Bandits suffer second blow as Hepburn stands down

George Hepburn is standing down as the track curator at Shielfield.
George Hepburn is standing down as the track curator at Shielfield.

Just days after a question mark was placed over their future, Berwick Speedway were dealt another blow when director George Hepburn announced that he was standing down from his role as track curator at Shielfield.

Hepburn said that considerable pressures outside work meant he did not have the time to continue in his track preparation work.

He has now handed over the reins to former curator and ex-Bandits’ team manager Ian Rae, who has agreed to step into the breach until the end of the season.

‘Heppie’ said the straw which broke the camel’s back was the recent home meeting against Rye House, when he spent 12 hours preparing the surface, only for it to rain heavily and undo all the good work.

Rae, who was forced out of the sport due to ill health has had a long-standing association with the Bandits, stretching back to their days at Berrington Lough.

A statement from the club said he was ‘the best man to step into the role’ and he will resume his duties with immediate effect, starting with the club’s next home meeting against Sheffield on August 15.

Meanwhile, following the announcement that Berwick were looking for further investment, or face the possibility of closure at the end of the season, promoter John Anderson has explained his reasons for seeking new blood.

Anderson said: “New people, new blood and new money have to be found, fast, to come on board and allow the club to continue beyond the October AGM. Alternatively, a new owner or consortium has to come forward to take over the reins of the Bandits as a going concern, allowing the current ownership to step aside completely from the end of this season, as the only other option will be to finish the year, wrap things up neatly and close the doors.

“At management level the club runs very well, very smoothly. We enjoy a massive wealth of adminstrational experience and an exceptional range of worldwide contacts throughout speedway through the services of Lawrence Heppell, Dick Barrie, Dennis McCleary and so many other tireless volunteers. These people have proven their ability to serve the directors and allowed Berwick’s reputation within speedway to rise to a level where we can be looked upon as the BSPA’s, Sky Sports and even the FIM’s go-to club when a safe pair of hands are required to present the biggest of events.

“As a going concern therefore, this is not a bad club to become more involved in, but the time required and finances involved should not be underestimated. However, the directors have offered potential investors or buyers more than two months to declare their interest and allow due diligence to be carried out (on both sides of the table) before any deadline day.”