Berwick Bandits 52
Workington Comets 39
by Keith Hamblin
at Shielfield Park
BERWICK’S penultimate home meeting of the season certainly didn’t lack in drama.
There was some good racing, typified particularly by the battling performance of Richard Lawson, and a fine paid 15 maximum for Bandits’ skipper Lee Complin.
But in many ways this was overshadowed by an horrific looking crash by Ludvig Lindgren, bringing to a sudden end his last home meeting for the club.
Lindgren is due to be released by Berwick this week after his temporary loan signing, with Alex Edberg being welcomed back to the fold for the remaining fixtures of the season.
But his heat eight spill, when he lost control going into the first bend on the third lap, was not the way he would have wanted to end his spell with the Borderers.
He managed to part company with his bike before hitting the fence, but the impact was such that four panels and five wooden posts had to be replaced before racing could continue.
Workington, despite their own injury problems, put up a valiant effort and tried to make a fight of it.
Wins by Rusty Harrison (heat 1), Lawson (in five) and guest Adam Roynon (in six) meant the Comets were always there or thereabouts.
But Berwick’s Complin and Jade Mudgway had the bit between their teeth in their opening rides, Mudgway going from last to second for a 5-1 in heat two, and Complin passing a surprised Roynon up the inside of the home straight in four, with Mudgway also passing Kenny Ingalls from the back for a 4-2 which established a six point advantage at 15-9.
The next three races were all shared 3-3 as the score moved on to 24-18, but Lindgren’s fall and exclusion in eight saw Workington pull two points back with a race advantage in eight.
Bandits, however, hit straight back with Linus Eklof and Josef Franc taking a 5-1 in the next.
Complin was at it again in 11, going from third to first past harrison and Ingalls, but at 37-29 the meeting was not over yet.
The Comets’ challenge ended after heat 12, however.
Ingalls fell whilst leading and was excluded, a 4-2 in the re-run putting Bandits ten in front at 41-31.
Harrison was introduced as a double-pointed tactical in 13, but Sebastian Alden, who looked subdued for most of the night, burst into life and with Complin coming through for a 5-1 which put the home side in an unassailable position.
Lawson, enjoying his best-ever Shielfield showing, went four double points in 14 and reeled off his third win of the night ahead of Franc.
But by this stage even the losing bonus point was beyond the visitors, and the only issue to be settled in 15 was whether or not Complin would go on to achieve his first paid maximum of the season, which he duly did.
After the meeting Complin said: “That’s been a long time coming. For the past few weeks now I have been riding well here at home, but I have had to win most of my points from the back.
“That makes it exciting for the fans to watch, but for me it’s a lot easier if I can make the gate.
“The Berwick track is such that I know I can attack it. I have confidence in it and that means I can sometimes take lines other riders don’t.
“I was racing against some of the Elite League riders at Leicester the other night and that made me concentrate more at the gate.
“I think that helped me tonight, and now I can’t wait for the next meeting.
“Unfortunately, there is only one home meeting left (against Newport) so in that respect the end of the season is probably coming a little to quickly for me.
“I have been disappointed in my away form so far this season - I have definitely not been at the level I wanted to be at.
“But we still have a few away meetings left - Berwick are at Plymouth, Newport and Rye House this weekend - and hopefully I can put my new-found confidence to the test in those meetings.
Berwick - Complin 14+1 (p/max), Franc 9+1, Alden 7+2, Mudgway 7+2, Eklof 7+1, Davey 4+1, Lindgren 4. Workington - Lawson 18, Roynon 7, Harrison 6+2, Ingalls 6, Nielsen 4+2, Courtney 0, Kildermand (rider/rep).