After the disappointment of narrowly losing out on aggregate to Ipswich Witches in last Friday’s Knockout Cup tie, the Cases Somerset Rebels return to Premier League action at the Oaktree Arena on Friday evening (7.30pm).
Visitors Berwick Bandits, like the Rebels, have three British riders in their ranks this year, including 2010 Premier League Riders’ Champion Ricky Ashworth, who made a surprise move away from Sheffield.
Berwick captain Lee Complin and ex-Rebel Jason King, the Maidstone-born rider who rode for Somerset back in 2005, are also among the ranks, as is Luboš Tomiček, the Czech who rode a handful of matches for Somerset in 2010.
Two Swedish riders, Sebastian Aldén and Alexander Edberg, complete the Bandits line-up.
Tipped by the speedway pundits to be in contention for at least a top-six play-off spot this year, the Bandits have been ‘chalk and cheese’ when comparing their home and away form.
While being unbeaten at their Shielfield Park home, they have yet to taste victory on their travels, and the Rebels are hoping to extend that sequence on Friday night.
For the Rebels, while they will welcome back the quartet that were forced to miss last Friday’s win over Ipswich due to World Under-21 semi-final commitments, from which Sam Masters qualified for the finals, they will continue to be without Dane Claus Vissing as he continues his recovery from a punctured lung sustained in a crash at Sheffield last week.
The Rebels will be operating a rider replacement in his absence.
“We must put last week’s disappointment of narrowly going out of the KO Cup behind us and fully concentrate on continuing to pick up points in order to keep ourselves in the upper reaches of the Premier League table,” said Rebels promoter Debbie Hancock.
“Although Berwick have not been the best of travellers so far this year, they have riders in their ranks that have always shown a liking for riding at the Oaktree Arena, so we will need to overcome the loss of Claus from the meeting and fully focus on the job in hand in order to pick up the maximum three league points that are available to us.
“Friday night will also be the first opportunity that the Somerset fans will have to welcome back Sam (Masters) following his qualification for the World Under-21 Finals, so no doubt they will want to turn out to give him a good cheer, as well as cheering on the Rebels to victory over the Bandits.”