Bandits make double signing swoop

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BERWICK Bandits have moved quickly to bring in cover for injury victim Jason King by signing an 18-year-old Australian and a 24-year-old Dane.

Rob Branford and Klaus Jakobsen have been added to the team and, with the paperwork all completed, both are in the squad for Berwick’s meeting with Ipswich on Thursday.

King sustained a badly-broken arm in a horror crash at Newcastle on Sunday night, but Berwick team boss Ian Rae has wasted no time recruiting a replacement.

“We have taken on 18-year-old Rob Branford, from Adelaide, as our Number 7,” Rae explained. “He has been scoring well for Buxton in the National League, and as he has been over here since he turned 16, he’s got a good bit of UK experience.

“In addition, I’m happy to reveal the recruitment of Denmark’s Klaus Jakobsen to take over from Jason King in the line-up.

“Klaus, who is 24, from Aaby, has raced in the UK before, mostly with Stoke, but also at Birmingham and Sheffield. He comes into the squad, along with young Rob, for our three away fixtures this week at Ipswich, Scunthorpe and Leicester.”

Promoter Dennis McCleary had to rush through the required paperwork to get the two riders approved in time for the Ipswich match on Thursday.

All transfers, loan agreements and team changes require official approval of the BSPA (speedway’s controlling body) and the club had to await their official thumbs-up before announcing the recruitments.

“All I’s dotted and t’s crossed, we got the necessary OK late this afternoon!” McCleary confirmed.

Rae was phoning around the speedway world while he was on holiday with his family, touring the Harry Potter studios in Hertfordshire.

“It was a struggle,” said Rae. “There didn’t seem to be a lot of guys available with the right average – or at the right price – for the club.” But he quipped: “I realised I was in just the place to get some help. I just called ‘Cave Inimicum’, and as you’ll know, that’s the spell to strengthen your defences!”

Earlier this month Denmark and Australia finished first and second in speedway’s World Team Cup in Sweden, so it was – almost naturally – to these nations Rae turned his attention.

“Within a few minutes, I’d located the two riders we wanted, and signed them up.”