Bandits take to track as the new speedway season approaches

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Berwick fans will get the first opportunity to see their new-look team when they take to the track at the club’s official press and practice evening on Saturday (March 21).

Whilst most eyes will be on Ben Barker, the club’s new number one, a lot of interest will also focus on the Bandits’ other new signings - Thomas Jorgensen, Matic Voldrih and Luke Crang.

Barker, an England (Great Britain) international, is a known track expert, and after a number of run-outs already this year, including the BEN Fund meeting at Swindon, and the Billy Sanders Memorial at Ipswich, he is already expected to be in the groove. He withdrew from the GB Select squad which raced at Peterborough on Sunday.

But all the other newcomers have also been getting in some track time. Voldrih met up with fellow Bandit Claus Vissing for a session in Slovenia, Jorgensen had a run-out at the BEN Bonanza and Crang has been blowing off the cobwebs by getting in a few practice sessions in the UK.

Voldrih, who is making his debut in Premier League racing, has already sent over a crate-load of equipment and looks like he will be well prepared for the new season.

A statement issued by the club last week said Voldrih had sent over his bikes ‘and plenty of spares.’ The Slovenian will be based in Tweedmouth - close to Shielfield Park - throughout the summer and is looking to set up his own workshop.

Jorgensen, meanwhile, is recovering from a heavy fall in the BEN meeting when he hurt his coccyx, but says he should be fully recovered in time for P&P.

The Dane suffered mild concussion in the accident and said his new helmet was a write-off ‘but it did its job,’ he added.

Crang, who will start out at reserve, suffered a set-back last week when he blew one of his engines on the stand. The motor has been sent for repair, but he has two others already prepared for the new season and says he is fit and ready to go.

The remaining members of the team - Vissing, Kevin Doolan and Alex Edberg - have all raced for the team previously.

Vissing and Edberg have both been practicing in Europe, whilst Doolan has been keeping himself fit in the gym, has good equipment for the start of the season, and is looking forward to the new campaign. Along with Vissing and Jorgensen, the Australian is scheduled to ride in Theo Pijper’s Testimonial meeting at Edinburgh’s Armadale Stadium tomorrow (Friday, March 20).

Riders will report to Shielfield on Saturday for a 6pm press call and will get in some track time after that.

As usual, gates will be open for the public to attend, the track shop will also be open and season tickets will beavailable for purchase.

*Berwick Speedway have been recognised for their fans’ generous donations which have put them top of the pile when it comes to the BEN Fund.

It was recently announced that the Bandits and their supporters, in five of the past six years, had collected the most of all the tracks in the country at their annual collection.

And on the one year they didn’t, 2013, they were second behind Ipswich.

In recognition of the achievement, a special presentation was made to new Berwick riders Ben Barker and Thomas Jorgensen when they competed in the recent BEN Bonanza meeting at Swindon. Barker was also recognised as being the only rider to have raced in every BEN meeting since its inception.

*A Race Night organised by the Berwick 2012 Supporters’ Group, which was scheduled to take place in the Black and Gold Club on Friday (March 20) has been cancelled due to lack of interest.