Berwick Speedway have made a successful start to their Premier League campaign, with four wins out of five so far.
Now manager Ian Rae is calling on his riders to maintain their form this weekend when they take on Redcar in their next meeting at Shielfield on Saturday.
The Bandits thumped the Bears on the opening night of the season in a challenge match back in March, but Rae says they will be more formidable opponents this time around.
An added drawback for the Bandits is the fact that they will be without David Bellego, who will be away riding in the semi-finals of the Grand Prix qualifiers.
Bellego was drafted in as a late replacement for fellow Frenchman Matt Tresarrieu at the re-staged qualifier which was held at Shielfield a fortnight ago.
He used his home track advantage to guarantee himself one of the ten qualifying places, and this weekend he will be competing at Częstochowie, in Poland, just five rides away from the GP race-off.
“David’s omission is a set-back,” admitted Rae. “He has been going well, but we always knew that he might miss some meetings this season because of his involvement in other meetings.”
Bellego has also been competing in the European U21 Championship this season, and on Saturday he contested the semi-finals in France.
He is also competing in the World U21 Championship Finals this season.
The final is being held over three rounds, the first of which will be at Lonigo, Italy on July 19. The second leg is in Poland at Ostrow on August 17 and the deciding round at Pardubice in the Czech Republic on October 4.
Bellego also rode for Swindon in the Elite League as a guest last week.
“David is a busy rider at the moment,” said Rae. “We always knew this was going to be a big year for him and he is performing well.
“We wish him well in all the competitions he rides in.”
With regards to the team rae added:
“We have made a good start to our league campaign, the only blip being our defeat at Newcastle.
“We have won two at home, and two away against Workington and Plymouth, and the important thing now is to make the most of the situation we have created for ourselves.
“We have to drive on from here and try to finish as high up the table as we possibly can.
“This year the team was put together with strength in depth in mind, and so far it appears to be working.
“Everyone is playing their part, chipping in with vital points, and I have to say the team spirit is absolutely tremendous.
“That’s a cliche which is often used is speedway, but I can honestly say this is one of the best sets of riders I have ever worked with.
“Everyone helps each other out in the pits and the mood in the camp is high. It really does make all the difference when the riders are prepared to help each other out and offer advice when they think it is needed.”
Meanwhile, Berwick club asset Nicki Barrett is back in British speedway, following a sudden swoop for his services by Peterborough Panthers!
Barrett, who rode for bandits for the whole of 2013, will be turning out as a Panther this week as a replacement for the injured Oliver Greenwood, and will be back in action at Shielfield fairly quickly, as the Panthers will be in town on Saturday, June 28.
“It will be nice to see Nicki back at Shielfield,” said Rae.
“He was a popular member of our team last season, but unfortunately we just couldn’t fit him into our side this year.”