Edinburgh Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell today urged racer Claus Vissing not to go missing in tonight’s Sky Sports live speedway test against Somerset Rebels at the Oak Tree Arena.
The less-than-great Dane is under huge pressure to deliver a strong performance round his former track in the wake of his tepid one-point return at Armadale on Friday which was a big factor in Redcar Bears’ surprise 47-46 victory.
That defeat has made Monarchs’ task of reaching the end-of-season play-offs a lot harder but Campbell admitted he has no idea if Vissing has the capability to bounce back within the space of four days. “Claus just disappeared into nothing against Redcar and that is a big worry,” said Campbell. “He also made excuses and blamed everybody else for what went wrong. I don’t know Claus well enough yet to know if he can down and out one day and up and running again the next. However, I do know that if we are to have any chance of beating Somerset then Claus must perform.
“Somerset had a huge win over Rye House Rockets on Friday and we would need Claus to have an immediate return to form on a track he has ridden on countless occasions to even equal the point we gained in the corresponding fixture a year ago.”
Although Monarchs were without heavy scorer Theo Pijper against Redcar, the manner in which they collapsed over the last five heats of a match they seemed to be in control of when leading 36-24 after ten races alarmed Campbell who stated: “We lost the meeting over those last five races and when your No. 5 rider (Vissing) didn’t really beat anybody, it’s a problem. Redcar were definitely boosted by the tactical ride 8-1 advantage they got in heat 11 and they could do no wrong after that – you need that kind of spirit to win matches. There were clear signs in the early part of the meeting that not many of our own team were in great form.”
Campbell denied the loss was a wake-up call for his squad who hitherto looked invincible round Armadale, nor does he think the promotion into the team proper of reserve Jozsef Tabaka, swapping places with Max Fricke, had any detrimental effect on the result.
“The swapping between Jozsef and Max didn’t make any difference, because although their respective scoring levels went in opposite directions on the night, their overall contribution was just the same before they switched positions. I knew it was going to be a difficult match because of Redcar’s past performances at Armadale.”
Fricke’s application and winning mentality came to the fore and he caused some of the Bears to have sore heads.
The youngster’s haul of 12 points from six rides, which included three victories on the bounce, was the one bright lights amid the gloom, and Fricke said: “I was definitely happy about winning my first three outings and hopefully I can keep moving forward this week and win a couple more. I was glad I had a good match because I had struggled at home over the two weeks prior to it. I think it’s good that I have dropped down to reserve, it gives me the chance to see how things differ from what I’m used to back home.
“On Friday I made some good starts and it certainly makes things a lot easier if you have some fresh air in front of you.
“Losing the match was disappointing and we certainly missed Theo but other things could have been done a bit better; our team still works well and races together well.
“I’m looking forward to Somerset tonight, I had a look at the track when I went down for the Premier League Pairs there last week and it looks like a circuit which will suit me.”
Campbell thinks Monarchs must attempt to recoup the points surrendered to Redcar. “Craig (Cook) is capable of scoring 15 this evening, if he does that, then it comes down to the question of do we have enough guys after that to score 30 points between them.
“Much will depend on whether Max can adapt to the Somerset circuit, but he is hitting good form and his drop to reserve has come at just the right time for him.”
Monarchs have called up Mildenhall’s Josh Bates as reserve replacement cover for the injured Mitchell Davey.