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Kevin Doolan's picture

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The battling Bandits definitely went to war last week against the Redcar Bears!

There was some spirited racing from both sides and few battle-scars to be shown in both teams from the two meetings.

Thursday didn’t quite go to plan, we lost Jye early in the meeting and despite a spirited effort we couldn’t cover his absence later on.

Saturday was more like the score line we were chasing, we had rider-replacement for Jye and everyone in the team worked together to make sure we were on top of the Bears for the whole meeting.

Looking at the scores it might have appeared like a steady win but on track there were some hard moves from both sides, and of course the almost comical heat 13 and its seven or so restarts. It can be hard to maintain focus when something like that happens.

For the riders in the race it’s like being switched on constantly from the moment of pushing off for the first start until you return to the pits after the completion of the heat and in this case it was roughly 40 minutes later!

It is not something you can practice for and some will naturally handle the rollercoaster of adrenaline and concentration better than others.

For the lads in the pits it’s easy to cool down physically and mentally and when returning to the track can be similar to trying to turn on the focus for the first race of the night. The mechanics of concentration and controlling it is as fascinating as it is random and frustrating.

Again, the score line was what we were aiming for but it was far from a fully firing Bandits side. The feeling in the pits was mixed, our riders were aware of the score line, supportive of each other and in the end happy with the result as a team but individually each rider was disappointed with one or more of their rides but you could see the determination to get back out and correct the mistakes.

It was another sign of that winning mentality setting in. Theo was the difference on Saturday night though. That, between us having to pull a big last heat decider out the bag and having a comfortable score line and knowing we have another solid team member who will step up when one of us has a bad race, is what fuels that winning mentality.

Sunday, I had the opportunity to host the first training school at the Berwick Bandits Training Academy facility at Duns.

I’m happy to report it was a massive success and thoroughly enjoyable for me to see the improvement in both young and older riders as the day went on.

I was impressed at the enthusiasm of all the riders, they were happy to ask questions and even happier to listen to my advice.

The small track can be a bit daunting at first but the relatively low speeds makes it the perfect place for riders of all skills and experience to adapt to new skills and techniques.

Three meetings this week, three tough meetings, three chances of more big points in our quest, three completely different challenges and those challenges are what we are looking forward to.