We continue our review of the season with a look at June, this year a month than was less flaming than flipping wet.
Leicester Lions extended the Bandits’ losing streak to six matches overall and three at Shielfield as they took full advantage of Anders Rowe’s midweek retirement by using Jason Edwards as a guest, the Redcar Bear producing a match-winning performance from reserve.
Chris Harris was controversially excluded from heat 15 as former Bandit Nick Morris went for a gap which didn’t exist down the home straight but despite double figure returns from the skipper and Leon Flint Berwick were obviously struggling to cope without injured Aussies Ty Proctor and Jye Etheridge.
Rain washed out the reverse fixture while a shortage of key personnel saw the KO cup second leg against Redcar postponed. By the time that a downpour of biblical proportions 40 minutes before the start of Scunthorpe’s visit team changes had been announced.
In came former World 250CC Champion Jonas Knudsen and Oxford Challenger Nathan Stoneman with Proctor and Kyle Bickley making way for the double change.
After the Scorpions rain-off they finally debuted at Poole, the young Dane winning his first race in Berwick colours on a night when his new skipper, Chris Harris, scored a stunning six-ride paid maximum and Jye Etheridge returned from injury.
At one point both he and Leon Flint were unbeaten and the Bandits had an outside chance of pulling off a stunning victory only for Flint’s heat 13 exclusion – which even home boss Neil Middleditch admitted should have been an all-four back call by the referee – ended that.
In the National League the Bullets continued to set the pace with narrow wins over the teams who would eventually contest the play-off final.
Another solid scoring performance – skipper Bickley dropping just one point – saw Leicester beaten by eight points on a night when Ace Pijper’s phenomenal start to his fledgling career saw him promoted into the main body of the team.
Bickley was again within touching distance of a maximum on the night that Mildenhall were beaten by six points, winning his vital head-to-heads with Edwards 2-1. Ben Rathbone’s paid ten haul from number seven proved the deciding factor.
The only setback came at Belle Vue as Harry McGurk and Jack Smith accounted for 31 of the Colts’ 50 points but Berwick’s teams went into a bumper July programme in buoyant mood.
The untouchable … Chris Harris on his way to a maximum at Poole. Steve Hone
Voting for the Bandits and Bullets rider of the year remains open https://www.berwickspeedway.com/team the results will be announced at the end of season presentation night at The Radio Rooms, Main Street, Tweedmouth on Friday, from 7.30pm. Entry is via donation on the door with the club once again raising funds for Ryan Renton and his family to support his fight against cancer.
Theo flexes some rubber in the search for grip at Wimborne Road. Steve Hone
Selfie time for the Bullets after Mildenhall were beaten. Nia Martin