Rampant Edinburgh Monarchs have all but clinched their place in the League Cup speedway semi-finals with two qualifying fixtures to spare after a stunning quickfire double over hot favourites Workington Comets.
After a commanding 55-38 success at home on Friday few believed Monarchs would repeat the trick at Derwent Park just 24 hours later. But Monarchs stunned their Cumbrian hosts with a 50-43 triumph to make it six wins out of six since the season started in March.
The last time they accomplished that feat was back in 2008 when they went on to claim their second British Premier League crown. And Monarchs will create a club record if they defeat Glasgow Tigers in their penultimate group clash at Armadale on Friday.
The victory against a Comets squad, who have been lauded as potential championship candidates this year, was astonishing really, bearing in mind they were without injured skipper Derek Sneddon. And when you consider Craig Cook managed to win just one race round his old track, and Aaron Fox failed to score, it rammed home the belief that the Capital outfit could well upset the title applecart if they reach the play-offs in September.
Workington were shell-shocked in the first half as Monarchs stormed into a 23-13 lead after six races. But the Comets rallied and slashed that deficit to just three points by heat 12 which placed some pressure on Monarchs to respond after they had been on cruise mode earlier in the match.
But respond they did in the very next race when Aussie Sam Masters and Cook conjured up a brilliant 5-1 against Comets’ top duo of Josh Grajczonek and Dane Rene Bach. And when Max Fricke and reserve ace Steve Worrall replicated that effort in heat fourteen, Monarchs were home and hosed. The 5-1 the Comets gained in heat fifteen after Masters was excluded for spinning off on the first corner was academic, and flattered the home side’s final tally.
Masters rode impressively and produced a trio of race wins from an 11-point haul. He said: “I think the Workington boys thought they would win the meeting, however we stuck together and pushed each other through. We had a very good meeting and I was pretty happy with how I rode, apart from that last race!” The advantage of having two decent scoring reserve riders is paying huge dividends for Monarchs as they await Sneddon’s return from the sidelines. And co-boss John Campbell reckons this result will open people’s eyes to Monarchs’ true potential. He said: “It was a very good night for us. The team is going so well at the moment and we are very strong at reserve, and that gives us a chance no matter where we go.
“Our reserves were dominant against Workington’s again and that was a crucial factor. If you have one good reserve in the Premier League it gives you an advantage, if you possess two, as we do, that is a very pleasing situation to be in.”
Campbell continued: “People will look at this win and perhaps think Workington are not as good as they think they are. And people might also believe that Edinburgh are a much better side than was first thought.”
Worrall was Monarchs’ top scorer on 13 points from six outings. His tail-end partner Justin Sedgemen weighed in with six but suffered an engine failure in heat eight which gifted a 5-1 to the Comets.
So Monarchs have shot the Comets down twice within the space of 24 hours. The real test though will be if they can do it once the league campaign is up and running.
Workington: Bach 14, Grajczonek 11, Wells 6, Campton 5, Morris 4, Howarth 3, Mills 0.
Monarchs: Worrall 13, Masters 11, Fricke 10, Cook 10, Sedgemen 6, Fox 0.