bandits set to welcome new inductees into Hall of Fame

Former riders, promoters and track staff are set to be welcomed as the latest inductees into the Berwick Speedway Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, 3rd January 2018, 08:40 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd January 2018, 08:46 am

Ex-riders, brothers Mark and Sean Courtney, Andy Meldrum and one-time captain Scott Lamb are set to join the likes of Steve McDermott, Rob Grant, Graham Jones, Wayne Brown, Michal Makovsky, Adrian Rymel, David Meldrum, David Walsh, David Blackburn, Bruce Cribb, Alan Mogridge, Mark Hall and Paul Bentley on the Roll of Honour.

Former promoters Mike and Yvette Hope from Wooler join the founding Taylor family and Davie Fairbairn as bosses who have been recognised by the organisers. And club stalwarts Ewan Thomson and the late Geoff Coulson are also set to be honoured.

They will all be inducted at a ceremony which is being held in the Black & Gold on Saturday, January 27.

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Andy Meldrum was one of the early Bandits and the uncle of David, who is already a ‘Hall of Famer’.

He rode for the club between 1969 and 1973 and overall competed in 127 matches, taking part in 523 races, scoring 825 points and 92 bonus for an overall average of 6.41.

Mark Courtney is a rider often debated as one of the greatest Bandits of all time.

A former British U21 champion, he was brought to the club by former promoter Davie Fairbairn and his sidekick Ian Graham.

He raced for the club in their years at Berrington Lough, where he was nigh-on unbeatable in his pomp, helping them win the KO Cup in 1989.

In all, he competed in 118 matches, rode in 627 races, scoring 1394 points and 83 bonus points to average an incredible 9.42!

The former Belle Vue and Leicester rider also scored no fewer than 16 full maximums and seven paid maximums for the Bandits.

Brother Sean joined Berwick in 1985, and was a solid, dependable middle-order rider, who was also a member of the 1989 KO Cup winning side against Poole.

Sean, who also raced for Edinburgh and Glasgow, rode in 172 meetings, 717 races, scoring 948 points and a colossal 189 bonus points for an overall average of 6.30. He is still a regular visitor to Shielfield and lives and works locally.

Scott Lamb first raced for Berwick in 1985, but did not join the club until 1992, returning again in 1997 after a spell away with the Edinburgh and Scottish Monarchs.

His fast gating was a feature of his racing and in his time with the Bandits he rode in 159 matches, took part in 752 races, scoring 1,393 points and 81 bonus points to average 7.75 overall.

Mike and Yvette Hope came to Berwick’s rescue after the club closed at the end of 1992 under former owner Terry Lindon.

In 1994, they entered the British League 3 (now the National League) and they enjoyed success in the league, KO Cup and Kevin Little won the Riders’ Championship.

But they wanted to see speedway return to Shielfield Park and, in 1996, they achieved their dream, running in the Conference League. In 1997, they returned to the second tier, where the Bandits remain today, but at the end of the 1998 season, they ended their tenure and were lost to the sport for almost 20 years until they made a return as sponsors in 2017.

Ewan Thomson has been around Berwick Speedway for almost 50 years, filling a number of roles, including pits gate steward, announcer, flag marshal, track marshal, pits helper, social club secretary, general labourer at both stadiums and Supporters’ Club official.

Geoff Coulson passed away in 2017. For 20 years, he was pits marshall, at both Berrington and Shielfield, and was a very popular figure around the club.

He was always there to offer a helping hand and will be fondly remembered for the many hours he gave to the Bandits. As his citation says: “Without folk like Geoff, speedway would not survive.”