Berwick FTS Bandits are due to welcome the Newcastle Diamonds to Shielfield Park on Saturday, July 3, weather permitting, and team manager Gary Flint praised their effort of the squad in a narrow 47-43 defeat at Scunthorpe Scorpions in the SGB Championship on Friday.

Bandits travelled without their new Danish racer Kasper Andersen who was unavailable and went with their original line up for 2021 and included Argentinian Coty Garcia as rider-replacement.

Adam Ellis and Simon Lambert were on for a Heat One 5-1 for the home side until Berwick’s Leon Flint went hard up the inside of Lambert to take second spot but had to work hard to keep it with the pair passing and repassing throughout in the Scorpions’ 4-2.

Heat Two levelled things up when Josh MacDonald suffered a tape offence and had to go from the 15-metre handicap and despite making ground on third-placed Kyle Bickley, with Flint out in front ahead of Jordan Palin the 2-4 took the scores to 6-all, however Scunthorpe regained their two point lead in the third as Theo Pijper and Tero Aarnio, two former Bandits shot away to lead, but Dany Gappmaier found a way round Aarnio on the second lap to split the home pairing.

Again, Berwick reversed the score to level the match again after Heat Four which Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen led from gate to flag but come the third bend of the last lap Flint twisted his throttle hard, powered up and flew round the outside of Palin for the Bandits 2-4, moving the scores on to 12-a-piece.

Jye Etheridge pushed hard all though the fifth race, almost passing Pijper on the run to the chequered flag, but the Scorpion held second behind Aarnio for a home maximum 5-1, pushing Scunthorpe into a 17-13 lead while in Heat Six Busk Jakobsen looked set for another win until Lambert dived hard under him on the last lap to take the win in the home 4-2, extending their lead to six points.

Gappmaier and Aaron Summers (pictured) excelled from the gate to lead Heat Seven despite an early challenge from MacDonald in a perfectly timed Bandits’ 1-5, the match score now 22-20, and with five heats to go the score had progressed to 30-30 courtesy of a Heat 10 1-5 from Gappmaier and Summers, the latter passing Ellis on the last lap and in Heat 11, Jorgensen lined up with MacDonald to tackle Etheridge and Flint, with the Berwick number seven flying from the gate to win after a great battle with Jorgensen, and with Etheridge taking third, Berwick’s 2-4 put the visitors ahead by two points, 32-34.

Pijper led Heat 12 well for the three points as Palin passed both Bickley and Summers, but Summers reclaimed his two points on the third lap and nearly swept under Pijper on the final bend, just missing out in the home 4-2 to again level the scores at 36-36, while Busk Jakobsen’s last lap effort in Heat 13 to pass Jorgensen restricted the Scorpions to another 4-2, and with two races to go, Berwick were again two-down at 40-38.

Berwick’s challenge came to an end one heat later after a superb Heat 14 race between Gappmaier and Aarnio behind the leading Palin, but the Scorpion made the decisive move round the outside line to form a match-winning 5-1 taking the score to 45-39.

Team manager Gary Flint said afterwards: “We have had some great matches on the road this year due to the guys really putting the work and effort in to make these home sides work very hard for their wins, so we can’t knock the huge effort these Bandits are bringing to the game. Top class.”

Individual Riders’ Score Chart:

Scunthorpe Scorpions: 47

Adam Ellis 3,1,1,3,0 = 8
Simon Lambert 1,3,1,0 = 5
Theo Pijper 3,2*,0,3 = 8+1
Tero Aarnio 1,3,3,2*,2 = 11+1
Thomas Jorgensen 2,1,2,1 = 6
Josh MacDonald 0,0,0,R = 0
Jordan Palin 2,0,3,1,3 = 9

Berwick FTS Bandits: 43

Jye Etheridge 0,1,1,0 = 2
Coty Garcia – Rider replacement
Aaron Summers 0,2*,2*,2,3 = 9+2
Dany Gappmaier = 2,3,2,3,1 = 11
Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 3,2,1*,2,1 = 9+2
Kyle Bickley 1,0,F,2,R = 3
Leon Flint 2,3,1,0,3,0 = 9