Monday briefing

Published on 10th June 2024
Author George Dodds
The new skipper hydrates during the British Final (Taylor Lanning)

Tuesday: Plymouth v Jewson Bandits, powered by Keenwood Karpets, 7pm Buy livestream

The battered Jewson Bandits have called in reinforcements as we head to Devon tomorrow looking to get our bid for a play-off place back on track.

With skipper Rory Schlein and popular Dane Bastian Borke out for the season and Jye Etheridge still recovering from the after-affects of his two crashes against Scunthorpe at Shielfield Park, team boss Stewart Dickson has been kept busy over the weekend.

Lewi Kerr, whose return to fitness and form was one of the bright spots from a difficult weekend, takes over the captaincy from Roo Boy and leads Freddy, in-form Drew and Danyon down to Plymouth to face a Gladiators side also juggling with their line-up.

Number one Nico Covatti is currently suspended for 28 day by the Speedway Control Bureau after riding in Slovenia but failing to turn up at Plymouth the following day.

Ironically, the suspension allows the Gladiators to use a guest up to his full average having been restricted to a 75% replacement while he was still injured.

Troy Batchelor – who won three races and retired in his fourth in Workington’s 47-43 win at The Coliseum last month – and 12+1 for hem against Redcar last week, guests in the Italian’s place.

Paul Starke, leading heat two at Scunthorpe on Friday, is back in Bandits’ colours on Tuesday(Ian Rispin)

Ben Barker faces a late fitness test after crashing out of last week’s defeat by the Bears, one of three home losses in four outings for the Gladiators in 2024.

In-form Dan Thompson, who missed out on qualifying for the SGP2 series on Saturday, is back after missing the Redcar meeting suffering from the effects of Covid.

Fundamental in the Redcar victory was Jason Edwards and he will return in Berwick colours on Tuesday in place of Etheridge.

Our popular Aussie has not recovered from the injuries picked up against Scunthorpe and misses out on a return to the track where he scored 12+2 in last year’s one point defeat for the Bandits.

Poole’s Zach Cook has the tough task of filling the void left by Schlein’s injury, not least because Roo Boy top scored with 13 points that night.

Cook began his British career with Plymouth in 2021, match-winning performances guesting for Poole in the play-offs earning him a switch to Wimborne Road alongside his brother, Ben.

Another ex-Gladiator Paul Starke, who began the 2023 season at The Coliseum – and celebrated his testimonial there – fills the number seven bib after a spirited performance at the Eddie Wright Raceway on Friday.

Keeping spirits up … Rory begins his recovery

Team boss Dickson said: “Obviously our thoughts are with Rory at this time, and I’m sure he’ll be watching the boys on the livestream on Tuesday night.

“But my job is to get the strongest seven possible on track.

“Lewi is the obvious person to take over the captaincy and his experience will be invaluable at a tricky time.

“This isn’t a must-win match but the two home defeats mean that we are not where we wanted to be in the table. But we are defending a five-point advantage and are targeting at least the aggregate point.”

We’ve also tweaked our riding order with in-form Drew switching to three and Danyon taking up the number four bib.

Gladiators: Troy Batchelor, Alfie Bowtell, Dan Thompson, Kyle Newman, Ben Barker, Joe Thompson, Jacob Hook

Bandits: Lewi Kerr, Jason Edwards, Drew Kemp, Danyon Hume, Zach Cook, Freddy Hodder, Paul Starke

Referee: Wayne Jarvis

CAB DIRECT CHAMPIONSHIP  
(including 10 June)
Team P W D L F A Ag Pt
Scunthorpe 5 4 0 1 241 208 2 10
Poole 4 4 0 0 206 154 1 9
Workington 6 4 0 2 275 265 1 9
Oxford 5 3 0 2 250 198 1 7
Berwick 7 3 0 4 295 334 1 7
Redcar 8 2 0 6 343 376 0 4
Plymouth 4 1 0 3 176 183 0 2
Glasgow 3 1 0 2 128 142 0 2
Edinburgh 4 1 0 3 153 207 0 2
 
Macon pits’ celebration for Leon, Gary and mechanic Lubos

Congratulations to Berwick born and bred and Bandits asset Leon Flint who held his nerve to qualify for the SGP2 series.

Having dropped just three points from five qualifying races at Macon, France, on Saturday, Leon still had to come through a frantic three-man run-off for the final two places in the three-meeting series.

Of course he appeared as a wildcard two years ago, scoring nine points in tricky conditions at Cardiff.

The first round of the series is at Malila in Sweden on Friday night before rounds at Riga in Latvia and Torun in Poland in September.

Leon would also expect to play a full part in Great Britain’s bid to win the team competition when the Speedway of Nations 2 Final at the National Speedway Stadium next month.

A message from our popular Dane who is still feeling the love from the Bandits’ family despite being hospitalised in Viborg following his season-ending.

A collection on his Bastian Borke’s behalf was held before our last home meeting which raised £589 alongside a separate GoFundMe site.

He may be struggling with his injuries but Bastian’s still active on all his social media channels.

He said: “We are completely overwhelmed. Many thanks to everyone at Berwick Bandits who supported Bastian. We cannot thank you all enough for the support, it means so much.

“A huge thank you to Kim Scott and Emily Jane Riddell for arranging the fundraiser and to Margaret Inglis for arranging the GoFundMe which has raised £330 pounds so far.

“Working hard to get back ASAP. I’m not written off yet!”

An interesting name in the line-up at Iwade on Sunday. The former NDL track operates under the Nora banner these days with meetings largely involving teams riding under heritage club banners.

Next Sunday it is Kent Kings against Rye House. Among the Rockets’ line up is Henning Loof, former Somerset and Mildenhall racer but nowadays a familiar sight in the Shielfield pits as mechanic for Drew Kemp. Indeed he was on the spanners at the National Speedway Stadium on Saturday night.

Among the opposition is former Bandit Rob Hollingworth who had a season with us in 1973 and is still going strong aged 69.

Drew in action at Scunthorpe(Ian Rispin)
George Dodds
George Dodds

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