Edinburgh Monarchs bosses had little or no idea what they would get from Dan Bewley when they selected him as their No.7 reserve rider following an open practice session at Armadale in March.
Now, however, it looks as if they might have hit the jackpot. Bewley, a 17-year-old from Cumbria, has suddenly made the tail-end berth his own with a surge of form that has propelled Monarchs to third place in the Premier League.
Bewley has amassed almost 30 points from his last three meetings, including a ten-point effort which secured the Capital side an impressive away victory at Peterborough Panthers last weekend, virtually clinching Monarchs’ place in the end-of-season play-offs.
As he prepares to face the Panthers in tonight’s return fixture at the Lothian Arena, Bewley typically played down his on-track transformation, saying: “It’s probably just down to the fact that as the season has gone on I’ve just got better and have gained more experience and time on the bike.”
It has been noticeable that Bewley’s gating has ramped up a few notches, which he admits makes it far easier to take the chequered flag on a more regular basis. “I have made some changes to my starting technique,” he revealed, “and gradually this has helped me improve from the tapes, but it has been nothing major.
“I’ve also made a few tweaks to my bike. It is very important in the Premier League to get out of the starts and if you do that there is a good chance opponents won’t get past you.”
“That is especially crucial at Armadale. There have been some very hard first corners so far this season, so if I can make a good gate I can win races.”
Bewley’s rise up the scoring charts will come as no surprise to those observers who marked the teenager out as a potential star of the future and he said: “Over the first half of the season I didn’t get as many points as I’ve scored in my last three matches for Edinburgh, but I feel good about things now.
“It’s down to learning all the time and I feel a lot more comfortable now with the track at Armadale because it is a circuit which is quite different to anywhere else. The more time you race round it and the more time you spend on the bike the better it gets.”
Bewley, who also races for Belle Vue Colts in the National League, the Manchester club signing him as their own asset at the start of the season, admits he pays little attention to the growing fuss that is being made of him.
He said: “I don’t think of that at all. You just try to go out on race nights and do the best you possibly can. And if you try your hardest, you cannot get criticised too much. I love winning races in front of the Edinburgh fans – it’s better than going home having done nothing!”
Monarchs will certainly be favourites to seal a quick-fire double over the Panthers, Bewley saying: “You would expect us to [win], but anything can happen in speedway. Although the scoreline looked as if it was easy for us at their place, it was quite a hard match with some hard races.”
Monarchs are expecting to get a boost at the turnstiles, with former skipper Craig Cook returning to Armadale for the first time since quitting club last winter. Bewley reckons the action should be tasty.
He said: “A lot of people at Edinburgh still miss Craig and it will be interesting to see how he goes. There should be some good races to watch and I don’t think Craig will struggle one bit. The main thing for us is to win our remaining home fixtures.
“We are in a good position now, but people are writing us off. However, we are showing that we are not a bad team.”