BERWICK’S Sebastian Alden produced a moment of sheer brilliance to win the Bordernapolis and steal the £1000 first prize from under the nose of King’s Lynn’s Oliver Allen at Shielfield on Saturday.
The Swede literally brought the house down with a superb last bend swoop to pass the Elite League rider, bringing the entire crowd to its feet in the process.
But afterwards the Bandits’ number one admitted he had rode his luck slightly . . . and team-mate Ludvig Lindgren had to agree.
That’s because Lindgren produced his best Shielfield form yet, winning four of his five races to top the leaderboard on 13 points.
Alden needed to win his last race to force a run-off, Allen requiring a second place. But as they both trailed pre-meeting favourite ‘Flyin’ Ryan Fisher, it looked as if Lindgren was going to claim the title . . . and the money.
However, Fisher fell for a second time on the night, enabling Alden and Allen to get the points required in the re-run to force a three-way run-off.
“It was a very disappointing situation for me,” admitted Lindgren afterwards.
“I thought Fisher was going to win that last race and I would have won the meeting. But he fell and then Seb came good in the run-off.”
Alden added: “Yes, I thought it was all over at that stage as well, but when he fell in front of me I knew I had another chance.
“In the final Olly had a good lead on me, and to be honest I don’t know what I was thinking as things were happening too fast.
“I just decided to go for it on the last lap. I opened the throttle going into the third bend and dived up the inside.”
Alden said the victory more than made up for his disappointment in the Premier League Riders’ Championship at Sheffield a week earlier.
“I was riding well in that meeting and thought I might have made the final. But in the semi-final run-off I blew my engine at the start and didn’t get off the line.
“That was a big blow to me, but this makes up for it and I am very pleased to have won.
“Since I came to Berwick I have been happy with my racing and I can’t say anything negative about the club.
“The Premier League has more than lived up to my expectations so far and I am looking forward to doing it again next year, although I must admit I am starting to get a little tired now and I am looking forward to the winter break.”
On Sunday Berwick travelled to take on Newcastle at a wet Tyneside where they just missed out on a losing bonus point, going down 48-41 at Byker.
The Bandits will now hope to bounce back to winning ways when they take on Newport at Shielfield on Saturday, a meeting which could see the return to Shielfield of Charlie Gjedde, who left the club in controversial circumstances earlier in the season.
Following the Premier League encounter against the Wasps, Berwick will stage a shortened version of the Northern Junior League Riders’ Championship.
Organiser Dick Barrie said: “Having thought we were going to have to scrap the idea of a Riders Championship this season -- the tracks who who would have previously been happy to stage a full meeting just don’t have any dates available after a wet summer and the expanded PL schedule -- I am pleased to confirm we have been able to put together a shortened event, to be staged at Berwick on Saturday.
“This will take the form of eight riders (two from each of our member clubs) contesting six heats and a final.”
The riders nominated are: Gary Flint and James McBain (Edinburgh), Liam Carr and Rikki Anderson (Berwick) and James Cartmell and Peter Johnson (Redcar). At the time of writing two nominations are still sought from Halifax.
Meanwhile, Kozza Smith made what will be his last visit to Berwick this season at the weekend when he refused to rule out a possible return in the future.
Smith has enjoyed a hugely successful year on loan with the Bandits, but has spent the last month on the sidelines after breaking his shoulder whilst racing for parent club King’s Lynn in the Elite League.
He was at Shielfield on Saturday for the Bordernapolis when supporters showed their appreciation for what he has done for the club this year by raising £726 in a stadium collection.
“That’s great,” he said, “and it just goes to show how the people here have taken to me.
“I have had a very enjoyable year here, and had it not been for my shoulder injury I think I would have gone on and fulfilled all my targets that I set myself when I first arrived.
“Obviously this is not the way I wanted to end my season, but that’s speedway for you.”
Smith now plans to return home to Australia shortly, after making a brief stop-over in Germany.
“Hopefully, with a bit of sun on my back, my injury will heal quickly and then I can start thinking about next year.”
So what are his plans for the future?
“To be honest I don’t really know,” he said. “I love it here and I would come back in a heartbeat, but it has to be the best thing for my career.
“As a rider I feel I am still making progress. I would like to ride Elite League, but whether or not that’s full-time I don’t know at this stage.
“If I thought I needed another year at Premier League level I would definitely consider Berwick again, because I have had a great time here.
“The club has treated me well and the people have been fantastic. But at the end of the day any decision I make will have to be with a speedway head on.”