YOU HAVE to go all the way back to 1986 to discover the last time Edinburgh Monarchs tasted success in the Premier League speedway Pairs Championship.
On that occasion, Monarchs legends Les Collins and Doug Wyer triumphed and many supporters feel it’s high time this barren period was brought to an end.
Entrusted with this task at Somerset’s Oak Tree Arena tonight are No. 1 Craig Cook and his partner Claus Vissing.
While it may be slightly presumptuous to label Cook a legend yet, there is no doubt the 26-year-old Cumbrian racer is turning out to be one of Monarchs’ most accomplished stars and has been scoring for fun since the season started in March.
Cook sits proudly at the top of the national averages and his unerring double-figure returns in matches, not just for Monarchs, have made him a first-choice guest rider for clubs looking to cover any injuries they have.
Cook’s increasingly heavy workload has prompted concerns that he is taking on too much, but he rejects this claim, saying: “The more meetings I get the better it is for me. I’m still relatively new at riding speedway, so if I can get the chance to ride against different sorts of opponents, it helps my learning curve and also helps keep me sharp and in shape.”
Vissing was less than amused when Somerset axed him from their squad and has plenty of incentive to turn on the style in front of his former home fans to underline the mistake they made in letting him go.
“I’m very pleased to be teaming up with Craig,” said Vissing. “He is riding so well right now and I’m quite happy with how I’m going as well.
“Obviously with my experience round Somerset this could give us the edge over everyone else.
“Somerset is a very fair type of track and you can have a real go. A lot of visiting riders like the place, and I like its size.
“I’m looking forward to going back and if we can pull it off, it would be great for Edinburgh and their supporters.”
Monarchs have been drawn in Group B alongside Workington, Plymouth, Sheffield and Leicester. Group A consists of Somerset, Glasgow, Ipswich, Scunthorpe and Berwick.