‘Meaningful’ fixture list for Bandits in 2020

Jye Etheridge.Jye Etheridge.
Jye Etheridge. | User (UGC)
Berwick will go to the tapes for the new speedway season in 2020 in a potential 12-club Championship league.

The Bandits will be joined by ten other definite starters in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Redcar, Scunthorpe, Birmingham, Leicester, Somerset, Eastbourne and newcomers Poole (previously in the Premiership) and Kent (formerly of the National League).

North East rivals Newcastle are the 12th team and they have been given an extension to enable them to put a package together to continue racing on Tyneside.

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The Diamonds are keen to race on but say they are not currently in a strong enough position to declare their intention to run in 2020.

Team averages have been set at 41 points, a reduction on the 2019 limit of 42.5, and all teams must work to putting a side together under those constraints.

So far, Berwick have made three confirmed signings for 2020.

Aaron Summers, who is based near Wooler, will return as the club's number one rider, and he will be joined by three-times ‘Rider of the Year’, fellow Australian Jye Etheridge, back for a fourth successive season, and teenager Leon Flint, who will again race for his home town club.

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Flint is due to fly out to Australia shortly for seven weeks of training and racing as he prepares for his second season with the Bandits.

In an attempt to give clubs more ‘meaningful fixtures,’ it was agreed at British Speedway’s annual general meeting in Coventry last week that for the Championship league, the division will be split into north and south sections, each of six teams, with clubs racing twice at home and twice away against the other sides in their section and once at home and once away against the clubs in the other section.

For Berwick that means twice home and away against Glasgow, Edinburgh, Redcar, Scunthorpe and potentially Newcastle, and once home and away against Birmingham, Leicester, Eastbourne, Somerset, Poole and Kent.

At the end of the season the top six clubs will qualify for the play-offs, as opposed to the top four in previous years.

The groups for the Championship Shield will be determined once a final decision has been made on Newcastle’s future, as will the draw for the KO Cup.