Bandits hope to build on league opener

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Berwick opened their Premier League campaign with their biggest win of the season when they beat Redcar 65-28 at Shielfield on Saturday.

It was a dominant performance against the under-par Bears, and whilst there were big scores for most of the team, it was three riders in particular who stood out.

Sebastian Alden raced to his first paid maximum of the season, whilst there were impressive performances from both David Bellego and Alex Edberg.

But with a key match coming up this weekend against the highly fancied Ipswich, two of those riders (Bellego and Edberg) are set to miss the meeting because of other commitments, whilst reserve Jason King faces a race against time to regain fitness following a crash which forced him to withdraw from the victory over Redcar.

Bellego, who scored 9 paid 12 and Edberg, who rattled up 12 paid 15, are both away racing in U21 championships in Europe.

“It means we will have to use rider replacement for David,” said team manager Ian Rae, “and bring in a guest for Alex.

“But of course the added complication is that Jason injured himself on Saturday and we are going to have to wait and see if he is fit.

“If he can’t make it that means another guest, which means we could be using two at reserve.

“It’s not ideal for a big meeting against a side like Ipswich, but unfortunately that’s just the way it is and we will have to make the best of it.

“It was great to get our league campaign off to such a good start against Redcar but of course the down side was the injury to Jay, which took the shine off the evening a bit.”

King was stretchered from the track when he was involved in a three-man pile-up at the start of heat eight.

There was a lengthy delay whilst he received treatment from paramedics and eventually an NHS ambulance was called to take him to hospital for a check-up. But with all the remaining riders in dominant form Bandits strolled to a 37-point victory.

“Of course we want to try and build on that if we can,” said Rae, “but the unavailability of some riders is going to make it difficult for us.”

After romping to his first paid maximum of the season Alden said: “Everything just felt good tonight. Last week I was struggling to get out of the starts, but during the week I took the engine out of one bike and put it into another.

“I was making the starts and when I was riding it just felt comfortable and I just knew I was going to win.

“It’s nice to get our league season off to a winning start but with David, Alex and possibly Jay all missing next week it will be more difficult against Ipswich.”

Bellego, who enjoyed his best meeting since joining the Bandits during the winter from Glasgow had no problem identifying where things started to go right for him.

“It’s all down to my change of clutch,” he said. “Last week against Edinburgh I was struggling out of the starts then Lee (Complin) persuaded me to change my clutch plates and I went out and won heat 14.

“Since then I have been working with Ricky (Ashworth) in the workshop and we have been changing a few things with my clutch. It seems to have made a big difference. Tonight I was making starts and on a big fast track like this (Shielfield) it’s so important to get out of the gate.

“There is no doubt the changes have given my confidence a big boost and now I can’t wait to show everyone what I can really do.”

* BERWICK asset Josef Franc, who is riding on loan with Sheffield this season, produced one of the performances of his life when he rode as a wildcard in the Czech Grand Prix in Prague on Saturday.

‘Pepe’ scored nine points, winning three races, beating four former world champions in the process in the shape of Jason Crump, Tomasz Gollob, Nicki Pedersen and Greg Hancock. He was knocked out in the semi-final stages.

* SPEEDWAY was mourning the death of former GB international Lee Richardson this week who died in a Polish hospital following a crash whilst racing on Sunday. Richardson is reported to have struck a solid fence.