BERWICK’S annual Bordernapolis event features a healthy roster of inter-national talent on the Shielfield track tonight (7pm) for the winner-takes-all £1,000 first prize, writes LAWRENCE HEPPELL.
The informed word is that the previously acknowledged ‘favourites’ for the big money could have a slightly unexpected challenger coming through from the ranks to test their mettle for tonight’s event, this year sponsored by New Holland Agriculture.
“We know the American ace ‘Flyin’ Ryan’ Fisher will be hard to beat, and we certainly expect home stars Lee Complin and Seb Alden to be giving him a tough time,” Berwick co-owner John Anderson said last night.
“However, the form horse just might be our newest signing Linus Eklof!
“Linus hasn’t really got to grips with Shielfield Park yet – he’s really just had one meeting here – but away from Berwick, he’s been on fire.
“He was our top scorer at Ipswich last week, and on Wednesday night went to Elite League King’s Lynn’s track and beat some of the best young riders in Britain to take out the high-status ‘International Young Guns’ title.
“He won all six of his races on the way to the silverware, and if you want to think about a dark horse for the big money, Linus could be the one to watch.
“However, the unique handicap system – introduced by the great Liz Taylor, our first promoter for the very first Bordernapolis nearly 40 years ago – is a great leveller, and Saturday’s winner could turn out to be one of the other guys in a well-matched field.
“With the handicaps sometimes giving, and then taking away a vital advantage when high-scoring riders meet one another, we could have any one of a dozen riders picking up the big prize – which is just as it should be!”
Berwick then re-group for a trip to the Newcastle Diamonds tomorrow (6.30pm) for their much-delayed first-phase Premier League meeting.
Newcastle are freshly back from a spirited – if not slightly disappointing – slender defeat at Ipswich on Thursday night.
And they will be looking to enter the final month of a disastrous campaign with a bang to give their long-suffering supporters something to cheer about.
A derby win could be the best way to achieve that.
Most likely still without the injured Joe Haines, Newcastle will be looking towards the explosive form of Stuart Robson to lead the way with Aussie veteran Mark Lemon at last looking more like his old self to pick up the bulk of the points.
The Diamonds will also look for more consistency from Dane Claes Nedermark, whose form has been more akin to a rollercoaster of late, while skipper Derek Sneddon and the two reserves can all bang in double-figure scores on their day.
However, it won’t be an easy task as Berwick arrive with a revitalised side led by the triple Swedish threat of Lindgren, Alden and Eklof.
All three have proved to be highly motivated scorers, and should ensure that the match will be hot as the unseasonably steamy autumn weather.
BORDERNAPOLIS 2011: Mikey Buman, Ryan Fisher & Ricky Wells (USA), Milen Manev (Bulgaria), Ludvig Lindgren, Seb Alden & Linus Eklof (Sweden), Jade Mudgway (New Zealand), Lee Complin & Oliver Allen (England), Aaron Summers, Kevin Doolan & Mitch Davey (Australia), Claus Vissing (Denmark), Adam McKinna (Scotland) and Josef ‘Pepe’ Franc (Czech Republic)
NEWCASTLE “SAPPHIRE ENGINEERING” DIAMONDS: Kyle Newman, Mark Lemon, Claes Nedermark, Derek Sneddon (captain), Joe Haines – Rider replacement, Stuart Robson, Richie Worrall
BERWICK “A & J SCOTT” BANDITS: Josef Franc, Mitch Davey, Lee Complin (captain), Jade Mudgway, Ludwig Lindgren, Sebastian Alden