Speedway - BEN Bonanza meet kick-starts season

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THE tapes will go up on the new speedway season at Berwick on Saturday when the club hosts one of the most prestigious meetings in the UK.

The BEN Fund Bonanza (in aid of the Speedway Riders’ Benevolent Fund) kick-starts the new campaign and is certain to attract a bumper crowd to Shielfield.

It is the traditional curtain-raiser to the domestic speedway calendar and is now in its fifth year, previously having been staged at Sheffield, Rye House, Scunthorpe and Birmingham.

Organiser Paul Ackroyd gives very careful consideration to choosing the venue each year. “We need to move the meeting round the country, and it’s only fair that the northern supporters get a chance to see the meeting,” he said.

“Berwick have always had good track collections for the Ben Fund, in fact they have been the highest for the last three years, so obviously the people there are keen to support the Ben Fund.

“With the air fence, and the stadium the way it is now, the improvements that have been made make it an ideal venue and opportunity for us to have the meeting there.”

A competitive line-up has been assembled and all proceeds from the meeting will go to the fund, which as its name suggests, aids riders who are injured or former riders who have fallen on hard times. Over the past 12 months the fund has raised over £120,000 and provided help and support to over 60 speedway riders.

Berwick promoter John Anderson said: “The Berwick fans have always been a generous bunch. They have always supported good causes, whether it be riders in need of support or backing the club in general.

“It is a great honour for us to be hosting this event and I am sure the fans will turn out in force to support it.

“There are some very good riders taking part, and many of them have their own personal reasons for wanting to ride.”