New Bandit faces 1000-miles round trip for home meetings

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New Berwick signing Ben Barker is facing an 1,000-mile round trip every week for home meetings at Shielfield Park this summer.

But the England international in unfazed at the prospect and says he is looking forward to the challenge of a new season.

“I’m really looking forward to getting up there,” he said.

“It’s all so positive. My friends have got me very well-organised, there’s a place to stay and work on the bikes when I’m in the north, and when I get my motors back from service and my new kevlars delivered, I’m good to go!”

The 26-year-old Cornishman will be based near the former Trelawny track, which is exactly 500 miles from Berwick, and faces a marathon trek every weekend.

But he also has a number of foreign commitments, including Germany and Poland, and with Elite League guest bookings also a distinct possibility he is in for a busy 2015.

His plan is to travel up on a Friday so he is fresh for the Saturday meetings at Shielfield.

“There might be a clash of dates somewhere along the line, but as a Bandit my Berwick fixtures come first,” he stressed, “then I’ll look at other meetings.”

Barker is one of the most high profile riders Berwick have signed at Premier League level and he will start the season as their out and out number one.

Over the years he has been one of the most consistent, and most exciting, riders at Shielfield and the Bandits’ management are hoping that he will continue to provide that level of entertainment and draw in the crowds.

He will be at Shielfield for the club’s press and practice session on Saturday, March 21, but by then he will already have had several run-outs.

He was in action for the first time at the BEN Fund Bonanza at Swindon on Sunday - he is the only rider to have raced in every BEN Fund meeting.

Barker scored eight points as England (26) finished runners-up behind four-team tournament winners Australia (35). Denmark had 25 points and Poland 10.

This Sunday (March 15) he is at Peterborough with the Great Britain Select Squad, on Thursday 19 he will be competing in the Billy Sanders memorial at Ipswich and the following Sunday (March 22) he will line up in Ricky Ashworth’s Benefit meeting at Sheffield.

All this ahead of Berwick’s opening meetings of the season, home and away against Newcastle in the Tyne-Tweed Trophy on the weekend of March 28 and 29.

Meanwhile, another new Bandit, Thomas Jorgensen is also preparing for his first season in the black and gold.

The Dane, who last year rode for Scunthorpe, is based in the Midlands, and during the winter he has kept himself fit by riding his mountain bike at Cannock Chase and by going to the gym.

Jorgensen also rode in the Ben Fund meeting at the weekend when he scored six points for Denmark.

But he was forced to withdraw from the meeting, missing his final ride in the team event, following a crash which left him feeling slightly concussed and sore.

He later Tweeted: “Not the best start of new season. I feel pretty battered but no serious injuries. A little concussion and very sore coccyx.

“New helmet wrecked but at least it did it’s job.”