Speedway: Cook pleads for more practice time

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Edinburgh Monarchs No .1 Craig Cook today urged Capital speedway bosses to allow the team to have a practice session at Armadale this week ahead of their Spring Trophy derby opener against Glasgow Tigers on Friday.

Bad weather has so far stalled Monarchs’ attempts to have a try-out, but Cook insists because the starting gate has been moved to the other side of the track this season, it is essential the squad are given time to adjust to this change.

Cook said: “ I hope we can get some laps in before Friday to get a feel of the new starting gate position. We don’t want to go out blind against Glasgow.

“Moving the gate is a big thing for all the riders because the run in to the new first and second bends from the tapes will be a lot less than it was last season when they were the old third and fourth turns and you entered at full speed after almost a lap.”

Cook top scored with 14 points at Berwick Bandits on Saturday as Monarchs narrowly lost 47-45 in the first leg of the Cock O’ the North trophy, which puts them in a strong position to claim the silverware on aggregate when a new date is found for the deciding leg.

Cook dropped his only point to ex-Monarchs skipper Matthew Wethers, whom he praised for keeping him at bay. “I made a half decent start but spun a little before the first bend and Matthew was past me before I knew it,” said Cook. “He pretty much knew where I was all the time and rode almost the perfect race to keep me out.”

Monarchs might well have snatched victory but a disappointing two-point return from skipper Derek Sneddon was a factor in the loss. Said Cook: “ Derek had an off night. Normally he is solid and people do expect a bit more from him.”

New Aussie teenager Max Fricke had a tough baptism and failed to score and fell off in his opening ride. But Cook said there was no disgrace in that. “Max is very new and nobody should be expecting anything from him. It’s going to be a big learning curve for the lad. There is no pressure, he just needs to go out and enjoy it.

“Overall, although we lost and most of the team were a bit rusty, they should all be proud of themselves.”