Cup crash horror for Berwick speedway

Reserve Kieran Douglas is awaiting the results of scans following an horrific second heat accident which overshadowed the Bullets’ 63-27 Knockout Cup semi-final defeat to Leicester Lion Cubs.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 5:00 pm
It proved to be a tough afternoon for Ben Rathbone and Kieran Douglas. Picture by Nia Martin.
It proved to be a tough afternoon for Ben Rathbone and Kieran Douglas. Picture by Nia Martin.

Initial fears that Douglas had suffered back and neck injuries in the crash abated but he was taken to hospital with breathing difficulties sparking fears that he may have suffered rib damage.

Leicester’s 15-year-old reserve Max Perry was well clear of Ben Rathbone in a strung out reserves’ race when the Berwick man slid off on the last bend. He was back on his feet only to be struck by Vinnie Foord, the Leicester rider’s bike then collecting Douglas who had little time to react.

He was awarded second place by referee Dave Watters but took no further part in the meeting while Rathbone completed seven rides despite being suffering ankle and leg injuries in the collision.

Berwick co-owner Jamie Courtney: “It was an awful accident and Ben was effectively flatlined by the Leicester lad’s bike. For him to complete seven rides was an incredibly brave effort.

“I said to Ben that at any point he could tell us that he couldn’t go on and we would put three riders out in the later races. In the end, it didn’t happen and that is one of the bravest three-point hauls I have ever seen.”

Dan Thompson set the tone for the home side, winning heat one in a new National Development League track record of 60.7 seconds and went on to complete a six-ride maximum.

Twin brother Joe was also unbeaten by a Bullet as Leicester used the rider-replacement facility for Connor Coles – on Championship duty with Scunthorpe – to full effect.

Visiting skipper Kyle Bickley, who managed three second places, briefly led Dan Thompson but was soon overhauled, the visitors suffering a further setback when Greg Blair’s chain broke on the start line of heat six.

Leicester were well served by 15-year-old reserve Max Perry and Tom Spencer but Luke Crang finally gave the Bullets something to cheer when he made a forceful first turn in heat nine to keep the pair at bay for what turned out to be Berwick’s only heat win of the afternoon, Blair coming to grief trying to get around Spencer in the penultimate heat.