Since dropping down to reserve Edinburgh Monarchs’ young star Max Clegg has grabbed the spotlight with two outstanding performances at Newcastle Diamonds and at home in the return fixture against the Tynesiders.
But at Workington Comets on Sunday he struggled and scored just a single point, admitting today: “It was tough.”
Monarchs were defeated by the Comets 51-42, a result which saw the Derwent Park side move into fourth place in the Championship and into play-off contention.
But Clegg points out the Comets are a team in fine form and will give anyone a run for their money. He said: “Workington is a very tough place to go to, I don’t know what to say about it to be honest.
“It’s always a daunting place to race and they are very strong round their own track.”
Clegg admits that his starts badly let him down and said: “I wasn’t making any starts at all, a few of the boys did, but I certainly wasn’t, and round a place like Workington if you don’t make the gate it’s really hard to make up lost ground.”
Monarchs got off to the worst start imaginable when they yielded two 5-1s in the first two heats. That effectively gave them a mountain to climb, and it proved beyond them.
Said Clegg: “We were all struggling after that setback and on a big fast track like Workington it’s really tough. The Workington boys are flying and are so dialled in, it makes life difficult for any visiting team. But when you are eight points down after just two races it’s very difficult to come back from that.”
After scoring 24 points in his first two meetings at reserve, Clegg says the Workington fixture caught him out. “I feel disappointed with myself but the Workington boys were just so fast.
“I felt I was lacking speed a little and I need to work on my starts, they are absolutely crucial in speedway. If you can’t start and hit the first corner in front of you opponents speedway can become tough.”
Monarchs did stage a comeback of sorts when Erik Riss won his tactical outing to reduce their arrears to just five points. But Monarchs, despite having skipper Sam Masters and Ricky Wells out in heat 15, lost a 5-1 to Craig Cook and Thomas Jorgensen which robbed them of the chance of salvaging a match point.
Promoter John Campbell said: “It‘s very difficult to give Workington eight points of a start and hope to do anything. It was disappointing as well to lose the 5-1 in the final heat and that cost us the chance of a point.”