New signings Jonas Knudsen and Nathan Stoneman will make their delayed debuts when Berwick FTS Bandits, powered by Keenwood Karpets travel to Poole on Wednesday evening.
The pair watched from the Shielfield Parks pits on Saturday as a torrential downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning 40 minutes before the scheduled start-time left the track underwater and forced the postponement of the Championship fixture against Scunthorpe Scorpions.
Now their focus shifts to Wednesday as the Bandits face a Pirates side still much fancied to retain their league crown but which has misfired at home recently, losing to rivals Leicester and then scrambling a fortuitous draw against Plymouth – hampered by the mid-meeting injury loss of Michael Palm Toft – last time out, also losing at Scunthorpe during that period.
With skipper Chris Harris back after qualifying from the European Grasstrack event in Holsted and Jye Etheridge due to make his Championship return after injury the Bandits will field their own starting seven for the first time since the home victory over Newcastle – now expunged from the records – on April 30.
American Ricky Wells rolled an ankle at work last Thursday and withdrew from a scheduled guest booking for Oxford at Edinburgh the following day as a precaution but would have ridden for the Bandits had the rain not fallen on Saturday. In his absence Leon Flint replaced Scott Nicholls as the Cheetahs’ number one at Armadale and scored seven points from four rides.
Wednesday night’s fixture was originally due to have been staged in May but was postponed due to forecast thunderstorms.
Team manager Gary Flint said: “It is never easy at Poole but we travel with a team fully committed to giving everything as we try to haul ourselves into the play-offs.
“Bomber’s a Wimborne Road specialist – not that there’s really any track he can’t ride superbly – while Nathan’s already been there as a guest for Oxford this season and, while its all new to Jonas he can’t wait to get on-track and racing in England.
“Saturday was a real disappointment for everyone but I think the pictures and videos of the downpour and its aftermath told their own story.
“The track had been drying well after an earlier shower, around 4pm, but at that point we were confident the meeting would go ahead, possibly with a slightly delayed start.
“That all became immaterial when the heavens opened.
”It gave Jonas and Nathan the opportunity to meet with their new fans in the Black and Gold but they are both itching to pull on their Bandits’ racesuits and get racing.”
British Speedway Network had been preparing to livestream the meeting on Saturday and their cameras will be trackside on Wednesday evening for anyone who cannot travel to Dorset.
They will also be on-hand at Shielfield on 9 July for the reverse fixture. BSN’s schedule for July, released today, reveal that they will be at Oxford when the Bandits visit on 13 July and will covering the rearranged League Riders’ Championship from Poole on 24 August.
BSN meetings are available individually or on monthly subscription https://watchbritishspeedway.co.uk for details. Their stream starts at 7pm on Wednesday with the first race at 7.30pm.
Poole: Danny King, Zach Cook, Steve Worrall, Ben Cook, Richard Lawson, Drew Kemp, Nathan Ablitt.
Bandits: Chris Harris, Theo Pijper, Jye Etheridge, Ricky Wells. Leon Flint, Jonas Knudsen, Nathan Stoneman.
- The next speedway action at Shielfield Park is on Saturday when the Grant Henderson Tankers Bullets entertain Leicester Lion Cubs in the first leg of the National Development League Knockout Cup semi-final.
The second leg is at Leicester on Sunday with the winners meeting Mildenhall Fen Tigers in the final.
PICTURES: KEITH HAMBLIN