Berwick Bandits side took a huge step to completion with the announcement this week that popular Dane Claus Kristensen is to return to the Border outfit. Kristensen has also been revealed as the Bandit's new skipper, taking over the mantle from last year's captain, and fellow 2004 returnee, David Meldrum.

The Dane was introduced to British Speedway racing by Berwick's promoter Peter Waite in 1999 before he went out on loan to Swindon for 2 seasons. He returned to North Northumberland in 2002 when he had a patchy year to say the least, but survived a winter to be recalled for last season too. His 2003 began in a subdued manner before his average dictated he drop to reserve, a move that revitalised his career and enthusiasm leading to some massive scoring including tallies of 19 and 20.

"Claus was always a target for me once again for 2004," claimed Waite, "as, like so many of our team for the coming year, I know his best is still to come. He also has the full commitment and respect of the other riders in the team which is why, coupled with his new burst of enthusiasm, I have handed him the captaincy, a roll he is relishing taking on for 2004.

"We were delighted with David Meldrum's leadership last year after Paul Bentley stepped down from the Skippership, but it has been a mutually agreed arrangement that for 2004 Claus should lead the way in the pits, and it's a move I believe that can only nurture big success in Berwick as he is such a fine and influential figure."