2017's luck, loss and fantastic racing continues
Thankfully for the Berwick Bandits' new management team, the crowds are still looking healthy despite a basement league position and an injury list that reads like a Bandits' Who's Who of 2017, and that has to be down to the phenomenal team spirit the lads in the Black and Gold race jackets and certainly not least that there's rarely been a poor match all year with the racing on many occasions, set at fever pitch with brilliant passing moves and thrills to get the fans to their feet.
Saturday's match against a vibrant Sheffield side was no different with the bad luck pouring over new man Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen who went way too wide in his first race and hammered hard into the polyfoam fence, a fence which undoubtedly saved serious injury yet again. Jakobsen bounced back with an excellent second, passing Josh Bates, but as the minutes ticked by it seemed as if the ill-effects were slowing the Dane down who unfortunately failed to score again, but has shown that there is bags of potential in him still to come out.
Jye Etheridge had another blistering night, taking 11+2 from his six rides and was part of a brilliant Heat Nine, led by Etheridge but Kevin Doolan in second, assisted in the best team riding display seen in a while, riding close to his partner and making sure Kyle Howarth remained in third place, despite the Sheffield man getting very, very close at times and again the skipper proving more valuable by far than his six point haul.
Nick Morris took 12+1 on a night where his six doubled points on a tactical ride in Heat Six was a vital spark in the mid-match Berwick revival with his final Heat 15, his win again was dominant in his destruction of the always-impressive Josh Grajczonek's five-ride maximum while David Howe continued his race into the hearts of his new fans with a stirring nine points including two top-notch wins, but his ultra-easy attitude with the fans is proving a massive hit and there's a huge majority of supporters in the Borders who are desperate he will be on the retain-list come 2018 team building.
Team manager for the Bandits, Gary Havelock said: "To be 11 points down after five heats, then lead by one after Heat 10 only to go down by 11 at the end of Heat 15 is so, so frustrating, it's beyond explanation! It's the same old story of bad luck with our new guy Nikolaj [Busk Jakobsen] taking a really bad crash in Heat Four just as he was making ground and looking good. How he got up from that bang and rode again, was amazing but it obviously started to have an effect as time went by.
"Its difficult when you're up against officialdom's decisions and the other team especially when they are a good side like Sheffield, and you effectively only have half a team on the track, in fact its worse than difficult, but David Howe (pictured above leading Morris and Kurtz in the excellent Colin Poole Pic) was brilliant tonight as was Jye Etheridge and Nick Morris is as impressive as ever and the racing is again among the best people have seen at Berwick in years.
"Jye and Kev's team riding to keep Kyle Howarth under control in third was just brilliant to watch with a great last lap, and we got the 5-1! We keep providing the best of action this season full of excitement, all we need to do it yet again regroup and get the results as well and we'll have the perfect product, but the fans up here are brilliant and they understand we are trying our best, and at least are going home thrilled with the racing, and results will come, eventually."