Derby fever landed at Shielfield Park when the Berwick Bandits welcomed the Newcastle Diamonds in the Championship.
League points up for grabs on a night when Tomas H. Jonasson made his home debut and the new Diamond, Ulrich Ostergaard, returned to a track where he has excelled in the past.
Three of the opening four races were straightforward 3-3 shares of the spoils, with the Diamond in heats one, two and four taking the flag.
But heat three saw Jonasson take to the track for his debut race and he stormed a superb win from the gate in fine style, backed up by his skipper, Kevin Doolan, to hit home a great Bandits’ 5-1 with the scores after four 14-10.
Steve Worrall blasted round Jonasson on the second bend of the first lap in heat five to share the race again, with Doolan taking third over Ulrich Ostergaard.
A fine home maximum in the sixth came from Gappmaier and Etheridge over Jorgensen, as Newcastle brought in Worrall as a tactical substitute for Wethers in heat seven.
But it was Etheridge who made the early lead, only for Lasse Bjerre to open the throttle and fly past the Bandit down the back straight in a Diamonds’ 2-4, taking the score to 24-18.
Gappmaier and Flint hit another 5-1 over Ostergaard in the eighth and, with Doolan holding off a determined looking Jorgensen in the ninth, the 4-2 moved the scores on to 33-21.
Heat 10 was stopped as Bjerre went down on the third bend at exactly the same time as Jonasson, some 30 metres ahead of him, with both riders excluded from the re-run.
Gappmaier led this from a determined Wethers until the last bend, when Wethers went too wide and hit the track and fence awkwardly.
The race was awarded a 3-0 to Berwick as Wethers needed ambulance attention on the track, with Berwick now leading 36-21.
Wethers was duly withdrawn with a groin injury.
Following a heat 11 share won by Etheridge over Worrall, and despite a Newcastle 2-4 in heat 13, won by Worrall over Etheridge with Jorgensen on Ostergaard’s machine, taking third, but with the score 45-30, the match was already won by Berwick with two to go.
Bandits team boss, Gary Flint was once again delighted, saying: “That was decisive for us and, over our local rivals, there’s nothing better. Tomas H. Jonasson had an eventful night, taking two expert wins in his nine points and took a hefty fall in his fourth race, but recovered well and tells us he loves everything about being a Bandit.”
This Saturday, in the SGB Championship, at 6.30pm, there’s a double header for Berwick ‘Mike Hope of Wooler Ltd.’ Bandits (powered by Clear Energy Consulting) against Edinburgh Monarchs, followed by Glasgow Tigers.
Sunday at 6.30pm sees Newcastle ‘Boiler Technical Services’ Diamonds against Edinburgh Monarchs.