Bandits ready for start of new season

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The tapes go up on a new speedway season on Thursday when Berwick race at Redcar in the first leg of the Tweed-Tees Trophy.

The return leg will be held at Shielfield on Saturday, with the winners being determined on aggregate.

Berwick Bandits team line up 2014/15 season

Berwick Bandits team line up 2014/15 season

The Bandits, who held their annual press and practice session at the Border track at the weekend, will go into the season with a certain degree of optimism.

But as always, there is a cautionary note, with director George Hepburn emphasising that a lot willl depend on injuries (or the lack of them) during the course of the season.

“I’m not going to make any rash predictions,” said Hepburn, “but we have a very solid looking side and I believe that if we steer clear of injuries we can finish in the top six and qualify for the play-offs.

“As everyone knows, last year the injuries sustained by Ricky Ashworth cast a huge shadow over the club.

“It affected everyone, but this is a new season and we have to try and move forward.

“I am sure I speak for everyone at Berwick when I saw we hope Ricky makes a full and speedy recovery.”

Former Berwick skipper Kozza Smith had been earmarked for a place with the Bears in 2014, but problems over his visa application means the Australian is having to sit out the season.

Redcar have been forced to re-shuffle their side with Richard hall being drafted in to help spearhead an attack which also includes new signing Richard Lawson and Aussie Aaron Summers.

Hepburn said: “Despite losing Kozza, Redcar are still a good side. If we can keep them close, to within four or five points down there in the first leg, I think we can beat them in the return and win the trophy overall.”

Berwick’s new captain for the season is the experienced Matty Wethers.

The former Edinburgh skipper, who is returning to The Borderers for a second successive year, says the team has a solid look, but believes there is room for improvement within everyone in the side.

“We will just have to wait and see how it goes,” he said, “but I am looking forward to the challenge of being captain and I will help all the other riders in any way I can.”