Californian speed ace Aaron Fox today insisted: “it’s my time to step up” and help Edinburgh Monarchs land a fourth Premier League crown as they prepare to face Somerset Rebels in the Play-Off Grand Final this weekend.
Fox and his reserve partner Derek Sneddon are aware they are under some pressure to produce the scoring goods in the first leg of the showdown at the Oak Tree Arena tomorrow night.
And Fox freely admits that a lot of eyes will be focused on his performance on a track he has not ridden before.
He said: “I’m excited at the prospect that we are in the final and I’m really looking forward to it. I believe it is my time to finally step up and do my part to help win the meeting for the team.
“But I know the first leg will be hard because Somerset do really well round their own circuit. I just want to get stuck in and hopefully score some good points for the rest of the guys, let’s do it.”
Fox was sidelined when Monarchs lost heavily 57-35 in their league visit to Somerset in August after a collision with Berwick’s Matthew Wethers in Sky Sports’ televised clash the night before.
“That was a real disappointment at the time,” said Fox, “but I’m excited about seeing Somerset for the first time it looks like one of the best circuits in the country and I know I will need to make some good starts to make an impact.”
Despite thinking long and hard about his decision to compete in the Premier League for the first time this season, Fox says he made the correct choice about coming over but does concede he was ill-prepared for the helter skelter nature of life in the sport’s second tier at the start of the campaign.
“I have no regrets whatsoever and I couldn’t have wished for a better first season. Edinburgh has been a fantastic club to be part of, everyone has been so helpful and the fans have been great also.
“It has been hard at times but I have had a few moments when I have ridden well. So I know what I need to do to improve for next year.” Fox added: “I definitely want to be back with Edinburgh in 2015. I wouldn’t want to be with another club. And if I can make that happen and Edinburgh want me again, I will be very happy.
“The standard of competition in the Premier League hasn’t really surprised me, I kind of knew what to expect before I flew over. The only thing from a personal angle, was the fact I didn’t quite arrive as fully prepared as I should have been with regards to bikes and engines etc.
“But after a couple of months and with the help of Craig [Cook] I was able to get my stuff together and make it happen.”
There are not too many first time riders who stand on the brink of becoming a member of a league-winning squad and Fox is the first to acknowledge just how lucky he has been so far. “To be part of a team like Edinburgh and with the chance of winning a league title is pretty special and isn’t bad at all for someone who had no great experience of riding in Britain before.”
Somerset are rock solid at home as are Monarchs which suggests things could be very tight over the two legs – an assertion that Fox agrees with.
He said: “Somerset’s team have increased their averages and their top five are extremely strong so it’s going to be a tough gig.
“But I’m quite happy with my gating now and know making fast traps at Somerset is a big thing. Sam [Masters] recently gave me some new clutch plates which was great. When the starts are real deep I do good, it’s when the track hasn’t been ripped up and is slick, that’s when I struggle a bit.”
When Fox returns home to the States next month, hopefully with a memento of gold in his suitcase, he promised: “I have a few things I want to try out over the off-season and to think how I want to approach next year. If I’m back there is no doubt I will be 100 per cent ready.”