Monarchs ace Branford gears up for fitness battle

Rob Branford was ruled out for five weeks by a shoulder injury. Pic: Ron MacNeill

Rob Branford was ruled out for five weeks by a shoulder injury. Pic: Ron MacNeill

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ROB BRANFORD today admitted he is going to need loads of endeavour and hard work to get his speedway season back on track after a five-week lay-off following a shoulder injury sustained against Glasgow Tigers in June.

The 21-year-old returned to the Edinburgh Monarchs saddle last week but says he is finding race wins hard to come by. He knows he must start shining at reserve with a host of important meetings coming up for the Capital side over the second half of the season. Branford made his comeback in Monarchs’ KO Cup quarter-final first leg tie at Redcar Bears and took the chequered flag in his first ride but, at home against Rye House Rockets and away to Plymouth Devils in the Premier League, he couldn’t add to that single victory.

Branford told the Evening News: “I have done four meetings since I came back and I’m feeling it a bit. I’m still very weak in my shoulder and arms simply because I haven’t been on my bike for a long period. But I’m confident if, I work hard and keep riding as much as I can, I’ll be back to where I was before my crash.

“The Redcar cup match was tough for me even although I won my opening race. I was struggling to hold on at times. The track down there, and also at Armadale, you have to pull hard on your arms to get round. I need to return to full fitness and hopefully it shouldn’t take too long.”

Branford says his aim to push his average up has stalled for the time being, confessing: “I’m having to start from scratch again really because it is always hard to come back from any injury.

“Your body is obviously not as strong as it was at the start of the season and that is something of a downside for me. I had done thirty-five meetings before my crash but I can’t use injuries as an excuse for not winning enough races.

“But I need to kick on again and it is frustrating for me that I have not reached the potential I had hoped for when I joined Edinburgh. I know I can achieve better and I will try my best. Sometimes I think I try too hard.”