Edinburgh Monarchs’ American star Aaron Fox makes his return from injury against Plymouth Devils in tonight’s Premier League speedway clash at Armadale and admits: “I need to start all over again.”
Fox suffered a deep gash to his thigh when he crashed into the air fence against Ipswich Witches at home last month and reopened the infected wound in the return fixture at Foxhall Heath, forcing him to miss Monarchs last three meetings.
But the Californian, who was just starting to show glimpses of his true potential before his mishap, says he is ready to build on what he has achieved so far. He said: “Everything is good with my leg and I’m really looking forward to getting back in the saddle. Because the hospital could not re-stitch my wound or do anything to close it up, it’s had to heal on its own. I’ve had to let the antibiotics fight the infection and it’s looking good now.”
Fox went on: “It’s been a very frustrating time for me. Before the accident we had some easy opposition and I had managed to score some good points, which got my confidence going. It’s just been my luck lately that I fell off, but I hope I can now turn things around from here and at least show half the form I was in before I hit the deck.
“I felt things were coming together. I had my bike dialled in the way I wanted and I was trying different things with the clutch and found a set-up which worked for me. That makes things a lot easier when things are clicking together, so it was unfortunate for my tumble to happen at that time.”
Yet when Fox lay sprawled on the track on the first bend the prognosis was he had broken his leg. “I know, but it was just bad luck really. I didn’t even go down that hard. But on my throttle I’ve got a stop-screw than hangs off the bottom and when I hit the air fence my body momentum moved me forward and my thigh got caught on that screw and ripped my leg wide open. It wasn’t a high speed crash.”
When Fox was unveiled as a new Monarch during the winter, his signing was considered something out of left field one and not everybody was convinced of his credentials for life in the rough and tumble of the British Premier League.
And Fox is candid in revealing just how big the jump has been compared to life on the slick, freeway style circuits he has been accustomed to back home. “It’s a completely different set-up and I’m having to learn things all over again. That’s what I have been trying to do. I’m using motors I haven’t used before and trying out new frames. It’s been a long road to figure things out over here.
“You don’t really learn to ride a speedway bike properly in the States because the tracks don’t have a lot of dirt on them. Here I have had to change my style and also be strong and fit on the bike. You have got to know what you’re doing, otherwise you’ll get hurt.”
Fox has been a spectator as Monarchs have increased their unbeaten spell to 17 matches, which they achieved with a huge 63-28 win over Sheffield Tigers in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final last week. “It’s amazing just how well the guys have been doing,” said Fox. “I’m really impressed with them – they are riding so well and making things happen when it needs to be done, especially Craig (Cook) in these last heat deciders. If I can start to ride harder at the away tracks it will be better for the team. Scoring three or four points can make a difference to the final outcome sometimes.
“But I think that I have got Armadale sussed out, which is really important too. I’m just looking forward to riding again tonight and to score some points would get my confidence up.”
Plymouth may have to work hard to give Monarchs a genuine challenge as they are without injured duo Adam Roynon and Roland Benko, and are also sweating over the fitness of former Monarch Kalle Katajisto, who injured his wrist in their KO Cup quarter-final success against Peterborough Panthers seven days ago.
Monarchs are also in league action at Workington Comets tomorrow night, and will be hoping for a repeat of their League Cup success at Derwent Park earlier in the season.
Meanwhile, Cook has been drawn to race in Gorican, Croatia, for his Grand Prix semi-final round on Saturday, June 21.