Sitera calls on former favourite Rymel for advice

New signings for Berwick Bandits Filip Sitera, Ricky Ashworth, Michael Hertrich and David Bellago.
New signings for Berwick Bandits Filip Sitera, Ricky Ashworth, Michael Hertrich and David Bellago.

NEW Berwick signing Filip Sitera has enlisted the services of former Bandits’ favourite Adrian Rymel in a bid to help him settle into his new role at Shielfield.

Sitera, who will double up with parent club King’s Lynn in the Elite League in 2012, is embarking on his first full season of Premier League racing.

And the first thing he did after joining the Border outfit was to contact fellow Czech Rymel to get the low-down on his new employers.

“Berwick have had a strong tradition of using Czech riders over the past few years,” said Sitera - Rymel, Josef Franc and Michael Makovsky each had ten year associations with the club.

“When I spoke to Adrian he said Berwick was a great club to race for. He also said the people were fantastic and I would enjoy it here.

“He also gave me a few tips on set-ups for the track so I will give them a try and see how it works out. Moving to Berwick and the Premier League is a new challenge,” he said, “and I am looking forward to it.

“Berwick seem to have put together a decent side and hopefully we can do well, but we will have to wait and see how things work out over the first few weeks of the season before making any predictions.”

At Saturday’s press and practice at Shielfield, on what was his first sighting of the Berwick track, he said he felt confident, and was not put off by the size of the circuit.

“We have some big tracks back home in Czech so I am used to them,” he said.

Another rider making his first Shielfield outing was Frenchman David Bellago, who impressed the watching supporters with his aggressive style of riding, although he did have one nasty moment when he was forced to bale off coming out of the fourth bend, his bike ending up crashing into the new safety barrier.

“I think riding for Berwick will be good for me,” he said, “because I much prefer the bigger, faster tracks to the smaller, tighter ones.

“A lot of people thought I might be going back to Glasgow this year after I finished last season with them, but we couldn’t agree on a deal and so I decided on a move to Berwick.

“I would like to make it clear however, it was Glasgow’s decision not to use me. I contacted them to see what was happening and I was told I was not in their plans.”

Bellago, whose contract is currently the subject of a tug-of-war involving the Bandits and Tigers, will remain the property of the BSPA until the end of 2012 when a final decision will be made.

And for the early part of the season he will also double up with Birmingham in the Elite League, having been signed last week as their temporary number seven after young Australian Tyson Nelson was ruled out pending the approval of a new work permit.

“I don’t know how many meeting I will get with Birmingham,” he said, “but it will be a good experience for me.”

A third Berwick signing, Michael Hertrich is looking forward to his first full season of competitive Premier League action after signing for the Bandits in 2012.

But the German admits that things might have turned out a lot differently had he taken up one of his other options.

“There were three clubs interested in signing me,” he said, “one of whom was Newport. They have since closed, so I am just happy I got me chance with Berwick after Brenton Barnfield was ruled out through injury.”

The 24 year-old is confident that he can be a success with the Bandits, where he will start out at reserve. And he has so much self belief that he believes after the first set of averages are introduced he will be stepping straight up into the main body of the team.

“I know I can do well,” he said, “I just can’t wait to get out there and show everyone what I am capable of.”

Hertrich was one of Germany’s top teenage prospects, but a bad injury and a spell of national service, when he served in Afghanistan, meant an enforced spell out of the sport.

He made a comeback last season in Europe, and this year he will again be riding in a number of meetings on the continent, but he says his priorities lie with the Bandits.

By all accounts he has a good team behind him. For he has the support of former US international Shawn Moran, although it is uncertain at this stage what his involvement will be on a meeting by meeting basis. He also has the backing of former Finnish World Cup star Kai Niemi, who has relayed some positive reports on Hertrich back to the club.

“I have four good engines,” said Hertrich, “and with the back-up of Shawn and Kai I know I can do well. The Berwick track is big and fast and should suit me. I’ll have a couple of weeks to get used to it before the competitive action begins, I just can’t wait.”