Further blow for Bears
The Redcar Bears’ promotion were dealt a further blow this week with the news that their young Danish prospect Kasper Andersen has had his application for a work permit refused. Although Andersen can apply again, his visa issues in addition to concerns over recent travel restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic, have resulted in the club and rider parting ways for the 2021 season. Both the rider and promotion have parted on good terms and on the understanding that the decision is a result of difficult and unfortunate circumstances that have been imposed on both the rider and club.
The news that Andersen’s work permit was refused has come as a shock to the club. Bears co-promoter Jitendra Duffill said, “I really can’t believe our luck recently. It was a surprise that Kasper has had issues as theoretically he met the criteria required for a Frontier Worker permit. Recent Government updates to travel regulations have also made it much more difficult to travel into and out of the UK regularly, meaning that Kasper would really have to base himself in the UK to race for us. Understandably, this is something that Kasper cannot commit to as he also races in Denmark, his home nation. He is a rider that was expecting to, and always has commuted in and out of the UK regularly during the season to make his living as a professional rider. I feel really sorry for Kasper; he has huge potential and fits in really well with the management here, so I’m very sad that we won’t see him lining up for us this year. I hope we are able to see him back at the club again in the near future. It’s such an incredibly frustrating and stressful time for us as we prepare for the new season.”
The Bears are now left looking for 2 riders with just over 6 weeks until the start of their Championship League campaign. The club lost the services of heat leader Erik Riss in January due to concerns relating to the pandemic, though he later had a change of heart and is now due to line up for Championship rivals Birmingham. Duffill responded, “It is doubly frustrating that we chose not to re-introduce Erik into the side a few weeks ago, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and circumstances have changed drastically since then. I still insist it would have been wrong of us to make a change at the time as the current situation was unexpected; Newcastle have experienced a similar situation with their Danish rider Claus Vissing in the last couple of weeks.”
Duffill continued, “At this point, we are looking for 2 riders who will base themselves in the UK full time. I am fully aware that time is ticking, but I still insist that many riders’ confidence in the UK is improving and discussions that are ongoing with a few overseas riders could still result in at least one of them coming to race for us. The situation with the pandemic in Europe is not good and I am confident that we will still field a very competitive side – I am asking our supporters to remain patient and to keep their faith in us.”
Meanwhile, the club have confirmed that this Saturday’s (17th April) amateur meeting from the Media Prima Arena will be available to watch via a live stream over YouTube. With no spectators allowed to watch from the stadium, this will be the first opportunity of the year for fans to watch some live Speedway in the UK. Duffill added, “We have a great line up for Saturday’s event and we thought it would be a shame for spectators to miss out. This is a way of allowing everybody to watch and the stream will be made available for free as it will be filmed using a few members of our own team. The link to the stream will be made available closer to the time on our social media channels and website.”