Berwick Bandits to line-up with familiar faces in the new season

Fernando Coty Garcia is returning
Fernando Coty Garcia is returning

Berwick’s speedway Bandits hosted a packed Fan Forum at Shielfield Park on Sunday evening, with club boss Jamie Courtney explaining a few ‘facts of speedway life’ to the fans while unveiling his full line-up for the 2019 season, which starts around Easter.

There’s a familiar look about this SGB Championship League line-up for the 2019 Bandits, with five of last-year’s fifth-placed squad being joined by a returning club asset and a gilt-edged teenage prospect.

Despite being forced to chop four and a half points from their side’s cumulative averages in order to comply with the new season’s required figure of 38 points, club boss Jamie Courtney and team manager Gary Flint will have five of last season’s stalwarts in their three Australians, namely skipper Kevin Doolan, Aaron ‘Spud’ Summers and Jye Etheridge, Austria’s number one Dany Gappmaier and the great Dane Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen all back in black and gold.

The newcomers, who start the season at reserve as numbers six and seven, will be familiar faces, too.

Returning to Berwick is Fernando ‘Coty’ Garcia, who first travelled from his home in Colonia Baron in Argentina as a raw recruit, but quickly became a popular Bandit back in 2015.

The seventh rider has been nipping around the Shielfield pits for so long he could be mistaken for part of the fixtures and fittings.

Still just 15 (he turns 16 on February 22, allowing him to race at Championship level for the first time) local lad Leon Flint has already been riding speedway, on a succession of ever-increasing engine sizes, since he was ten years old.

Leon has already been crowned British 250cc Champion and last year formed an association with ROW Rybnik in Poland while enjoying a sensational beginning to his British league career with Birmingham Brummies.

Courtney also explained a slight increase in ticket cost.

“In 2019, we will have slightly increased prices. Adults will pay £17. Concessions are only £13 and all children under sixteen just £1.

“However, to honour loyal supporters, we are launching our 2019 season tickets at 2018 prices until January 9.”