ONE of the most popular riders to don Berwick’s colours over recent seasons, Josef Franc is on his way back for a third spell with the club, and says he is determined to make 2011 his best ever.
Franc, or ‘Pepe’ as he is known, believes next year could be his most productive, a claim he bases on the fact that he plans to focus almost exclusively on his British racing.
“In the past I have done international meetings and World Championship events,” he said, “but for whatever reason I have never realy got anywhere with them and so I have decided to concentrate on only doing one thing.
“I am going to put all my efforts into my Premier League racing with Berwick, and I hope to see the benefit in that.”
Franc first came to Berwick as part of former promoter Peter Waite’s Czech revolution in 2001, when he was part of the trio which included Michal Makovsky and Adrian Rymel.
By his own admission he tended to live in their shadow in the early part of his British career.
But spells with Newcastle and more latterly Sheffield, interspersed by a second return with the Bandits, saw him emerge as a heat leader in his own right.
And now that neither Makovsky nor Rymel will be racing for the club next season, he feels the time is right to strike out for the top.
“I know I can do it,” he said, “it’s all about concentrating on the job in hand and being consistent throughout the season.
“I know I can ride Berwick well, my record proves that, but I have also shown I can ride some of the away tracks as well and if everything goes according to plan I think there is no reason why I shouldn’t be pushing for a nine point average - that’s my target anyway.”
‘Pepe,’ who is currently based in Newcastle, but who may be returning to live in Berwick at some stage during the winter, says he thoroughly enjoyed his season with Sheffield in 2010.
“They are a good club, professionally run, and I really enjoyed riding the track as it is one of the best I have raced on.
“But as everyone knows I also love Berwick.
“My heart is there and that is why I want to do well, not only for them, but also to prove to myself that I can do it.
“One of the major factors in my return has been the support of the fans.
“Now that Michal and Adrian are not riding for the club next year a number of people have offered to help me out financially and that is something I really appreciate.
“I want to show them that their faith is not misguided and go out and do well.
“I will be doing some long track and some grass track meetings, but I have cut out all the rest. My other commitments were a problem the last time I rode for Berwick, but this time there will be no distractions.”