Tartan Army on the march to win challenge

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Berwick Bandits 43

Edinburgh Tartan Army 50

by Keith Hamblin

at Shielfield Park

THIS was a meeting in which the result, for once, was probably imaterial.

As the event was being staged to raise funds towards the club’s new ‘polyfoam’ safety fence for next season, and the riders were racing for expences only, it was all about the occasion.

And credit to the riders, they put on a show, not only on their bikes, but also out on the football pitch where an impromptu penalty kick competition was held - the winner being Berwick’s Sebastian Alden.

As for the racing itself no one expected riders to go out and attack the track full throttle, but in retrospect there was some good racing, although passing was at a premium, Jade Mudgway the only exponent in heat two when he came from the back to pass Edinburgh guest Benji Compton.

Flyin’ Ryan Fisher, back in a Monarchs race jacket as a guest, was the star of the show, winning four of his five outings for the ‘Tartan Army.’

And in many respects that told the story of the night, for the visitors constantly got the better of the home riders out of the first and second bends, and once they got their noses in front they led all the way to the chequered flag.

In all they produced 12 of the 15 race winners, with five of their six first across the line at some stage.

In fact, they had nine of the first ten past the post, with stand-in skipper Andrew Tully and surprise packet Adam McKinna providing Fisher with the best of the back-up.

Tulley went on to win three races outright and also picked up a ‘paid’ win, whilst McKinna, following on from his performance the previous week whilst guesting for the Bandits, won his first two races (holding off the chasing Lee Complin for four laps in the second) earning him a booking in Saturday’s Bordernapolis as a result.

Complin, as usual, was full of effort, and with Alden he emerged as one of only two home race winners.

He was the only man to beat Fisher in the re-run of heat 11 after Kalle Katajisto was excluded for clattering the fence coming off the second bend. And he also won heat 15 as a double-pointed tactical ride, which meant Berwick closed the final margin of defeat by a further three points.

Edinburgh took an early advantage from the first two heats. Berwick managed to level it up again after three, with new signing Linus Eklof impressing as he partnered Alden to a 5-1.

There was then a series of drawn heats (all won by Edinburgh riders) but once the visitors re-established their lead after heat seven they led all the way to the end.

The turning point probably came in heat 10 with the scores at 25-29.

Alden and fellow Swede Ludvig Lindgren conceded a 1-5 to Michal Rajkowski and Tully, and after that, with the score moving on to 26-34, there was effectively no way back for the Bandits.

Complin’s win over Fisher in 11 gave some hope, but ‘The Fish’ repaid the compliment in 13 and with the eight-point deficit remaining at 35-43 Edinburgh were effectively home and dry.

And it was McKinna who had a part to play in securing the victory for the Tartan Army, following Rajkowski home in 14 ahead of Eklof toput the visitors in an unassailable position.

After the meeting Berwick team manager Ian Rae said: “This was not about the result. It was a meeting all about raising funds for our new safety barrier and in that respect it was a success.

“I would like to thank all the riders for racing for expenses only, and of course the fans for turning out to watch.”

Berwick - Compton 17, Eklof 8+2, Lindgren 7+1, Alden 6+1, Mudgway 4+2, Blacklock 1, Franc rider/rep. Edinburgh - Tully 14+1, Fisher 14, McKinna 9+1, Rajkowski 8, Katajisto 4, Compton 1, Grieves rider/rep.