Berwick make winning start to new speedway season

Tapes go up on the first race of the new season at Berwick.Tapes go up on the first race of the new season at Berwick.
Tapes go up on the first race of the new season at Berwick.
The tapes went up on the new speedway season at Berwick on Saturday with the Bandits opening their Championship campaign with a comfortable 58-32 win over the Birmingham Brummies at a sunny Shielfield.

The new-look Bandits were in complete control of the meeting from start to finish, with all seven of their riders winning at least one race, the home side producing 12 of the 15 heat winners.

The experienced Adam Ellis was the main opposition as he won two of his five starts with reserve Stefan Nielsen the visitors’ only other rider to take the chequered flag.

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Team manager Gary Flint said: “It was the perfect way to start the season. All the riders won at least one race and that was a real bonus.

“Yes, we know there will be tougher tests ahead, but the guys can only race what is put in front of them and on this occasion they coped admirably.”

Berwick took heat advantages from the first five races, opening up with two 5-1s and three 4-2s to put them in the driving seat at 22-8.

Ellis won his first race in heat six, but another 5-1 from Jye Etheridge and Ricky Wells in seven stretched the advantage to 30-12 and after that it was just a case of what the final winning margin would be.

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Bandits might have hit the 60 mark had Chris Harris not suffered bike problems off the line in heat 15, but that did not detract from a big home win in front of a decent opening night crowd.

The meeting was also the first in the country to be shown live on a new streaming service which is being introduced this season.

The Bandits now have a week off before their next fixtures - they are away and home to Edinburgh on the weekend of April 15 and 16.

Meanwhile, their second team, the Bullets will embark on their National League campaign this weekend. They are away to Armadale on Friday (April 8) with Oxford, who are making a welcome return to the sport in 2022, the visitors to Shielfield on Saturday.

Berwick: Etheridge 12+2, Harris 11, Flint 9+2, Pijper 7, Bickley 7, Wells 6+1, Proctor 6+1.

Birmingham: Ellis 10, Vissing 7, Nielsen 4, Morris 4, Shane’s 3+1, Pearson 2+1, Auty 2.