Guest Craig Cook inspired Newcastle Diamonds’ performance as they ended Berwick Bandits’ unbeaten league record at Brough Park last night.
Cook made a superb gate in heat one to win well, Steen Jensen falling on the first bend of the second lap to set up a home 4-2. In heat two Lima Carr led before being passed by his partner Matej Kus off bend two, with Simon Nielsen also overhauling the Bandit.
A remarkable opening lap to the third race saw the four positions change several times. Lewis Kerr emerged ahead of Stuart Robson and Matthew Wethers in a home 5-1 to put Newcastle four points up (11-7). Kus shot from the tapes in heat four, followed by David Bellego who came under extreme pressure from Ludvig Lindgren, the latter just failing in his inside lunges, leaving the five in the Bandits’ hands (12-12).
Robson and Kerr repeated their efforts of heat three in the fifth to restore Newcastle’s four-point advantage (17-13), which moved to 22-14 with another massive win from Cook and Lewis Rose.
Lindgren managed to go wide on bend one in heat seven, with Greenwood falling into the fence. The referee excluded the youngster from the re-run in which Doolan made the gate but was chased hard all the way by Lindgren to no avail in a 2-4 (24-18).
Nielsen, a Newcastle guest, made the perfect gate in heat eight but Kus was the man to overhaul the Diamond to take up the lead in an away 2-4. Kus was brought in as a reserve switch in place of Carr in heat nine, with the gap now four points.
Kus missed the gate and the Kerr-Robson pairing made no mistake, relegating the Czech to third place in a home 5-1 (31-23). After Cook’s third win of the night in a home 4-2, the gap was 10, allowing Berwick the chance to use a tactical rider – Vissing in heat 11.
Vissing was first out of the gate well ahead of Lindgren and Greenwood, but Jensen soared round the lot to lead as Lindgren battled hard. With Jensen seemingly forgetting his partner was on double points, Lindgren shot hard up on Vissing, just pipping the Bandit on the line, reducing the Berwick advantage to a 2-5, taking the score to 37-30, and with a 4-2 in the 12th the Diamonds led comfortably 41-32 with three races left on the card.
An amazing heat ensued with Vissing and Bellego well out in front ahead of Cook, but the Newcastle guest never gave up, roaring round Bellego and chasing Vissing down to the end with a thrilling last lap, the Bandit holding the three points in a 2-4. Kerr’s determined heat 14 win sealed the home victory.
George English, Newcastle’s team manager, said: “At last we have returned to winning ways. To do so over a previously unbeaten Berwick makes the achievement all the more impressive. The racing was suitably superb for a close local derby and I think the determination shown tonight sets us up at last for a good run in the Premier League.”
Tonight at Shielfield Park, Berwick Speedway host the re-staging of Saturday’s rained-off FIM Grand Prix qualifier with a 7.30pm start (doors 5.45pm). Bandits travel to face Glasgow Tigers in a League Cup tie (7.15pm) with little consequence for either side.
Newcastle: Craig Cook (guest) 13+1, Lewis Rose 4+1, Stuart Robson 9+3, Lewis Kerr 15, Ludvig Lindgen 5, Dan Greenwood (guest) 0, Simon Nielsen (guest) 5
Berwick: Claus Vissing 9, Steen Jensen 4, Kevin Doolan 5, Matthew Wethers (captain) 5+1, David Bellego 3+1, Liam Carr 2, Matej Kus 12