Rider profiles - photos by www.grahamplatten.co.uk
2007 rider profiles
Photo of Michal Makovsky

Michal Makovsky, (b: 6-4-1976, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic)

Michal skippers the side into their 40th season of action in what will be his 7th straight season on Tweedside, the longest serving Bandit for many a long year. His love of speedway was kindled near his home town when he was 17, in 1993. His official debut in official UK competition came for the Bandits on March 31st, 2001 at Shielfield Park vs. Sheffield Tigers in the Premier Trophy when he scored 10+1 from 5 rides. 2 years before that he had become the Czech National Champion in a fine display of racing. He’s steadily improved over his many years with Berwick, skippering the side to their highest Premier league placing in 2005 and was the top scoring Bandit that season with a whopping 505 points to his name in that ever-present year. He’s highly experienced and motivational having ridden in World Cups, Internationals and Grand Prix. He is one of Berwick’s all-time best and favourites with the crowd. Seven years down the line there’s still a wealth of points and thrilling racing to come from the Czech. Initial 2007 average is 7.36.


Sebastian Trumiñski. (born 18-April-1980)

Made his fully licensed speedway debut in 1997, riding for LK¯ Lublin in ’98 and ’99 before moving to T¯ Opole in 2000, then returning to Lublin in 2001, the team he’s still connected with.

He’s been keen on hi-adrenaline sports for all his life, getting his speedway qualifications with some ease, although has had a general motorcycle interest too.

He has followed closely the careers of his idols, Hans Nielsen and Tony Rickardsson which has helped him race with a higher positive level of professionalism.

He has scored good points in 2001 so far including a match recently in Polish Liga 1 this week where he scored 10+3 from 5 rides for Lublin away at Gorzow which Lublin won 54-36. In Trumiñski’s heats he beat the current Premier League Riders’ Champion, Magnus Zetterstrom of Somerset and Gorzow twice, which is no mean feat as Berwick can testify from this season alone.

Andreas Bergstrom

Andreas Bergström, (b: 27-8-1978, Avesta, Sweden)

Andreas was a late release rider for the Bandits in the last leg leading up to the 2006 season, and his somewhat quiet gating style made his a supporters’ favourite as to score his points he had to indulge in a lot of very exciting round-the-boards passing moves. His thrill-a-minute style gained him a decent average in his debut UK season, as he jelled into the side with ease. He had first been seen in the UK as part of a Young Sweden touring team in 2000, during which he set a new Glasgow track record! In order to land the Swede on Tweedside, Peter Waite had to fend off the challenges of several other clubs. His UK debut was against Sheffield at Owlerton (baptism of fire if ever there was one) when he scored a solid 8. Initial 2007 average 6.16.


Jacek (Jac the lad) Rempala, (b: 16-11-1971, Tarnow, Poland)

Jac really made a massive impact in his handful of matches for Berwick in his 1st term in the North last season, sadly ending up in Wansbeck General with nasty back injuries. Thankfully he is now fully recovered and raring to go in 2007, determined to carry on where he left off, and that means scoring big points for Berwick. He did have one other expedition into British speedway many years ago with, if memory serves, Ipswich, but never made the impact expected at the time. He came in last season for Lee Smethills and also took several excellent races for Coventry in the Elite League. Not having ridden the requisite number of matches, his initial 2007 average is still assessed at 8.00.

Stanisaw Burza

Stanislaw (Stan the man) Burza, (b: 28-9-1977, Tarnow, Poland)

Stan was oh-so-nearly the Stan the man that got away with Peter Waite having been trying to get his signature for 4 or 5 previous seasons. Having come on board last year at last, the rest of Berwick could see why Waite’s enthusiasm for his typically Polish, thrilling style of racing had been so doggedly determined – The guy’s a star! He had originally been looking at racing at Arena-Essex (now Lakeside) before they decided very late in the day not to employ his highly exciting services, much to Berwick’s delight and advantage. His entire Polish career has been with his home town club of Tarnow whom with his help won the EkstraLiga title in 2004 and 2005. His Polish average has hovered around the 4.5 mark, but in the UK he has shined with Berwick to gain an initial 2007 average of 7.16.

David Meldrum

David Meldrum, 6 October 1977, Berwick upon Tweed

David is yet again making a return to his home town track with the Berwick management fully behind him, believing this will be the year of his big break. “Victor’s” just back from the USA where he’s been busy at the Anthony Barlow Ice Racing circuit, again doing rather well. He’s the nephew of former Bandit from 1969-73, Andy Meldrum, and first rode at the old Berrington Lough track’s little training track on a 125cc Honda. His debut at professional level was made for Berwick at Hull on April 2nd, 1997, scoring 7+1 from 7 rides. He has also made appearances for Wimbledon, Somerset, Newcastle and Boston to name but 4, and has suffered in the past from a degree of inconsistency, which has tended to overshadow his seasons. He’s determined to make 2006 count, so could be another to watch closely.


Sam Martin , (b: Adelaide)

He is a youngster who’s shown great promise in his short career, winning the Australian U-16 pairs championship with Jason Norman in 2004 and was the Division 3 champion in 2005. His UK career began on May 14th 2004 for Oxford Academy vs. Swindon in the Conference League scoring 5+2 from 5 rides.

He remained with Oxford until 2006 when he went to the Boston Barracuda Braves before returning to Oxford for the start of this season, but now is looking to his first bash at the Premier League with the Bandits.


Michael Coles, (b: 11-8-1965, Exeter, Devon)

Michael was the last, and certainly the most unexpected addition to the 2007 Bandits’ side, indeed it came as a big shock to himself, having set his 2007 sights on a season with the Oxford Conference side, but Peter Waite is a man not to let talent and vast experience go to waste, bringing him back to the Premier League. He once named Shielfield Park as one of his favourite tracks, so that should put him in good stead for some good home meetings. He’s had a few off seasons of late for various reasons, but that’s all in the past now, and the class act that is M. Coles is on his way back. He is the son of former rider, Bob, and first rode at Exeter’s County Ground in 1980. In his vast career he’s appeared for the Falcons, Weymouth, Mildenhall, Edinburgh, Newport, Stoke, Belle Vue and Oxford and now Berwick. Both he and the club are desperately keen to see a return to form for him, and he’ll be doing everything in his power to repay the belief shown in him by Berwick so far. Initial 2007 average 4.90.

  Benji Compton, (b: 17-9-1986, Tenerife, Spain)

Benji is the riding younger brother of a famous sibling, namely Sheffield’s André who’s set Yorkshire alight with his racing. Benji too has ridden some spectacular races at Owlerton, riding 2006 for the main team. Prior to this he’d been with the Owlerton Prowlers and Newcastle Gems at Conference Level, making his debut for the latter, as well as Milfenhall, Boston and Scunthorpe. He has undoubtedly still to realise his full speedway potential and it’s hoped this switch to another big track like Shielfield will provide him with the means and inspiration to do so. Initial 2007 average 3.02.


John Branney, (b: 7-11-1985, Whitehaven, Cumbria)

John is of course the younger brother of last year’s top Berwick reserve, Craig and is keen to emulate his sibling’s efforts. His first experience of sliding a bike sideways in earnest came on the beach at Maryport in late 2000. Also riding Motocross and trials, he made his UK speedway debut at third division level for Rye House at Newcastle Gems on April 7th, 2002, scoring 3 from 5 outings. In 2005 he assisted Oxford take the Conference League title, but must now see 2007 as his big chance to break into regular Premier League racing. Initially his 2007 average kicks off as an assessed 3.00.