July 17, 2024
Speedway Hub - British Speedway News

Rory Schlein laser-focussed on success with Berwick Bandits in 2024!

Rory Schlein will be laser-focussed on his role with Berwick Bandits in 2024.

The five-times South Australian champion is back for a second season at Shielfield Park but has resisted the temptation to double up in the Premiership.

Having reversed his 2022 retirement the 39-year-old was a surprise winter signing but ended his comeback campaign with number one on his back in addition to reaching the Premiership play-offs with Wolverhampton.

But doubling up in addition to holding down a full-time job and his commitments coaching the GB Youth Academy saw him spread thin at times.

“When I decided to return to racing the plan was to have a full-time mechanic but for one reason or another that just didn’t happen,” he said.

“At times it was a case of coming home from work, spending six hours in the workshop, getting up the next morning for work and then going to wherever I was racing.

“It spread me a bit thin at times and I spoke to Scott Nicholls a few times about how the decision to concentrate on the Championship worked for him.

“I had a couple of tentative inquiries from clubs but I’m happy with the package that (Berwick owners) Scott and Jamie (Courtney) have put together for me.

“Despite the year in retirement I always felt on the pace in 2023 but just couldn’t find consistency in the early months of the season, especially with my gating.

“Then I damaged a kneecap crashing at Oxford and reaggravated it at Berwick, which didn’t help. Neither did Berwick’s fixture list. At one point I went six weeks without a home meeting!”

This year sees Schlein and fellow Aussie Jye Etheridge the only two retained from a disappointing 2023 season which saw them once again miss out on the play-offs.

He also takes over the captaincy from Leon Flint after the Berwick-born GB star switched to Glasgow.

It’s a role he has held at Belle Vue, King’s Lynn, and Wolverhampton in the past and one he is relishing in a side which he feels will be at the right end of the table in 2024.

“I think we will be strong at home and very, very good away,” he said.

“I am excited about howe strong we are down at reserve – initially with Bastian Borke and Freddy Hodder – and that will inspire the second strings to stay on the ball.

“If you have a reserve scoring double figures then you are play-off bound, it’s as simple as that.”

Berwick’s season opens with home and away challenge matches for the Border Trophy over the Easter weekend.

Words by Berwick Speedway – Images courtesy of Taz McDougall

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