There’s been some top grade Geordie pedigree gracing the ranks of Berwick Speedway over the decades, not least in our development sides.
In the late 1970s Berwick were founder members of the Scottish Junior League and the original Borderers included Toon-born Barrie Dixon and Mike Caroline alongside Rob Grant from Hexham, Dutch-born Berwicker Ian Darling and Kiwi Wayne Brown.
Around the same time Gateshead-born Keith Williams had a couple of useful seasons in the Bandits’ reserve berth, Paul Henderson, Paul McHale and Steve Wicks are among those whose distinctive twang has graced our pits over the years.
In their footsteps follows teenage prodigy Archie Freeman, the other half of the Bullets’ Geordie Nation for 2023 along with Josh Embleton.
Despite still being a teen Archie’s is a familiar face having first sat on a speedway bike as a seven-year-old at Newcastle’s Brough Park, soon taking on the role of Diamonds’ mascot in addition to joining the Northern Junior League side, initially on a 125 machine.
Pictures: Taz McDougall and Ian Charles (Belle Vue)
The transition to 500cc was seamless and as a new decade dawned Archie found himself at the centre of exciting plans announced by new Newcastle owner Rob Grant who announced his intention to run a Gems’ side in the National Trophy for 2020 – the initial plan was to partner him with Leon Flint – in addition to the Bandits.
Of course Covid ensured that those plans never got off the ground but Archie was again named in the Gems side when speedway came out of cold storage.
In the end the Gems lasted just two meetings, both against Armadale – Archie scoring 10+1 at Brough Park – but he was called up by the Championship Diamonds as a replacement for Jack Parkinson-Blackburn.
Armadale also called and Archie ended the season as a Devil, producing a match-winning performance from the number six berth as they ended Leicester’s title charge in West Lothian.
Another solid performance came against Belle Vue and it was the world famous Colts who won his signature for 2022.
Highlight of a very solid season at the National Speedway Stadium was the first paid maximum of his fledgling career which came against Kent Royals last August, the return fixture at Iwade producing another paid double figure return.
As the Bullets looked to reshape for 2023 the Freeman name was prominent on the “wanted” list and he is itching to pull on the Bullets’ racesuit at Belle Vue on April 7.