Covers help the Bandits land their first piece of silverware
BERWICK BANDITS 54
REDCAR BEARS 36
(Berwick win 97-83 on agg)
Berwick got their home season off to a winning start on Saturday by beating Redcar and lifting the Tweed-Tees Trophy in the process.
Their competent 54-36 victory on the night gave them a 97-83 win on aggregate.
That in itself was satisfying enough, but perhaps the greatest success was the fact that for the first time in a domestic fixture, the Bandits used covers to protect the track from rain potentially forecast throughout the day, and this meant racing was virtually guaranteed.
The Bears held a slender four point advantage from the first leg on Teesside, but this was wiped out as early as heat one, when Thomas Jorgensen and Theo Pijper raced to a 5-1 over Lasse Bjerre.
Matty Wethers then saved the best til last in heat two when he passed Simon Nielsen off the final bend to win heat two, and with skipper Kevin Doolan fighting his way from the back against the impressive Jonas Andersen in three, it was a perfect start for the Borderers.
The home heat winners and advantages continued to flow with Seb Alden, Pijper (twice), Wethers and Doolan all taking the chequered flag, which meant that by end of heat nine Berwick were 35-19 ahead and almost guaranteed victory.
Up to that stage, Bjerre, in heat five, had been the visitors’ only race winner, but Andersen picked up the pace in the final stages and he went on to win his final three races for a very respectable paid 13 total.
There was one heart in mouth moment for Bandits’ fans when Alden lost control of his bike as he approached the finish line in heat 11, but such was the home side’s dominance that it wasn’t until heats 13 and 14 that the Bears actually managed to register any heat advantages.
After the meeting Berwick manager Scott Courtney said: “It was a great relief to finally get the season underway at Shielfield after last week’s rain-off.
“Thuis time we were taking no chances and we covered the track early in the day to give us every chance of racing.
“I would like to thank everyone for their help, and in particular our new sponsors Olympus Marquees.
“It was a tremendous effort by everyone involved and ensured the meeting went ahead.
“It is something we will look at doing again if we feel the need arises.”
Berwick: Doolan 12+1, Wethers 11+1, Pijper 9+2, Alden 8, Jorgensen 7, Carr 5+1, Mellgren. 2+1.
Redcar: Andersen 12+1, Bjerre 7, Bellego 7, Nielsen 5+1, Skidmore 4, Bukhave 1, Payne 0.
WORKINGTON COMETS 37
BERWICK BANDITS 22
Berwick travelled to Workington on Sunday for the first leg of the Border Trophy.
Weather conditions were inclement and eventually the meeting was abandoned after 10 heats because of rain, although the result will stand.
Three Bandits - Theo Pijper, captain Kevin Doolan and Seb Alden - all won races, but with Kenneth Hansen unbeaten in his four races, and Ricky Wells dropping only one point from three, the Comets were always in the ascendency.
Workington: Hansen 11+1, Wells 8, Lambert 5+1, Roynon 5+1, Vissing 4, Williamson 4, Jensen rider rep.
Berwick: Doolan 7, Pijper 6, Wethers 4, Alden 3, Jorgensen 1, Carr 1, Mellgren 0.
* This weekend Berwick race against Edinburgh (away) on Friday in the League Cup, before taking on Newcastle home and away on Saturday and Sunday in the annual Tyne-Tweed Trophy.