Boss sings duo’s praises

Published on 22nd May 2023
Author George Dodds
Off and running. Heat one sees Connor Bailey, Connor Coles, Ace Pijper and Mason Watson heading for the first bend

Team manager Kevin Little had nothing but praise for his charges despite defeat for the GHT Bullets, powered by STS, at Workington, their sixth of the season.

He praised the attitude of all his riders but singled out Jamie Halder and Connor Coles for their efforts over the weekend.

“I think the original plan was for both of them to stay local after Saturday night and then travel over to Cumbria on Sunday,” he said.

“But after both blew engines at Shielfield they had to ditch that and get into their workshops.

“Both burned the midnight to make sure that they arrived at Northside with two competitive bikes. That shows a commitment to the club which is good for the team ethic too.

“I’m glad that their hard work was rewarded on-track with a good points return but it is the sort of attitude that we want to see from riders at Berwick.”

Workshop graft rewarded for Jamie Halder, pictured leading Elliot Kelly

The Bullets found themselves involved in the first use of a new rule introduced to the rulebook throughout British speedway this season.

In previous years number eights could only be used to take rider replacement rides but this year that has been extended to allow them to take be used as an “additional rider” and take replacement rides throughout the meeting.

The rule still only allows for an undeclared three-point rider to act as number eight but Workington were able to use Luke Harrison as, although in the Comet’s originally declared seven he was replaced by Kelsey Dugard after being injured in a training session.

In contrast Berwick could not name Kieran Douglas at eight as he has a historical average over three despite not being in any declared seven. Teenager Owen Booth wore the bib on Sunday.

Little also had words of praise for Mason Watson after the reserve suffered eight consecutive scoreless rides over the weekend before breaking his duck in heat two and going on to score five points.

“He had a tough weekend,” Little admitted, “but he never once hid away in the pits. He’s had 14 rides over the weekend and taken a few tumbles but it was good to see him finish strongly and look happy at the end.

“Danny Phillips has been the standout rider in the two meetings and I thought that he might have done enough to give us a chance of at least setting up a last heat decider.

“That ended in heat 13 when Greg was excluded despite being left with no option but to get off the bike in a hurry after Connor Bailey went in hard. That was a poor decision but the referee then declared the race with Bailey as the winner despite the fact that he didn’t pass Connor Coles until half a lap after Greg fell.

“I’ve spent a bit of time on the telephone with Mr Breckon over the weekend one way or another.

“But when it all comes down to it despite the results there are a lot of positives to come out from the weekend.

“We have a fortnight before we are back on track, when Oxford Chargers visit Shielfield. By then we will have had a look at how best to cover for Archie Freeman’s continued absence as rider-replacement hasn’t really worked too well for us.”

Pictures: Dave Payne


George Dodds
George Dodds

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