Berwick Bandits 45-45 Plymouth Devils

Berwick Bandits Speedway
Berwick Bandits Speedway

Honours were even when Berwick and Plymouth battled their way to a 45-45 draw at Shielfield.

It was Bandits’s first home meeting in almost a month and without their top two riders, Ben Barker and Claus Vissing, who are both out through injury, this was always going to be a difficult ask against a well-balanced Devils’ side.

And that’s exactly the way it panned out, with the visitors seemingly having the upper hand throughout.

Four times they took the lead again the home side, who used Richie Worrall as a guest and gave a debut to new Argentinian signing Fernando Garcia.

But four times Berwick pegged them back, mainly through the form of skipper Kevin Doolan, who led by example with four race wins, and in the end a draw was probably just about the right result.

Jack Holder’ in his first ever appearance at the Border track, opened up with three straight wins. The in-form Todd Kurtz had three wins in his first four races, but it was American Ryan Fisher, a one-time track expert, who led the charge for the Devon opposition.

He had to work hard to follow Kurtz home for two 1-5s in his first two rides, heat seven providing a blanket finish with Doolan chasing hard.

But by e end of the night he was also gating well, and three wins, including a victory in a last heat decider, secured his paid maximum.

Garcia, in his first meeting on British soil, got off to a slow start in his opening ride, but in his later outings he was more on the pace and he finished the evening with a creditable paid five points, which included a 5-1 with Worrall in heat six, which got the Bandits back on level terms for the first time at 18-18.

Richard Hall,who had a busy night with seven outings, was Berwick’s other race winner in heat two, but for the Bandits there was a further worry when Thomas Jorgensen spun and fell off at the back in heat three.

He later took a 5-1 with Doolan in nine, which again got Bandits back level at 27-all, but paramedics were called to examine him in the pits.

He received the all clear to continue racing, but it was obvious from his last outing that he was not fully comfortable on his bike.

A 5-1 from Doolan and Worrall in 13 got Berwick level for the fourth time at 39-39. Kurtz won his third race in 14, a drawn heat, which forced a last race decider. Worrall and Doolan got the better of Kurtz’ but there was no stopping Fisher, who led all the way to the flag to secure the draw.

After the meeting, team manager John Anderson said: “It was such a big night for us tonight in so many ways and it was topped off by Ricky Ashworth’s first return visit to Shielfield following his accident. We saw Coty Garcia make his debut and really did pretty well for his paid five points which included a pass.

“He is right at the start of his British career and will settle in very well. The potential is there to be seen and we’re sure we’ve got a good ‘un here with us now.

“As for the result, well after a real see-saw of a meeting where we never had the lead once, but drew level on no less than four occasions against a Plymouth side who really put the effort in and deserved their just reward, but the draw produced some excellent racing and it was the fairest result on the night.”

Berwick -Doolan 14+1, Worrall 12+1, Hall 11+1, Jorgensen 4+1, Garcia 3+2, Edberg 1+1, Vissing - rider replacement.

Plymouth - Fisher 13+2 (paid max), Kurtz 10, Holder 9, Simota 4+1, Newman 4, Risager 3, Benko 2+1.