Bandits run Comets to the wire as Gappmaier hit 11
Workington Comets 45
Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) 45
SGB Championship Shield - Group Phase
There have been some thrilling and memorable border-battles between the Workington Comet and Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler), with the first of two in two days firing off at Derwent Park last night (return is tonight at Shielfield Park), and while it was Dany Gappmaier (pictured above) who excelled with an 11 point haul, a tightly-fought Heat One set the tone with Nicolai Klindt's home win over Aaron Summer and Kevin Doolan tying the heat 3-3.
However Jye Etheridge roasted the gate in Heat Two to lead and win well as Lindman set up a good run behind Bradley Wilson-Dean, but the Comet's number seven suffered engine failure as Lindman gladly took second, and with Gappmaier winning the third from the gate over the powerful Dan Bewley, who couldn't keep up with the Austrian, the score after three races was a lead for the visitors 7-11.
Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen just missed on his attempted pass off bend two in Heat Four round Klindt, which is how it remained to the flag in another 3-3, before Summers and Doolan combined with a solid pair of gates to well and truly see off Ty Proctor and Bewley for another Bandits' 1-5 extending their lead to 11-19.
Workington took a tactical substitute for the Heat Six rider-replacement with the unbeaten Klindt taking another ride, and he duly won again with Rasmus Jensen keeping a hold of second over Jakobsen despite the Workington man making a hash of the last bend of the first lap for a 5-1 reducing Berwick's lead by four points.
One heat later and Klindt's colours were finally lowered by a Bandit at Gappmaier shot away again for an untroubled win, and with David Howe taking third over Kyle Bickley, the 2-4 moved the Bandits further in front again, 18-24, and with Doolan storming Heat Eight with Etheridge holding third behind Wilson-Dean, the 2-4 restored Berwick's eight-point lead.
After two thirds, Proctor found himself in third again in Heat Nine, but drove hard between Lindman and Jakobsen to lead and win in a 4-2 after Lindman fell on the third lap as Berwick still led 24-30, but Proctor found himself at the back of Heat 10 and remained at the rear in the heat won by Rasmus to inflict the first defeat of the night on Gappmaier to win and share the race.
Critically Proctor's rollercoaster hit the heights again with a Heat 12 win backed by Wilson-Dean over Etheridge, and with only three heats to go Berwick's lead was slashed to only two points, but the tension went up ten-fold after Klindt won Heat 13 as Jensen split Summers and Jakobsen in a 4-2 that levelled the match 39-39 with two to go.
Gappmaier regained the winning ways in Heat 14, but behind Wilson-Dean attempted a pass on Etheridge, but the Bandits fell to halt the race and Wilson-Dean's exclusion for an awarded 2-4 as the thriller went down to the last heat, and it was Proctor who led from the gate with Doolan in a solid second, but in third Klindt held Gappmaier at the rear in a home 4-2 which ended the match a very fair draw, 45-45.
Team manager Scott Courtney said: "What a show from the guys tonight. There was real grit and determination and we led by eight points twice on the night, but Workington's Proctor and especially Klindt who was almost untouchable, can never be discounted and their home expertise won them the draw, meaning every single last point the Bandits scored tonight counted completely, but it was the fairest result on the night after a great battle and we're ready for round two on Saturday, which could be equally as close!"
Individual Riders' Score Chart:
Workington Comets 45
Rene Bach - Rider replacement
Rasmus Jensen 2*,R,3,1 = 6+1
Ty Proctor (c) 1*,1,3,0,3,3 = 11+1
Dan Bewley 2,R,1,2 = 5
Nicolai Klindt 3,3,3,2,3,3,1 = 18
Kyle Bickley (r) 1,0,0,N = 1
Bradley Wilson-Dean (r) R,0,2,2*,X = 4+1
Berwick "KLS" Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope of Wooler) 45
Aaron Summers 2,3,1*,2 = 8+1
Kevin Doolan (c) 1*,2*,3,2,2 = 10+2
David Howe 0,1,1*,0 = 2+1
Dany Gappmaier 3,3,2,3,0 = 11
Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 2,1,2,0 = 5
John Lindman (r) 2*,0,Fx,N = 2+1
Jye Etheridge (r) 3,1*,1,1,1 = 7+1