Brummie spoilers ... but the fans are back!
The fans returned to speedway for the first time at Berwick in a year and a half on Saturday.
But things didn’t go according to plan as the Bandits went down to a disappointing 39-51 home defeat at the hands of Birmingham in the Championship, whilst the Bullets beat Belle Vue Colts 52-28 in the National League.
The Bandits started out as a six-man team, with Coty Garcia still in Argentina due to COVID restrictions, and after making a bring start, going 10-2 up after the first two races, they were reduced to only five riders when Jye Etheridge was involved in a high speed crash up the back straight and was forced to withdraw from the meeting.
It put added pressure on the team and machinery, with reserves Lean Flint and Kyle Bickley taking up a lot of the slack.
But with former GB rider Chris Harris once again showing his liking for the big Shielfield track, going unbeaten from his last five rides, the Brummies were always in the hunt.
Another GB international, guest rider Scott Nicholls also weighed in with two race wins and the pressure was just too much to bear for the home side.
It later transpired Etheridge was battered and bruised and manager Gary Flint said: “It was a bad crash and undoubtedly Jye’s absence affected our scoring potential.”
Bandits - Summers 10+1, Flint 9+2, Jakobsen 9+1, Bickley 6+1, Gappmaier 5+1, Etheridge 0, Garcia r/rep.
Brummies - Harris 14+2, Morris 8+2, Nicholls 8, Shane’s 7+1, Thomas 7, Nichol 5, Castagna 2+1.
Meanwhile, the Bullets overcame Manchester’s Belle Vue with Leon Flint going through the card, chalking up a full 15-point maximum. Kyle Bickley also went unbeaten in his four starts whilst there were also valuable contributions from Greg Blair, who went from third to first in heat 12, and reserve Mason Watson.
Bullets - Flint 15, Bickley 11+1, Blair 11+1, Watson 9+1, Rathbone 3, Douglas 2+1, MacDonald 1.
Colts - Compton 8+1, Bowen 6+2, Cole’s 6+1, H McGurk 6+1, S McGurk 5+1, Parkinson Blackburn 4, Woodhull 3+1.
This weekend, the Bullets are away to Belle Vue in the return on Friday, with the Bandits taking on Scunthorpe at home on Saturday.