Berwick ‘Mike Hope of Wooler Ltd.’ Bandits (powered by Clear Energy Consulting) closed their home league season last week with a vital double-header against their two Sottish rivals.
It was all to play for – but the Bandits excelled and took all six SGB Championship league points in two highly-charged meetings.
This elevated them to fifth place in the league table.
The first three heats, completed at breakneck speed, saw the Bandits lead 11-7 but the action came at the first running of the third when Josh Pickering got into bother on the opening bend, falling into the fence. But, with an all-four back called, Pickering made the second running and won it from the gate with ease, over Tomas H. Jonasson and Kevin Doolan, as Ricky Wells retired on the third lap.
Three races later, the score was 30-12 but it was the Bandits’ guest who excelled in heat six when he missed the gate entirely but hit his gas at speed and roared round William Lawson, off bend four of the last lap, and then took Cameron Heeps too on the last lap to bring the house down.
Doolan made a spectacular pass of Heeps off bend four of the first lap of heat nine to take second behind tactical substitute Masters in a Monarchs’ 2-4, the same score as heat 10, with Wells finding his form to win well over Gappmaier.
Chaos reigned at the start of heat 11, when both Masters and Sarjeant were excluded for missing the two-minute allowance, with Masters going off the 15-metre mark and Connor Coles taking a reserve ride in the Garcia/Etheridge 5-1, moving the scores on to 44-22, and a Berwick win in the bag with four races to go.
Etheridge took the passes of the night in heat 13, riding the wide line round Masters and Heeps to take up a huge win in the 4-2. And, with Wells gating well in the 14th over Garcia and Doolan, that 3-3 share took the score to 56-28 with one race remaining for their biggest win of the 2019 campaign.
The second meeting of the night started with another shared 3-3 (as match one had) as Craig Cook stormed from the gate to defeat both Barker and Gappmaier, before Garcia took the second, as Flint became boxed in on the inside line and ended up at the back but managed to scrape a third over Connor Bailey, taking the score to 7-5.
However, Sam Jensen fell on the third bend of heat three, with Tomas H. Jonasson lying down rapidly, but hurt himself in the process. He did make the re-run, in which Jonasson fell on the first bend again, to be excluded, with Claus Vissing taking the win third time out over Doolan in a 2-3 taking the score to 9-8.
Glasgow took the lead in heat four with a 2-4 led by Rasmus Jensen but, following two 3-3s, Etheridge jetted away to win heat seven, as Garcia squeezed his way from the back between Vissing and Sam Jensen to hit home a 5-1, putting Berwick into a 22-19 lead, which went up to 27-20 after Gappmaier and Garcia took the five over Mikkel B. Andersen.
Cook came in as a tactical substitute in heat nine and Rasmus Jensen sneaked a second place over Jonasson, narrowing Berwick’s lead to 28-25, while a Vissing three points in heat 12 over Jonasson hit home another Tiger’s 2-4. With three races to go the score was 37-34 and all to play for.
A stunning pair of gates from Doolan and Garcia sent the pair jetting ahead of Sam Jensen to take a solid 5-1 and secure the win with the score with one to go at 45-38, to round off a brilliant night’s work. However, with Glasgow still close enough to nick one league point, heat 15 proved to be a real pressure cooker.
Etheridge was away on lap one with Cook in hot pursuit, but coming down the home straight at high speed, the Tigers’ number one took a dive deep under Etheridge entering the first bend and, unfortunately, Etheridge’s left leg and front wheel were whipped from under him, sending him banging into the foam fence.
The race was stopped, with the referee excluding Cook for “unfair riding”.
Etheridge was unable to continue and Barker took his place in the three-man re-run but Vissing stormed the win for three points.
Three wasn’t enough for Glasgow to take that one point, however, as they too left pointless.
1 Ben Barker (guest) 2,2*,0,1 = 5+1
2 Dany Gappmaier 1*,3,3,2,1 = 10+1
3 Tomas H. Jonasson 2,2*,0,2* = 6+2
4 Kevin Doolan (c) 1*,3,2,2 = 8+1
5 Jye Etheridge 3,2*,3,3,3 = 14+1
6 Coty Garcia (r) 2*,3,2*,1* = 8+3
7 Leon Flint (r) 3,1,2*,3 = 9+1
Edinburgh ‘Staggs Bar’ Monarchs
1 Sam Masters 3,1,3,1,2,2 = 12
2 James Sarjeant R,R,1,N2 = 1
3 Josh Pickering 3,0,1,1,X = 5
4 Ricky Wells (c) R,1,3,3 = 7
5 Cameron Heeps 2,1,1,R = 4
6 William Lawson (r) 1,0,0,Ts,0 = 1
7 Connor Coles (r) 0,0,N,0,0 =0
1 Ben Barker (guest) 2,1*,0,2,1* = 6+2
2 Dany Gappmaier 1*,2,3,3,2 = 11+1
3 Tomas H. Jonasson Fx,2,1,2 = 5
4 Kevin Doolan (c) 2,1*,0,3 = 6+1
5 Jye Etheridge 2,3,3,1*,FN = 9+1
6 Coty Garcia (r) 3,2*,2*,1,2* = 10+3
7 Leon Flint (r) 1,0,N,0 = 1
Glasgow ‘Allied Vehicles’ Tigers 41
1 Craig Cook (c) 3,3,3,2,3,X = 14
2 Mikkel B. Andersen 0,0,1,N = 1
3 Claus Vissing 3,1,2,3,3 = 12
4 Sam Jensen Fx,0,1*,1 = 2+1
5 Rasmus Jensen 3,3,2*,R = 8
6 Connor Bailey (r) 0,0,Ts,0,N = 0
7 Kyle Bickley (r) 2,1,0,1,0 = 4.