Etheridge and Jakobsen the latest additions for Bandits
Berwick Speedway have confirmed another two riders for the 2018 season with Jye Etheridge and Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen being added to their roster.
The pair join Australians Aaron Summers and Kevin Doolan and former GB rider David Howe in the Bandits’ line-up, leaving them with 10.42 points to play with for their remaining two places to come under the 42.50 limit.
Australian Etheridge, who is a club asset, was named as the Rider of the Year and the Riders’ Rider of the Year in 2017, whilst Jakobsen only raced one meeting for the club last summer before being ruled out through injury.
Etheridge added almost four points to his average last season, raising his 1.20 starting figure to 5.06 by the end of the campaign.
A statement from the club said: “It is with great pleasure that we can officially announce the return of Jye. He was one of the most significant Championship improvers in recent memory and established himself as a threat to anyone in the League on any track.”
The Bandits management recognised the talent and potential in Etheridge and moved swiftly to purchase his contract from the Edinburgh Monarchs in 2017 making him a fully fledged Berwick Bandit.
And that was after he was labelled by the Armadale outfit as ‘the worst rider in the league,’ in 2016.
Club co-promoter Scott Courtney said: “We are delighted to give ‘The Dragon from Down Under,’ Jye Etheridge a warm welcome back to Shielfield Park and it’s an honour to welcome back our 2017 Bandits’ Rider of the Year.
“Jye impressed me with his performance in the 2016 Stars of Tomorrow meeting at Berwick and I vividly remember thinking that anyone who gets up off the deck that many times and still gives it 100% is made of tough stuff. Put that together with his talent, discipline and the correct environment, the results should come, and they certainly did come for Jye!
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“Myself and my brother, Jamie, felt that we had to make the move to purchase him from the Monarchs and make him a fully fledged asset and we did so as soon as we committed to giving him his opportunity. I’m sure Jye has progression in mind for 2018 and we are excited to see him line up once again for the Bandits.”
Dane Jakobsen only raced one meeting for Berwick last season when a fall in his very first race saw him sustain a shoulder injury. He went on to complete another two rides, showing some style, but was forced to withdraw because of his earlier pile-up.
Courtney said: “I’m super happy to welcome ‘NBJ’ back to Berwick and we’re starting on an even keel this time!
“Nikolaj came into the side midway through last season and was so eager to impress, unfortunately it all went drastically wrong and he left with a severe shoulder injury.
“He’s had his operation and is fully committed to coming back and showing everyone at Berwick exactly what he’s capable of and what we mostly missed last year. I’m happy with the way the team is shaping up and I feel we will be a match for anyone this coming season.”
Meanwhile, the Berwick Speedway Supporters’ Club have announced two dates.
Their latest additions to the Hall of Fame will be inducted at the Black & Gold on Saturday, January 27 and they include former riders, brothers Mark and Sean Courtney, Scott Lamb and Andy Meldrum, along with former promoters Mike and Yvette Hope and club stalwarts Ewan Thompson and the late Geoff Coulson.
The Supporters’ Club are also organising an evening with former world champion Tai Woffinden and Sky TV’s Nigel Pearson, which is also being held in the Black & Gold on Friday, February 23.
One of the organisers, Lisa Youngman said: “This is already proving to be a very popular event. It was only advertised at the weekend and already more than three quarters of the tickets have been sold.”