For a rider who believes ‘good things happen’ to him, Erik Riss is confident his third spell in Edinburgh Monarchs colours will be his best yet.
The German is determined to make a big impression in the Championship division. “I think it’s going to be a successful campaign for me,” he said. “I’m a really positive guy, I always concentrate on the positives. I have dropped Longtrack from my schedules, which I think is the right decision, and I have found a place in the Premiership with Leicester. Good things happen for me.”
Yet, despite increasing his average last season by on-and-a-half points, Riss wasn’t as authoritative as he could have been around Armadale. He said: “I started off really well and had good results in 2016. As the year wore on, with my Longtrack commitments I began to struggle a bit and didn’t score as many points as I did at the start. That’s why fans got the impression I wasn’t shining as much. This year I will shine all year.
“When you have a Longtrack meeting on a really big 1000-metre track and the next day you come back to Armadale to ride for Monarchs it’s tough, it’s a challenge.
“I tried to handle that challenge as best as I could. When I raced in the Longtrack and raced at Armadale I didn’t have the chance to practise for Monarchs when I really needed to get in the rhythm again.”
Not that he found Armadale difficult to conquer. “Armadale is an easy track,” he said. “I have developed as a rider. I’m a very talented rider I can handle any type of track.
“When Armadale is easy then every track is easy. I’m still pretty young and I’m a really good rider, in my opinion. I’m just lacking experience in setting up my bike, that’s what I need to sort out to get to the top.”
Riss is also confident that his comittments to Leicetser won’t affect Monarchs. “I think this year was about time I doubled-up and it is another new challenge. It will be a new track for me and I’ll be riding with new partners. I’m looking forward to it and it will help improve. I always want to win I want to prove to myself what I’m capable of.
“When I’m on track I always enjoy myself, I feel free. I love what I do, I love racing my bike. I love speedway.
“I don’t have any goals for this year just to score as many points as I can.”
Riss is in no doubt Monarchs have got the balance of this year’s side absolutely right.
”I’m looking forward to it more than last year. Last year we missed a bit of team spirit, we had too many alpha males in the side. It’s better this year.
“Personally, I don’t have many friends in speedway – I have many opponents. I don’t ride speedway to make friends.
“When you play football you have the same team for the whole year. In speedway it’s possible to ride against your own team-mates the next day in an individual meeting.
“But when riding for a club like Edinburgh you need to be professional and show team spirit. If everyone in the side this year can show that professionalism then we should do all right.”
Riss rides as a heat leader for the first time this season, but shrugged off suggestions that he shall be under more pressure throughout the meeting. He said: “I race for myself, of course I want to make Edinburgh happy. But I don’t care what number I’m handed, I race to win.
“And because I have made the decision to drop the Longtrack from my diary I can stay across here longer. And that means I can give more focus to my duties with Edinburgh as well as my commitments for Leicester.”
Riss will again be alongside older brother Mark, who starts off at reserve with partner Mitchell Davey. Said Mark: “I think it will be good to start off at reserve and get some points on the board at the beginning, then I would feel more comfortable if I got a chance to move into the team proper.”
Eric and Mark will both be riding in the Scottish Open Championship at Armadale on Friday which kick-starts the new season.