April 13, 2024
Speedway Hub - British Speedway News

Berwick Speedway to launch new football-style academy

Berwick Speedway to launch new football-style academy

Berwick Speedway has confirmed this week that it would not be fielding a team in the Northern Junior League this season.

Four-rider teams – pairs of 500cc and 125cc – raced over six heats with Berwick’s Academy winning the competition three times.

Over the years the likes of Leon Flint, Sam McGurk, Luke Harrison and Ace Pijper have worked their way through the ranks and will all line up in the 2024 Cab Direct Championship while Mason Watson and Archie Freeman are among those who will be racing in the National Development League in 2024 after learning their craft in the league. But there was an increasing lack of 125cc riders available on a Saturday night.

As a result, Berwick will sit out this season and concentrate their efforts on a new football-style academy operation.

“Just running a team in a league every week seems the least productive way of actually helping young and inexperienced riders progress,” club co-owner Scott Courtney explained.

“At Berwick we aren’t in the habit of doing something just for the sake of it and have never been afraid to think creatively. Which is why we are looking at something probably closer to the football club style academy.

“What I envisage is inviting six or so riders into the Berwick Academy.

“As well as technical riding skills – including sessions on our purpose-built training track at Duns – we would involve our network of former riders to school them in the finer points of bike and mental preparation along with the sponsorship and self-promotion side of the sport.

“They will also have the opportunity to be involved around the Bandits to see what goes into preparation at the professional level and also encourage them to get as much quality track time as possible.

“At Berwick Speedway we are fortunate enough to have the likes of Rory Schlein, Kevin Little and our training track to help these young riders and the idea is to make the best use of those assets to help them progress in their chosen career.

“In an ideal world we are developing the Bandits of the future but in the wider scheme of things it is far more important that as many young riders are given the chance to maximise their talent as possible.”

Berwick will continue to offer track time to riders after Championship meetings and will also be staging junior invitation event as part of the new youth development protocols agreed by promoters at their annual general meeting.

Words by George Dodds – Feature Image by Nia Martin

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