SPEEDWAY: Berwick Bandits 65, Redcar Bears 28. BERWICK started their Premier League campaign in flamboyant style, sending Redcar packing with a powerhouse display at Shielfield.
It was a dominant display from the Bandits who deservedly earned all three match points on offer, but there was one down side to the evening, with reserve Jason King being withdrawn from the meeting after a spectacular crash in heat eight.
King was one of three riders who was literally wiped out as they made their way into the first bend, and his evening ended with him being stretchered off the track and a visit to hospital in an ambulance.
With Matej Kus missing - he was a reserve in the Czech Grand Prix - the Bears knew that if they were to stand any chance they needed to have both Ulrich Ostergaard and Aaron Summers on top form. as well as having ex-Bandit Carl Wilkinson back to his Shielfield best.
But sadly for the visitors the Australian was suffering from bike problems throughout the night and Wilko crashed out in his second ride (heat three) and he too was withdrawn from the meeting with a badly cut ankle.
That left Ostergaard to carry the fight almost single handed, and against a Berwick side who were firing on all cylinders it simply wasn’t enough.
Seb Alden, who made one tremendous pass of Ostergaard, was in unbeatable form and he raced to his first paid maximum of the season.
But there were also big scored for both Lee Complin and Ricky Ashworth, who dropped just one point apiece, Alex Edberg and David Bellego, whilst Lubos Tomicek, who picked himself up from the crash with King, continued his impressive run of form since being drafted into the team.
Ostergaard won three races, including one as a double pointed tactical ride, but Summers, who also went for double points as early as heat five, found himself on the wrong end of a 5-1 and that meant Redcar were playing catch-up from the start, especially after conceding four 5-1s in the first five races which put the Bandits 24-6 up and well on the way to victory.
After Ostergaard’s mid-meeting flurry they rallied again and finished with a flourish with another four heat maximum’s in the run-in.
Overall, a very impressive performance from Berwick - certainly their most comprehensive of the season so far, but Redcar are bound to feel disappointed that they didn’t put up a better showing.
After the meeting Berwick team manager Ian Rae said: “That was simply our best performance of the season by miles.
“It was a great way to start our league programme, but of course the only disappointment was that Jay (King) wasn’t there to join in the celebrations at the end.
“He looked as if he was set to enjoy a good night, as the rest of the lads did, but sadly he crashed out and ended the night in hospital.
“Hopefully it is nothing too serious and he can rejoin the team at the earliest opportunity.”
Rae said all the lads deserved credit for the victory - Alden for his paid maximum, Ashworth and Complin for their big scores and Tomicek for picking himself up from the crash involving King, in which he twisted his knee, and finishing the meeting with a decent score.
But he said special mention had to go to both Bellego and Edberg, both of whom enjoyed their best nights of the season to date.
“Alex and David have both been easing themselves in during the early part of the season,” said the Bandits’ boss, “but tonight they both showed what they are really capable of.”
Berwick - Complin 14, Edberg 12+3, Alden 11+1 (paid max), Ashworth 11, Bellego 9+3, Tomicek 5+3, King 3+1. Redcar - Ostergaard 17, Jones 5, Sedgmen 4, Summers 2, Bekker 0, Wilkinson 0, Kus rider rep.