Still beaming from their hugely-successful opening night last Saturday – the team defeated local rivals Newcastle, and Shielfield Park saw the biggest speedway attendance for at least five years. Everyone concerned was chock full of praise for the upgraded facilities offered by the new promotion. Berwick Bandits, sponsored this season by F1 Finance (Scotland) of Jedburgh are back on track again on Saturday (March 28th) for their opening Premier Trophy match of the season.The visitors will be Redcar Bears, featuring former World Champion Gary Havelock who will be backed by one-time Grand Prix regular Carl Stonehewer and the Teesside outfit have already been making loud noises about what the season holds! The club’s press correspondent Keith McGhie has predicted his Bears will finish second (to Edinburgh, in his opinion) in the league this term – and even more controversially that the Bandits will end up bottom of the table!
“That prediction seems harsh” said a Berwick spokesman. “I don’t know what Mr McGhie sees in our side that makes him think that and putting tings like that in a magazine before a wheel has turned seems unbelievable– and while we don’t believe in pre-season boasting, I’m sure we’ll all find out the relative strength of the two sides on Saturday night”.The F1 Finance Bandits will be at full strength, with the exhilarating young Italian Guglielmo “Gino” Franchetti back to complete the septet carefully constructed during the winter months by new team boss David Peet. “Gino had a successful winter racing in Argentina, and had to begin his national championships in Italy last week, so this will be his debut for us in 2009” explained Peet. “He will race from the reserve position in our line-up, and I fancy him as a trump card”.
The evergreen Czech star Michal Makovsky – entering his ninth straight season with Berwick for whom he has racked up nearly 3,000 points – was almost inevitably the club’s top scorer last weekend, and appears set for another fine season. Makovsky dropped just one point in the defeat of Newcastle, and must be aiming to go one better on Saturday. Despite the presence of their veteran aces Havelock and Stonehewer, his main opposition could be provided by Redcar’s 21-year-old Australian Ty Proctor, who enjoyed a fine winter season in his homeland and looks set to become the Bears main man during the coming campaign.“Win or lose, I hope we have another great occasion” said new Berwick promoter John Anderson, still unable to wipe a smile from his face after last week’s massive and hugely-positive public response to his efforts in saving the border club from extinction. “Yes, we always hope for on-track success, but giving folk a good deal for their money and a great night’s entertainment – that’s our main target this year”.