Riders prepare to honour injured Bandit Ashworth

Saturday will be an emotionally-charged night when Berwick Speedway, in conjunction with Sheffield, hosts a benefit meeting for stricken rider Ricky Ashworth.

Ashworth is still in a coma in hospital, almost two months after an on-track accident at Scunthorpe, whilst racing for the Bandits.

Ricky Ashworth

Ricky Ashworth

In the intervening period a number of fund-raising events have been held, including track collections and the sale of wristbands etc., but this is the main meeting which has been organised by Berwick, and his parent club Sheffield.

“It is a meeting we wish we weren’t having to stage,” said co-promoter Dennis McCleary. “However, having decided to stage the match we will make it a corker!”

“There are ten nationalities spread over the two teams, and some very interesting names are turning up to pay their respects.”.

All the heats are being sponsored and stadium landlords, Berwick Rangers’ Supporters Club, are providing free use of the facilities.

The match will be sponsored by the Bandits’ Supporters’ Club (BSC) and a special, second-half big money event will be sponsored by Sheffield Window Centre, who were Ashworth’s long-term sponsors in his time at Sheffield.

“All riders are riding without payment” said McCleary. “We have had a terrific response from our usual providers, and have to thank everyone, not least Doodsons for giving us free insurance, and our ambulance people and Doctor for giving their services without charge.

“ On top of that, Brian Little out track spares man is sponsoring all the riders’ fuel and oil and referee Jim McGregor is returning his fee and travel money to the fund”.

“I should mention that riders from Workington, Rye House, Ipswich and Redcar who might have wanted to contribute their services – and a couple of riders from these clubs did originally ask to be included - can’t be with us, as these four clubs are also now racing on Saturday. “Also two or three Elite League lads who might have wanted to come are away at the annual Czech Golden Helmet meetings”

Admission to the event will be by donation - minimum £13 (adults), £10 (concessions), children U16 free (donations accepted).

Ashworth spent several weeks in Hull Infirmary before being transferred to a hospital closer to his home in Salford.

Last week, his father issued an update on the progress of his son.

In a message on Facebook he wrote: “Ricky is doing fine although he is in discomfort. The physios have him hoisted in a chair a few hours a week in a reclined position, which takes the weight of his lungs, cant wait for him to finally wake up!

“Missing my legend like mad! C’mon son!”

Teams for Saturday:

Berwick: 1. Kenneth Hansen (Denmark), 2. David Bellego (France), 3. Jakub Jamrog (Poland), 4. Matthew Wethers (Australia), 5. Kevin Doolan (Australia), 6. Dimitri Berge (France), 7. Paul Starke (England), 8. Liam Carr (England).

Sheffield: 1. Richie Worrall (England), 2. Andre Compton (England), 3. Andy Tully (Scotland), 4. Danny Maasen (Germany), 5. Theo Pijper (Netherlands), 6. Damien Koppe (Australia), 7. Facundo Albin (Argentina), 8. Sam Ermolenko (USA).