Bandits set to blow away the cobwebs at practice

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Berwick’s new-look side will take to the track for the first time this weekend when the club stages its annual press and practice session.

The event will be open to the fans and will give supporters the first glimpse of the septet who will represent the Bandits in 2013.

Team manager Ian Rae said: “It is an ideal opportunity for most of the riders to blow off the cobwebs.

“Some of them, like Kozza (Smith) and Ricky (Ashworth) have been racing already.

“They both competed in the BEN Fund Bonanza meeting at Shielfield a fortnight ago, but for some of the others it will be their first time back on a bike for a while and it will be a case of trying to find their feet again.”

Rae is confident that the riders will soon get into their stride.

“They are a good, solid bunch of lads,” he said, “and I am confident they will do well.

“They should all get on well together and I am sure they will soon gel as a unit, which is important for any side.”

Three of the riders, Smith, Ashworth and Alex Edberg are all returning from injury last season.

Smith broke his thigh in the Australian Championships and missed the whole of 2012, whilst Ashworth sustained a broken shoulder and missed the final months of the campaign.

Edberg also suffered shoulder injuries and missed almost half the year.

A fourth rider, Denmark’s Nikki Barrett, also hurt himself when he was involved in a freak skiing accident in Austria during the winter, but he says he has fully recovered and is eager to get back on track.

Rae said: “It’s not always easy coming back from injury, but Ricky and Kozza are experienced riders. They are both easing their way back in but I don’t think it will be too long before they get up to full speed so to speak.

“Alex has suffered a few set-backs in his career so far, but he is tough and keen to make an impression this time around. Riding at reserve should also help him because there won’t be as much pressure on him as there sometimes has in the past.

“As for Nikki I don’t think there will be any problem. He says he is fit and I am confident he will be one of our key riders this season starting out at reserve.”

At the recent BEN meeting Smith said he was happy to be back at Berwick and was looking forward to the new season.

“I just had the pin taken out of my leg recently,” he said. “I have had a couple of meetings, but I just need bike time to get myself fully race fit again.”

The press session gets underway at approximately 5.30pm with the riders due to take to the track from 6.30pm onwards.

Following the on-track action there will be a meet the riders session for fans in the Black and Gold social club.

The Bandits will take to the track for the first time in competitive action when they face Edinburgh home and away the following weekend (Friday, March 29 at Armadale and Saturday 30 at Shielfield) in the Spring Trophy challenge before facing Glasgow home and away in the League Cup.