Bandits take win over Edinburgh - and the weather


Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) 53
Edinburgh "Staggs Bar" Monarchs 37
SGB Championship Shield group phase

Home again, after two rough defeats on the road, and a battle against the heavy rain was hardly the welcome for Berwick Speedway's co-owner Scott Courtney wanted, having arrived home from the long-run match at Lakeside at 6.20am, and then was back at Shielfield - with a band of track staff - at 7.00am to lay the track covers to protect the surface from the forecast torrential rain.

His arduous schedule paid off as for the 10th time (out of 11) a meeting was saved by the use of the covers, proving Berwick's initiative a one well worth the effort as the Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) welcomed the Edinburgh Monarchs to Shielfield Park in the final Shield match of the qualification group phase with Jye Etheridge making his return from injury at number three.

Knowing a win would raise Berwick to third in their group, Heat One got underway a little late as ironically a degree of watering was needed to get the track in tip-top condition, and it was Monarch Ricky Wells who jetted away in Heat One to win a shared race, 3-3 before Dany Gappmaier shot round Coty Garcia off bend two in Heat Two as Matthew Wethers and Garcia engaged in two superb laps when the Berwick guest nearly passed the Monarch twice with some breath-taking moves, but the 4-2 was sealed as it was in Heat Three won by Etheridge in his return heat taking the score to 11-7.

Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen suffered an engine failure in Heat Four when part of a 3-3 with Gappmaier behind Erik Riss who jetted away off bend two cutting the share to a Monarch's 2-4, the gap now two points.

Kevin Doolan rode a masterclass in Heat Six to overhaul Erik Riss then hold the fast Monarch out to the end despite a huge last bend challenge from Erik Riss in a home 4-2 to extend the lead to 20-16, but Wethers took Heat Seven from the gate backed up solidly by Busk Jakobsen over Mark Riss for the first maximum 5-1 and went eight ahead.

Erik Riss took another solid win in Heat Nine over Etheridge and Howe to gain a 3-3, but with the score 33-21 to the Bandits, things were looking good for the home side, while a good-looking 5-1 in Heat 10 turned into a 3-3 when Pickering and Mark Riss took Summers as Doolan again roared away for a fine win, taking the pre-interval score to 36-24.

Busk Jakobsen ended up in the third bend fence when Erik Riss took a hard inside run under him with the referee excluding the Monarch for "dangerous riding" which didn't go down well with the visitors, while in the three-man re-run, Wells hit the front for a 3-3 result, holding the lead for Berwick to 12 points.

The Heat 12 5-1, after Gappmaier and Etheridge went round Garcia on the opening bends to seal a home victory with three races to go, but the action didn't quieten down as come Heat 14 Howe took a fantastic hard inside dive under Mark Riss to successfully pass him at the closest of quarters joined up front by Wethers in another Berwick 5-1.

Team manager Scott Courtney, enjoying a second wave of energy after his marathon couple of days: "I'll crash out as soon as I get home tonight, but what a fantastic recovery from these guys tonight after a couple of nightmares on the road. They regrouped and did better than anyone would have dared believe.

"We have Edinburgh back in two weeks for the Knockout Cup Quarter Finals and now we know what we've got to deal with we're after doing just the same again, although need to keep it close at their place in the first leg on the night before."

Individual Riders' Score Chart

Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) 53

Aaron Summers 2,1,R,R = 3
Kevin Doolan (c) 1*,3,3,3 = 10+1
Jye Etheridge 3,E,2,2* = 7+1
David Howe 1,1*,1*,3 = 6+2
Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen R,2*,2,3,1 = 8+1
Matthew Wethers (guest) (r) 1,3,1*,2* = 7+2
Dany Gappmaier (r) 3,2,2,2*,3,0 = 12+1

Edinburgh "Staggs Bar" Monarchs 37

Ricky Wells 3,3,3,2,3 = 14
Joel Andersson 0,0,1Ts = 1
Josh Pickering 0,0,2,0 = 2
Mark Riss 2,1,1*,1 = 5+1
Erik Riss (c) 3,2,3,X,1*,2* = 11+2
Fernando Garcia (r) 2,0,R,N,1 = 3
Max Ruml (r) 0,1,N,0,0 = 1