Fans cough up dough for Cookie’s Monarchs deal

Craig Cook will ride for Monarchs next year. Pic: Ron MacNeill

Craig Cook will ride for Monarchs next year. Pic: Ron MacNeill

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CRAIG COOK’S return as Edinburgh Monarchs No.1 at Armadale next season came close to collapsing – until two generous supporters stepped in to save the day.

Cook travelled up to attend Monarchs’ annual video show in Leith, but promoter John Campbell told a stunned audience that Cook was unable to put pen to paper until further sponsorship was found for him.

While the news was being digested, two supporters – one of them Monarchs’ newest director Brian Gray – bridged the funding gap and Cook was officially confirmed as the Capital club’s fifth signing.

Cook said: “Monarchs is where my heart lies and anyone who watched the Championship Final video will know how much this club means to me.”

Sam Masters, as expected, will also be back and the popular heat leader said he is happy with how next season’s team is progressing. Masters has also been able to watch new teammate Robert Branford first-hand in Australia.

Masters said: “Robert will be a good rider. He has a real good go on the track and has been riding well in Australia. The team is shaping up nicely, and I’m stoked Craig has signed on again. Me and him are awesome together.”

Masters also revealed he will be using the same engines which brought him so much success last season for 2015.

“They were brand new at the start of last season and I’ve got another new engine as well. The one I used towards the end of last year was also quite new. I want to get a few meetings in Germany next season and I’d like to get some practice in before the new campaign begins.”

Masters would have liked to have doubled up in the Elite League, but visa restrictions have ruled that out for all the Australian stars.

And he is irritated by the regulations. “It’s more hassle than people think,” he said. “People ask why I’m still in the Premier League, but there are less meetings in the Elite League and you get so well looked after in the Premier League.

“It could also stuff up our visas and I don’t want another drama and to miss another year. But I think we need to move forward in the sport.”