Edinburgh Monarchs’ fears that Berwick Bandits would spring a Border raid at Armadale last night proved to be unfounded as they crushed their rivals 61-31.
The victory opened Monarchs’ League Cup speedway qualifying campaign in convincing fashion.
On a track made heavy by overnight rain, Monarchs, who sometimes are not noted for their ability in the wet, simply took command of proceedings and the revamped Bandits squad never got a look in.
And it was Berwick’s ex Monarchs duo of Matthew Wethers and Claus Vissing who probably prevented their team from being completely whitewashed. Vissing scored 11 points from his five outings and was the only opposition rider to beat Monarchs No.1 Craig Cook.
Wethers picked up ten points and showed he hasn’t lost his touch round his former home. But they received scant support from their team-mates, notably at reserve where Liam Carr, who guested for Monarchs a number of times last year, and Steen Jensen, were outclassed by their Monarchs counterparts Justin Sedgemen and Steve Worrall who racked up nine points each.
Jensen managed just two points and Carr failed to score, and Berwick will be pretty dismayed by their shortcomings.
This was such a one-sided contest that Monarchs had the points in the bag as early as the eighth race when they led 32-16. And although Berwick sent out Vissing and Kevin Doolan for tactical rides, it brought them little reward as they were submerged by Monarchs’ relentless points tide.
Monarchs will be buoyed by the solidity of their scoring and especially happy that American signing Aaron Fox broke his points duck. The Californian collected a quartet of third places for his four-point tally and was smiling in the pits afterwards. “I felt a lot happier out there, and to finally score some points for the team, it’s what I’m here to do,” he said.
Monarchs boss John Campbell, who was convinced Berwick would run his side close, said: “It was a very convincing win for us, track conditions were very difficult because of all the rain, but our boys adapted very well to it.
“Only Claus Vissing and Matthew Wethers provided any real opposition to us.”
Campbell thinks one reason why Berwick were so insipid was down to their inability to ignore the greasy track surface.
He said: “I think they put themselves off – they did not fancy the track and that is always a positive in our favour. We just cracked on and got on with it, and in that manner things became fairly easy for us. I’m pleased for Aaron as well, he was consistent from the gate and challenging into the first corner, and that’s what he wasn’t doing last week.
“Aaron gave himself a chance to score points and that’s what he did, and this will help his confidence no end.”
However Campbell urged caution ahead of tonight’s return clash at Shielfield Park, warning: “ It will be a completely different situation. But if Craig scores the way we know he can all we need is another rider to back him up, and I think we have got a chance.
“But I think Aaron might find the Berwick track to be a bit testing!. The main thing is we have made a great start to our League Cup campaign on what was a very pleasing evening for everybody.”
• Monarchs: Cook 14, Fricke 10, Sneddon 9, Sedgemen 9, Worrall 9, Masters 6, Fox 4.
Berwick:- Vissing 11, Wethers 10, Doolan 5, Bellego 3, Jensen 2, Kus 0, Carr 0.