Bandits hope World U-21 event will attract sponsor

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BERWICK Bandits hope the prospect of hosting another world-class meeting at Shielfield Park will persuade a new sponsor to step forward and save the club.

Financial trouble means Berwick’s future is in doubt, with directors warning that the team will be unable to run next season unless they can find a new major sponsor.

However, now that they have been pencilled in as the host club for the British round of the World Under-21 Championship in August, Bandits are more hopeful the profile and prestige of staging another top-class event will be attractive to potential sponsors.

Promoter John Anderson said: “To be granted a bonefide FIM World Championship event is an amazing honour for the club and everyone connected with it. I truly hope it will help us attract backing and allow us to carry on skidding.”

Having already been named as hosts for the BEN Fund meeting at Shielfield in March, the club has been confirmed as the venue for the British round of the World U-21 Championship.

This is the second FIM-approved meeting to be bestowed upon the Bandits following their hosting of the Grand Prix Qualifier in the summer.

The event is due to be held on Saturday August 10, when the best young riders in the world will descend upon Shielfield Park. In the 2012 version of the event – still to be completed with two rounds in Argentina next month – the participating tracks have enjoyed the talents of world-class riders, including Maciej Janowski, Mikkel B Jensen, Michael Jepsen Jensen, Piotr Pawlicki and Przemyslaw Pawlicki.

It is a great honour, but Berwick officials have stressed that both meetings are on the proviso that the club will be running in the Premier League in 2013.

In recent weeks, the Borderers have confirmed that falling crowds and the loss of their major team sponsor for next season has put a question mark over their future.

News of the World U-21 Championshipwas broken to fans at Shielfield on Saturday who turned out for the first leg of the club’s Premier Challenge Trophy final against Rye House.

Berwick are on the look-out for a new team sponsor to replace A&J Scott, which has been the team’s major backers for the past three years.

Anderson says he will go to the BSPA AGM later this month and make his declaration of intent to run in 2013, but it will be on the understanding that a new team sponsor must be in place to help ease the financial burden.

“Nothing can yet be set in stone for 2013,” added Anderson. “This is a sign of the current economic times.

“We must identify and attract a new main sponsor.”