July 17, 2024
Speedway Hub - British Speedway News

Bandits confident! – Berwick Bandits V Workington Comets – Preview

Berwick Bandits boss Stewart Dickson has warned his revamped charges to expect the unexpected when the season launches at Shielfield Park on Saturday (7pm).

Visitors Workington Comets have recruited a hugely experienced top three in Craig Cook, Troy Batchelor and Claus Vissing but the Cumbrians have also rolled the dice on their return to Championship speedway after a six-year absence.

Teenager Sam McGurk makes the step up from National League racing while Finn Antti Vuolas, Australian Tate Zischke and German Celina Liebmann are racing in Britain for the first time.

Liebmann, the undisputed world women’s number one speedway rider, becomes the first female to compete in professional team racing in Britain, her signing prompting a flurry of press and social media attention.

Vuolas and teenager Zischke were two of the emerging stars in last year’s Polish under-24 league and Dickson admits they were on his radar when he was overhauling the Berwick side failed to reach the Championship playoffs last year and managed a paltry three home victories all campaign.

“Darcy Ward speaks very highly of Tate and Justin Sedgmen ripped me off about Antti when he was riding for me at Leicester last season,” Dickson explained.

“They were both on our radar during the winter and Workington have done very well to tempt them.”

Dickson’s Berwick revamp means that the Jewson Bandits, powered by Keenwood Karpets, hand home debuts to five riders but Drew Kemp, Lewis Kerr, Danyon Hume and Dane Bastian Borke they are all experienced at this level.

Highly-rated teenager Freddy Hodder makes his Championship debut after a match-winning 15 points for Belle Vue Colts on his previous visit to Berwick in the National Development League.

The destination of the Border Trophy will be decided at Workington’s purpose-built Northside stadium on Sunday (3pm).

The Comets will have a competitive match under their belts when they arrive in the north Northumberland for the first leg of the Border Trophy challenge, racing at Scunthorpe in the BSN Series on Good Friday.

“Normally you look at your opponents and work out who’s got a great record at Shielfield, who’s struggled and who’s a bit hit and miss,” Dickson admitted.

“But Workington have three riders new to Britain, never mind Berwick, so we won’t know until the night.

“Shielfield Park is a unique circuit, big, fast, highly banked and some riders take a few visits to work it out.

“Others get it straight away such as Bastian Borke who came with Edinburgh for the first time and put in the match-winning performance which very much put him on our radar and led to us signing him during the winter.

“To be honest I’m not overly worried about the opposition because if my riders do their job then I’m confident that we have assembled a side to do well this season both home and away.

“Speaking to our supporters at last week’s practise session they like what they see with the new-look Bandits’ side.

“There is definitely a buzz around the town at the moment and it is up to us to keep that going.

“I don’t see this as a meaningless challenge match. Anything with a cup up for grabs is worth winning.”

Bandits: Lewis Kerr, Danyon Hume, Jye Etheridge, Drew Kemp, Rory Schlein, Freddy Hodder, Bastian Borke

Comets: Craig Cook, Claus Vissing, Antti Vuolas, Tate Zischke, Troy Batchelor, Sam McGurk, Celina Liebmann

Words by Berwick Speedway George Dodds  – Image by Taz McDougall

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