Bandits set to take to track in practice session
Berwick Bandits will take to the track for the first time this season when they stage their press and practice at Shielfield on Saturday (May 15).
The event will again be held behind closed doors due to COVID-19 restrictions and there will be limited access for riders and staff.
This season the team will compete in the Championship - the second tier of UK racing - and their side will be the same as assembled for the 2020 campaign, which was cancelled due to lockdown.
The side will be skippered by Australian Aaron Summers, who is based near Wooler. Also in the line-up will be fellow Aussie Jye Etheridge, Denmark’s Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, Dany Gappmaier from Austria, Coty Garcia from Argentina and the Bullets‘ young English pairing of Leon Flint and Kyle Bickley.
“It will be great to see the Bandits back on track again,” said co-owner and promoterJamie Courtney.
“The team will have a very familiar look about it - six of the riders raced for us in 2019 and of course Kyle comes into the side for the first time but is already racing for the Bullets in the National League so is well known to everyone.”
The Bandits are due to start their Championship campaign next Saturday (May 22) with a home meeting against Birmingham Brummies.
This will be the first of a number of ‘double-header’ meetings at Shielfield this season with the Bullets also taking on Belle Vue Colts.
It will also be the first time spectators will be allowed into the stadium following the easing of government restrictions on Monday, May 17.
“After what we have all been through over the past year or so it will be great to see racing, and the spectators again,” said Courtney.
“But first of all the riders need to get out on the track and get used to the new shape this weekend.
“The team will also be getting kitted out in their new 2021 race suits so they will all look the part.”
Meanwhile, the Bullets raced their second meeting of the season, away to Armadale Devils on Friday night. The teams had raced at Shielfield six days earlier when Berwick won 50-40.
In another behind closed doors event, the Devils gained some revenge with a 48-42 win, but the result meant the Bullets look the bonus league point for an aggregate 92-88 scoreline.
As in the previous meeting, Armadale reserve George Rothery was the Devil’s trump card, winning five of his six races to top the scorechart on 15 points.
For the Bullets, Leon Flint had three race wins and two seconds in his score of 13, while Kyle Bickley, with two race victories, was the only other visitor to take the chequered flag.
Team manager Gary Flint said: “It was another decent performance from the lads. We didn’t pick up the win, but we got the bonus point. This is a learning curve and the experience they gain from meeting like this will be invaluable to them.”
Devils - Rothery 15, Greaves 13, Woolley 11+1, Phillips 4+1, Davies 2+1, L Millar 2+1, G Millar 1+1.
Bullets - Flint 13, Bickley 9+1, Douglas 7+3, Blair 6, MacDonald 3+2, Watson 3, Rathbone 1+1.