Berwick Bandits

Last updated

Berwick Bandits
Club information
Track address Shielfield Park
Country England
Founded1968;53 years ago (1968)
Team managerScott Courtney
Team captain Aaron Summers
League SGB Championship
Club facts
ColoursBlack and Gold
Track size386 metres (422 yd)
Track record time62.9 seconds
Track record date21 October 2020
Track record holder Dan Bewley
Current team
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Aaron Summers 7.51
Flag of Denmark.svg Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 7.46
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Jye Etheridge 6.84
Flag of Austria.svg Dany Gappmaier 6.32
Flag of Argentina.svg Coty Garcia 4.95
Flag of England.svg Kyle Bickley 3.70
Flag of England.svg Leon Flint 3.33
Major team honours
National League KO Cup Winners 1980, 1989
Div 1 Gold Cup winners1991
Division 3 winners1994, 1995
Premier Four-Team Championship 2002, 2012
Conference League KO Cup Winners1995

Berwick Bandits are a speedway team based at Shielfield Park, Berwick upon Tweed, the club competes in the British SGB Championship. [1] [2] They also run a second team in the National League called Berwick Bullets.




Berwick have been operational in consecutive seasons from 1968 (as founder members of British League Division Two) through to the present day. [3] From 1968 to 1980 they competed in division 2, either in the British League Division 2, or under the new name of the National League (NL). The team won their first honour during the 1980 National League season after winning the Division 2 Knockout Cup. In 1980, Berwick left Shielfield Park after a disagreement with the landlords Berwick Rangers FC. They raced their remaining fixtures as 'Nomads' including racing the second leg of the KO cup final at Brough Park Newcastle. In 1981 the Bandits were still homeless and carried on riding home fixtures at Barrow, Workington and Glasgow before being forced to quit NL racing after a protest from Edinburgh boss Mike Parker. The Bandits were, however, allowed to defend their KO Cup, reaching the final against Edinburgh, which the Monarchs won. [4] Wayne Brown was national league riders champion in 1980.


Between 1982 and 1995, Berwick Bandits were based at the Berrington Lough track near Ancroft, Northumberland. The last meeting staged at Berrington Lough was the Academy League KO Cup Final 1st Leg v Stoke Potters on the 21st of October 1995; the final race was won by Glyn Taylor after Kevin Little's bike packed up whilst leading. It was during this period that the club experienced their most success. They won their second Division 2 knockout Cup in 1989 and the 1994 British League Division Three title before completing the league and cup double during the 1995 Academy League season. During the 1991 British League season (the team's only top flight season, whilst owned by Entrepreneur Terry Lindon) they won the Gold Cup. [5] Steve McDerrmott was also national league riders champion in 1983.


On 9 July 1995, bikes returned to Shielfield Park for the first time in 15 years so that council officials could carry out noise tests, and on 17 August 1996, the Bandits returned to Shielfield Park for their second spell at the Tweedmouth track. Berwick won the Premier League Four-Team Championship in 2002. In 2005, the team finished 2nd in the Premier League and reached the semi-finas of the Knockout Cup and Young Shield. [6] In 2008, the Bandits made the final of the Young Shield, losing out to Workington Comets in what turned out to be promoter Peter Waite's last meeting in charge.

In 2009, a new shortlived promotion came in, spearheaded by longtime supporter and North Berwick butcher John Anderson, with Cornhill shopkeeper Linda Waite (no relation to Peter) joining John and his sons. On 26 July 2010, the Berwick promotion announced that there had been a change in ownership. Lynda Waite stepped down but remained a sponsor of the 2010 Bordernapolis event. After her departure, John Anderson announced the new investor was George Hepburn, owner of Berwick building contractor George Hepburn and Son Ltd., a long-term supporter of the Bandits and sponsor of rider Lee Complin. Following the announcement of George Hepburn's investment, it was then announced that Dave Peet (team manager, late-2008 to mid-2010) had departed from the club and had been replaced by the track curator and staff manager Ian Rae. Rae's association with speedway in Berwick-upon-Tweed extended back to his role as stadium manager at their Berrington Lough Stadium, followed by several years – up until 2001 – as team manager.

Berwick won the Premier League Four-Team Championship for a second time in 2012. In 2015, the Bandits owner John Anderson announced mid-season, amid a run of poor results [7] and dwindling attendances, that it was time for new blood to come aboard, either in the form of a takeover, or by an input of new ideas and capital investment. [8] The other option available was the closure of the club and the liquidation of the club's assets. After some months of apparent inactivity and inertia, three new associate directors came aboard, and the Bandits declared their intention to continue in advance of the Speedway Promoters Annual Meeting. The Associate Directors were a trio of Berwick-based businessmen, with successful enterprises and connections in the Berwick community, something that had been identified as a weakness in the previous management structure. The trio consisted of Michael Mullan of Castle Blinds, Dennis Hush of Ideal Carpets, and property investor Darren Amers.

In August 2016 it was announced that the trio of Hush, Mullan and Amers had resigned their positions citing the incumbent owner's reluctance to change. On 4 September 2016, Berwick Speedway issued a statement from Bandits promoter and owner John Anderson, on behalf of his fellow directors Ryan Anderson and George Hepburn, that the 2016 season was to be their last in charge and the club was up for sale as a going concern and they were ready to talk to interested parties. [9] On 21 October 2016, the club announced it had new owners: 2016 team manager Scott Courtney, his younger Brother Jamie Courtney and 1992 World Champion Gary Havelock. [10] [11] In January 2018, it was revealed in Companies House returns that Havelock had left the club, and was no longer a director, and on 5 November 2018, a statement was issued saying that Scott and Jamie Courtney were putting the club up for sale. However, on 19 November 2018, Jamie Courtney announced the club would run in 2019. Scott Courtney took a 'back-seat role' in the club, leaving his brother Jamie, along with new co-promoters Gary Flint and Steven Dews. Dennis McCleary, who was co-promoter with Scott Courtney, stepped down from his role for the 2019 season.

In 2019, Berwick narrowly missed out on a play-off spot for the second season running. [12]

Season summary (Bandits)

Extended content
Year and leaguePositionNotes
1968 British League Division Two season 10th
1969 British League Division Two season 14th
1970 British League Division Two season 16th
1971 British League Division Two season 8th
1972 British League Division Two season 14th
1973 British League Division Two season 17th
1974 British League Division Two season 11th
1975 New National League season 7th
1976 National League season 10th
1977 National League season 18th
1978 National League season 11th
1979 National League season 4th
1980 National League season 4th Knockout Cup winners
1981 National League season N/Awithdrew, results expunged
1982 National League season 9th
1983 National League season 8th
1984 National League season 5th
1985 National League season 9th
1986 National League season 14th
1987 National League season 6th
1988 National League season 5th
1989 National League season 3rd Knockout Cup winners
1990 National League season 6th
1991 British League season 5th
1992 British League Division Two season 2nd
1994 British League Division Three 1st Champions
1995 Academy League 1st Champions & Knockout Cup winners
1996 Speedway Conference League 3rd
1997 Premier League speedway season 13th
1998 Premier League speedway season 12th
1999 Premier League speedway season 7th
2000 Premier League speedway season 12th
2001 Premier League speedway season 12th
2002 Premier League speedway season 4th
2003 Premier League speedway season 5th
2004 Premier League speedway season 9th
2005 Premier League speedway season 2nd
2006 Premier League speedway season 11th
2007 Premier League speedway season 15th
2008 Premier League speedway season 6th
2009 Premier League speedway season 12th
2010 Premier League speedway season 8th
2011 Premier League speedway season 9th
2012 Premier League speedway season 10th
2013 Premier League speedway season 10th
2014 Premier League speedway season 4th
2015 Premier League speedway season 10th
2016 Premier League speedway season 10th
SGB Championship 2017 10th
SGB Championship 2018 5th
SGB Championship 2019 5th
SGB Championship 2021 tbc

Season summary (juniors)

Extended content

Berwick Bullets formerly Berwick Border Raiders are the development side to the Bandits. [13] For the 2021 National League season, the team was Leon Flint and Kyle Bickley (the two riders named as the reserves for the main team in 2021) [14] with the remaining five riders being: Greg Blair, Ben Rathbone, Ryan MacDonald, Kieran Douglas, and Mason Watson. [15]

Year and leaguePositionNotes
1997 Speedway Conference League 2ndBorder Raiders
2021 National Development League speedway season tbcBullets

Riders previous seasons

Extended content

2019 team

2016 team

also rode

2015 team

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2014 team

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2013 team

Also rode

2012 team

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2011 team

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2010 team

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2009 team

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2008 team

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2007 team

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2006 team

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  2. Berwick Advertiser
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  5. "Year by Year". Speedway Researcher. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  6. Oakes, P.(2006). Speedway Star Almanac. ISBN   0-9552376-1-0
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  8. "BANDITS CLARIFY FUTURE - British Speedway Official Website". Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  9. "BANDITS FOR SALE - British Speedway Official Website". Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  10. "BANDITS FIGHT ON - British Speedway Official Website". Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  11. "BANDITS BACKING NEW PLANS - British Speedway Official Website". Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  12. "British Speedway Official Website". Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  13. "National Development League Details". Speedway GB. 24 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  14. "Bullet Club!". Berwick Bandits. 24 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  15. "Berwick Bulllets Lineup!". Berwick Bandits. 28 February 2021. Retrieved 28 February 2021.