Edinburgh Monarchs’ newly-appointed skipper Sam Masters has arrived back in the UK and declared today: “It’s going to be full on the gas from now on.”
The Australian, already a double title winner with the team, is gearing up for a new campaign which begins with a challenge match against Belle Vue Aces at Armadale on Saturday, April 2.
“I’m set up as much as I can be from here,” he said. “I will have a bit to do but nothing too hard. My bikes are in bits and I have just got to build them up but I have got a couple of weeks to do it.”
Masters is excited at the prospect of becoming captain and a lot of fans would agree he is the perfect man to succeed Craig Cook in the role. “I seem to be able to talk to the other boys in the pits and even when I wasn’t captain I would try and help out,” said Masters. “I have never really wanted to be captain before, but this year I’m actually looking forward to it.
“It will be good fun and a bit of a challenge.
“I get on really well with Ryan (Fisher) and I think he can step it up by adding a point to his average. Kevin (Wolbert) got better with every meeting last season and I believe he will have another good year. And Erik (Riss) is sure to move forward after his debut season in 2015.”
Masters is also optimistic that reserve Max Clegg will flourish at the tail end. “He looks very keen, he just needs to be better on some of the away tracks in the Premier League. Once he gets his head round that his average should increase too.”
Masters has been friends with Monarchs’ new signing and fellow Aussie Jye Etheridge for a number of years but admits it’s hard to judge how Etheridge will adapt to speedway life in the UK. “It’s a totally different ball game over here. I could watch someone over in Australia as much as I want but when they get to Britain or Europe, so many riders can change.
“Yet for some reason I actually got better when I arrived in the UK. It’s head game I think. If you are confident of going well you can do it, otherwise it can take a while to make your mark. It will take Jye a while to settle in but he is a good rider and he will get the hang of it.”
Masters will have a bulging racing calendar in 2016. He will be riding in Poland and Denmark in addition to doubling-up with Wolverhampton Wolves in the Elite League.
Masters, who will be based in Leicester, went on: “I wrote out the fixtures the other night and there weren’t as many clashes as I thought there would be.
“One good thing, if I’m in Poland or Denmark I can fly to Edinburgh and Jye, who will also be based down south, can drive up to Armadale. Jye is actually going to do my bikes and will also help me in the Elite League and will get round a lot more tracks doing that. Good for me, good for him.”
Last season was a slightly disappointing one for Masters mainly due to injury, but for the second year in a row he combined with Cook for the league winning 5-1. Masters is definitely looking to kick on this time.
“I bought a moto-cross bike about a month ago and I have been racing that so I’m feeling pretty good on the bike. Hopefully I can start the season like I did last year, but this time I want to keep my form going for the whole of the season.”
Meanwhile, Monarchs have appointed Border Roofing owners Eddie and Norma McKenna on to the board of directors. Border Roofing were team sponsors last campaign and will continue in 2016.