Bandits have toublesome times at Sheffield


Sheffield Tigers: 58
Berwick "KLS" Bandits: 32
SGB Championship

Top met bottom of the SGB Championship last night with the high-flying Berwick Bandits visiting the Sheffield Tigers to consolidate the Border side's fine position, but even sitting at the wooden spoon end of the League, Sheffield, at home, can never be underestimated.

And so it proved in Heat One as Todd Kurtz and Kyle Howarth made easy work of an early home maximum, but Dany Gappmaier made the best gate in the second to soar to a fine victory as Theo Pijper battled in third with second-placed Jack Smith, the Tiger sealing two points by the flag for a Bandits' 2-4 narrowing the home lead to 7-5.

Lasse Bjerre, who had been having a forgettable season so far whipped up round Kevin Doolan down the back straight of Heat Three as Jan Graversen forced third placed David Howe to ride hard to keep his point in a shared 3-3, the same result as Heat Four, won by Sheffield's Charles Wright despite a seriously close couple of opening bends over Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen and Gappmaier.

On a really dry track there was surprisingly no water put down during grading, and in the fifth Bjerre was untouchable from the gate over Howe and Graversen as Aaron Summers took his second duck of the night before another straight-forward Heat Six with no passing went by another home 5-1 to Kurtz and Howarth over Pijper with the scores now 22-14.

Heat Seven was stopped on bend one when Howe was edged out, lost control and got stuck under the fence, with his exclusion from the re-run, only for Doolan to touch the tapes in that restart and also excluded with Gappmaier taking his place at the third ask, in which Wright led early on with Smith rounding Gappmaier on the opening bend to seal another home maximum putting Berwick 12 behind and in tactical substitute territory.

A delay followed an awarded 3-3 in Heat Eight as the fallen Shanes was treated by the medics, but come Heat Nine, the tactical substitute rule was used with Doolan coming in for Pijper in Heat Nine and rode magnificently to pass both Bjerre and Graversen but ground to a halt with a cruel engine failure that sift-wrapped another Tiger's 5-1 taking the score to 35-19.

Following some much-needed track watering, Heat 10 saw nothing much change as Kurtz and Howarth combined for a third 5-1, this time over Doolan and Howe who was suffering from a painful leg after his earlier fall, and with the score now 40-20, the Bandits needed 1-5s in all of the last heats to pull off a draw, however Heat 11 was won by Wright over Gappmaier and Summers gave Sheffield the win with four races left to run.

Team manager Scott Courtney said: "We seemed generally to be putting in some good laps, but at the end of the might despite the guy's effort it has ended up somewhat disappointing although as every one knows - usually to their detriment - Sheffield, round their Owlerton track can effectively do anyone at anytime, as was proven tonight. Kev's engine problems, and Nikolaj's too, didn't help with Nikolaj using Aaron's bikes later on which is never a good scenario to work with."

Individual Riders' Score Chart:

Kyle Howarth (c) 2*,2*,3,2* = 9+3 Pd Max
Todd Kurtz 3,3,3,2*,3 = 14+1 Pd Max
Jan Graversen 0,1,2*,0 = 3+1
Lasse Bjerre 3,3,3,3,3 = 15 Max
Charles Wright 3,3,3,3 = 12 Max
Jack Smith (r) 2,2*,0,2,Fx = 6+1
James Shanes (r) 0,F,F,N = 0

Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) 32

Aaron Summers 0,0,1*,0 = 1+1
Jye Etheridge - Rider replacement
Kevin Doolan (c) 2,E,R,0,3 = 5
David Howe 1*,2,Fx,1,2,1 = 7+1
Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 1,2,R,1,1 = 5
Theo Pijper (r) 1,1,1*,Ts,R = 3+1
Dany Gappmaier (r) 3.1*,1,2,2,1,1* = 11+2