Bears claw back Monarchs in race for the play-offs

Ricky Wells was top man for Monarchs at Sheffield
Ricky Wells was top man for Monarchs at Sheffield
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Redcar Bears cut the gap on Edinburgh Monarchs in the battle for the fourth play-off spot to just two points with a comfortable victory against the Capital side on Teesside last night

After a dream start to the match, the Bears ran out 52-41 winners, fending off a late but futile fightback from Monarchs, who were 12 points down after just three heats.

Monarchs made a nightmare start to the meeting conceding three 5-1’s in the first three races to find themselves 15-3 behind and facing a veritable mountain to climb at this early stage. In the first race, guest Ty Proctor got beaten up on the first bend and couldn’t catch Bears’ opening pairing of Ben Barker and Ellis Perks. And, in the next race, Max Clegg made a mess of the first turn and was very poor at the back leaving Bears duo Tobias Busch and Danny Ayres to romp away in comfortable fashion.

Worse was to follow in heat three when Ricky Wells picked up drive on the first bend and ran into the safety fence. He was excluded from the rerun which the Bears won 5-1. The home side were in dreamland, Monarchs were caught in the depths of despair.

Monarchs finally stopped the rot in heat four when Erik Riss and Mitchell Davey scrambled a 4-2, cutting Monarchs’ deficit to ten points.

And the Capital side stormed to their first 5-1 of the meeting in the fifth race when Mark Riss and Proctor outpaced Jason Garrity and Jonas B Andersen to slash the Bears’ lead to just six points, 18-12.

Was this the start of a fightback? The short answer was no as Barker and Perks scored their second 5-1 of the match to stretch Bears lead to ten points, 23-13. Erik Riss gated but suffered an engine failure on the first lap.

Monarchs handed Wells a tactical outing in heat seven in a bid to arrest their arrears and he won the race in style and, with Josh Pickering in third spot, rounding Busch on the last lap for third place, Monarchs collected a big 7-2 advantage to close the gap to just five points, 25-20.

But Redcar pulled further ahead with a 4-2 in heat nine, Andersen and Garrity defeating Erik Riss and Pickering. The Bears now led 32-25.

And the home side maintained that lead when the next two races were shared. In heat 13, Proctor fell off and slid under the air fence and was disqualified from the rerun which the Bears won with a 4-2 to pull nine points clear with two races left.

And the Bears clinched the match with a 5-1 in heat 14 from Andersen and Busch over Davey and Max Clegg, who had a woeful night picking up just one point. Wells was Monarchs’ standout performer with 15 points from his five rides.

Redcar: Barker 11, Andersen 10, Perks 7, Garrity 7, Wright 7, Busch 7, Ayres 3.

Monarchs: Wells 15, E Riss 8, Proctor 7, M Riss 5, Davey 3, Pickering 2, Clegg 1.

ARMADALE restages the Caledonian Riders Championship tonight.

A 12-man field comprising a mixture of experienced riders and those who are on the cusp of making a breakthrough will battle out to lift the trophy.

Monarchs reserve Mitchell Davey is among the frontrunners chasing glory and a podium spot would seem a certainity. But he could be pushed all the way by Workington duo James Sarjeant and Mason Campton, who are no slouches. Glasgow’s Tom Perry should be in the mix as well.

The meeting is sponsored by Linlithgow Tyres and Exhausts whose boss Alan Robertson is a long-time supporter of junior speedway.