Brilliant Bears dismantle Bandits!
The Redcar “Agilia” Bears sent out a statement to the rest of the Cab Direct Championship after a convincing 53-37 KO Cup 1st round 1st leg win over Berwick on a sunny evening at the ECCO Arena. Jason Edwards was magnificent for the Bears with 13 whilst Rory Schlein made a strong start after reversing his retirement decision with 12.
Redcar started the meeting in positive fashion with an opening heat 4-2 as Erik Riss won whilst Thomas Jorgensen passed Connor Bailey in the latter stages of the second lap to limit the damage for the visitors. Heat 2 saw Edwards gate with Jake Mulford building up speed going into bend 3 of the opening lap but the Bears reserve crashed spectacularly with man and machine both worse for wear. Mulford was excluded from the re-run and subsequently withdrew from the meeting.
The re-run of heat 2 saw the Bandits level up the scores as Connor Coles got the better of Edwards to level the scores. Redcar re-established their lead in heat 3 with their first competitive 5-1 of the season as Charles Wright stylishly took the win and with Danyon Hume impressively joining the skipper at the front, Redcar took an 11-7 lead.
Jason Edwards took a superb heat 4 win ahead of Rory Schlein as he rode an intelligent, mature race to hold off the fast charging Australian and with Danny King in 3rd, Redcar were 6 ahead heading into heat 5. However, Berwick immediately hit back and reduced the arrears to 2 points as Jorgensen and Jonas Knudsen combined to hold off Wright and secure a Bandits maximum heat advantage.
After a shared heat 6 won by Rory Schlein, the Bears struck their second 5-1 as Jason Edwards and Danny King combined to send Redcar 6 ahead again after 7 races. Edwards was looking superb and he secured another heat win in heat 8 whilst Bailey rode a clever line to hold off Knudsen to send Redcar into a commanding 10 point advantage.
Schlein was continuing to impress and the Australian won heat 9 despite calculated pressure from Wright but with Coles making a mess of the start, Berwick could not gain a heat advantage. Heat 10 saw Riss make a beautiful bend 3 pass on Jye Etheridge in the opening lap to take the chequered flag whilst Bailey defeated Flint in the battle for 3rd to stretch Redcar’s lead to 12.
Danny King won heat 11 despite Knudsen attempting a “wall of death” pass on bend 2 of the opening lap but with the overworked Edwards at the back, Redcar could not extend their lead further. Wright took a hugely impressive win in heat 12 after some set-up alterations whilst Edwards was the benefactor of some Berwick bad luck as Coles suffered bike problems on the final lap which let Edwards through for 3rd.
Heat 13 saw a superb heat of speedway in the second staging after Riss was forced to go off 15 metres after touching the tapes in the first running of the race. King showed why he will be such an important man for Redcar in 2023 with a scintillating race win ahead of Berwick’s Schlein and Jorgensen as the Bears man used the outside line to pull away from the opposition.
After a shared heat 14 won by Jye Etheridge, Redcar extended their advantage to 16 ahead of the second leg at Shielfield Park after a fantastic heat 15. King, once again showed class is permanent by using the outside line to hold off Schlein and with Wright (racing with a snapped goggle strap) close behind in 3rd, Redcar rounded off a superb victory with the Teessiders now strong favourites ahead of the 2nd leg on April 29th in the borders.
Redcar team boss Gavin Parr was extremely happy with the win, “ I’m really happy with the performance of the side, apart from Jake (Mulford) crashing in heat 2 things couldn’t have gone much better overall. The second strings (Connor & Danyon) did more than was expected of them and that was really encouraging.”
Parr reserved special praise for the man of the match, Jason Edwards who was back to his superb best, “ Jason was fantastic for us at reserve tonight, he really stepped up for us tonight.”
Redcar Bears = 53
1. Erik Riss = 8
2. Connor Bailey = 5+2
3. Charles Wright = 10
4. Danyon Hume = 5+2
5. Danny King = 12+1
6. Jason Edwards = 13+1
7. Jake Mulford : = 0 (Withdrawn)
Berwick Bandits = 37
1. Thomas Jorgensen = 8+1
2. Jonas Knudsen = 4+2
3. Leon Flint = 3
4. Jye Etheridge = 6
5. Rory Schlein = 12
6. Connor Coles = 3
7. Nathan Stoneman = 1