Slow New Beginnings Not Denting Hopes For Weekend
No one can deny that the start to the 2017 season has not been the way the Olympus Marquees Berwick Bandits (Powered by Mike Hope, Wooler) would have scripted had they the chance to do so, but the managerial committee are not losing faith, and indeed hopeing the huge home crowds stick with it too.
"Its all about keeping the faith," said Bandits' team manager Gary Havelock referring to the forthcoming weekend of SGB Championship matches, starting at the Edinburgh Monarchs, followed by Saturday's home match vs. Glasgow then the return at Glasgow on Sunday, "We've had some great racing even if the results have not come our way, but I honestly believe this weekend might not be too bad for us.
"We could do ok at Edinburgh as that track it right up Lewis (Bridger's) street. It's tight and technical and Lewis knows how to ride those tracks well, and Claus (Vissing) rode for them in 2013 too so will know Armadale well and Kev should be ok up there too. You never know after last weekend they might underestimate us and treat it as a walk in the park, well, we won't we'll be up for a fight.
"We know gating has been our problem so far this year, for Lewis too, and even in our league, if you give too much away at the starts it can be too much to make up even for the likes of our number one, it makes it tough going. I don't know why but poor gating has spread through the team like the plague and we need to work on that as a top priority.
"Liam (Carr) is hoping he will have delivery of his new engine ready for the weekend's action, although he had hoped to have had it at the start of the season had it not been for delays, but his GM should be raring to go and that could really turn the lad's season around. A new engine could act like a light switch and we're all hoping he can now score the points we all know his skill is capable of.
"Saturday against Glasgow is another we should be fine with, so long as we stop giving the opponents a 10 yard lead before bend one! If we do that we'll never win, but the guys all know that, and they can all make starts, they just have to get it in their heads to do it, which I have confidence they will.
"Starts are vital in speedway, but we have to hit the other teams hard from the start. If we let them get a big lead by Heat Five they our heads go down so we need to hit hard sooner. All top sports are governed by a good mental attitude, but Speedway its even more important.
"In speedway if heads drop the mental power turns negative, but in our game the risk of potential injury then plays on rider's minds, the danger factor really becomes a hurdle to get over and I know as I've been there. We have to lift our riders' spirits and get them riding happy as that is effective in its' own right. Our guys will work these issues out and turn 2017 around.
"We'll have to see of course, but I can guarantee we will be going all out to win all three meetings this weekend, and all our guys are equally determined - and we have the capability to do so. It's fingers out time and get some gates in!"
News broke on Wednesday night that barnstorming reserve Ryan Blacklock will have to sit more time on the side-lines due to his injuries, but not the most recent ones. When he crashed at Ipswich at the end of last month the Bandits have since discovered he actually fractured two vertebrae yet bravely rode through the pain barrier, crashing heavily again at Sheffield last Thursday.
Consequently Berwick's managerial team have been actively looking for an booking guests as Ryan will be taking a sensible rest to make sure his recuperation is effective and long-lasting. Guest names will be announced in due course.
Weekend Line-ups (not programmed order) :
Berwick: Claus Vissing, Lewis Bridger, Kevin Doolan, Liam Carr, Dany Gappmaier, Dimitri Berge, Guest - for Ryan Blacklock
Edinburgh: Mark Riss, Erik Riss, Sam Masters, Mitchell Davey, Ricky Wells, Max Clegg, Josh Pickering
Glasgow: Richie Worrall, Aaron Summers, Richard Lawson, Nike Lunna, Jack Smith, Tom Perry, Dan Bewley