Bandits must start riding to their true potential

AFTER two away league defeats in the space of 24 hours last week, Berwick promotor John Anderson has called on his charges to start riding to their true ability.

The Bandits, after back to back defeats against Newcastle in the Tyne Tweed Trophy, had been hoping to bounce back when they opened their league campaign at Ipswich on Thursday and Scunthorpe on Friday.

But they went down 53-42 at Foxhill Heath, and as this was against a side highly regarded as one of the title favourites for 2011, there was room for some optimism.

But the following night Berwick slumped to a disappointing 56-39 reverse in Lincolnshire, and as this was a meeting many fans had hoped would result in a much closer encounter it prompted Anderson to say:

“We still have a lot of work to do to show our real potential as the way some rode tonight it seems they’re trying to hide their true ability.

“My advice to them is start shining. Start doing on track what we know they are capable of so we can start to get some league points on the board.”

But with another difficult away match at Sheffield on Thursday (tonight), it may be that Bandits’ fans will have to wait until Saturday’s home clash against Redcar before they have anything to cheer.

Jade Mudgway, who by his own admission has had a mixed start to the season, says he and the team have to up their game.

“We certainly haven’t made the start we had hoped for,” said the New Zealander, “but we have two meetings this week to try and turn things around.

“We have some good riders here, there is a great team spirit amongst the boys and I am confident we can overcome it.”

Ipswich Witches53

Berwick Bandits 42

BERWICK opened their competitive season with an 11-point defeat at Ipswich on Thursday/

The Witches are tipped by many as pre-season title favourites, and they showed their intentions with a professional performance which saw them claim 11 of the 15 race winners.

For the Bandits, Charlie Gjedde was the pick of the bunch, winning three of his five races, including one as a double-pointed tactical ride after the visitors fell ten points behind.

Kozza Smith was the only other Berwick race winner,also scoring double points in a tactical ride.

Berwick got off to a poor start conceding 5-1s in the first two races, and at 10-2 down they were on the back foot from a very early stage.

A 5-1 from Gjedde and Hynek Stichauer in heat five got them back in contention at 18-12, but Ipswich hit straight back with their top two of Kevin Doolan and Taylor Poole claiming a 5-1 of their own in six.

Smith won heat seven on double points, and with Franc following him home after Chris Schramm was excluded for bringing down Smith in the original running, and then Jerran Hart suffered an engine failure, the Bandits picked up an 8-0 which put them only two points in arrears at 23-21.

However, Ipswich took a 5-1 in the next to re-establish their superiority, and with Gjedde the only Berwick rider to take the chequered flag in the remaining heats in 13 (as a tactical ride) and 15, the Witches became the first team in the country to put any league points on the board.

The meeting was the first official league fixture in the country this season, and as such it was the first using the new silencers.

Prior to the meeting, Berwick team manager Ian Rae said:

“We will be under special scrutiny, as everyone will be racing with new silencers, brought in at the edict of the FIM, the international body for all motorcycle sport.

“There has been all sorts of controversy about the introduction of these mufflers, although I think we are all aware that, if racing is made quieter, doors could open for speedway tracks in areas where it might not previously have been considered viable.

“The Polish authorities are still trying to get the rule overturned and have their riders use the old silencers, but despite theirs being an exceedingly strong speedway nation, no other country seems likely to be joining Poland in their protest.”

After the meeting Rae added: “I think we were expected to come here and get a real hammering, but we have always known we have a better side than that and the riders all deserve credit as we simply rode better and better as the night went on.”

Ipswich - Doolan 10+3, Poole 10+1, Mills 8+2, Bjerre 7, Risager 7, Schramm 6, Hart 5; Berwick - Gjedde 12, Smith 12, Franc 6+3, Stichauer 6+1, Complin 5, Sike 1, Mudgway 0.

Scunthorpe Scorpions56

Berwick Bandits 39by

BERWICK went down to their second away defeat in the space of 24 hours when they well beaten by Scun thorpe on Friday.

The Bandits travelled to Lincolnshire with some fans predicting a close encounter, and the possibility of the team taking at least a losing bonus point.

But just like their three previous meetings this season, the Borderers found themselves on the receiving end of opposition who provided the lion’s share of the race winners (10-5) and this meant that Ian Rae’s side again had to utilise the double-pointed tactical option.

Kozza Smith managed to win his outing in black and white, claiming six points from heat seven, but the only other available race was heat 14 (Josef Franc) when he and Jade Mudgway went to the tapes having scored only one point between them from from their six earlier appearances.

Scunthorpe made the better start and with Charlie Gjedde falling in his first race the Bandits found themselves 9-2 down after the first two races.

Smith won in three and Gjedde in five, but Scorpions took a 5-1 from four and a 4-2 from six which put them ten in front at 23-13.

Smith’s double points in seven cut the deficit to 26-19 and with Hynek Stichaur taking the chequered flag in eight Berwick were still in contention at 29-22.

But Scunthorpe, with reserve Viktor Bergstrom winning his second race of the night in 10, despite being under immense pressure from Smith, picked up two successive 4-2s and at 37-26 Berwick were starting to lose touch.

Gjedde won again in 11, Stichaur claiming third for a 2-4, but with the Dane losing out to Ben Wilson in 13, Scorpions claimed another two 4-2s to go 13 ahead at 47-34.

Franc, on double points, finished second behind Carl Wilkinson in 14, and a 5-1 from david Howe and Wilson in 15 only compounded Berwick’s woes.

Scunthorpe - Bergstrom 13+2, Wilson 11+2, Howe 11, Wilkinson 11, Worrall 6+2, Jorgensen 4, Arnio r/rep; Berwick - Smith 14, Gjedde 8, Stichauer 6, Complin 5, Franc 5, Sike 1, Mudgway 0.