Micky DYER touched down in the Capital at the weekend aiming for lift-off in what will be his first full spell of speedway at Premier League level for Edinburgh Monarchs.
The 21-year-old, who hails from New South Wales, will wear the all-important reserve race bib alongside partner Charles Wright and, while they are not under any forensic scrutiny, Monarchs are banking on the pair delivering some big points when the new Armadale season begins later this month.
Monarchs bosses sacrificed top-end strength to bolster their troublesome tail-end berths and it’s a gamble which could make or break the team’s championship challenge.
Dyer last rode in the UK in 2010 for National League team Dudley Heathens and believes this step up in class could help map out his long-term future in the sport. He said: “Signing for Edinburgh is a great opportunity especially as I had to sit 2011 out because I couldn’t find a team spot in Britain. I’m grateful to Edinburgh and hopefully I can make the most of the chance they have given me.”
Dyer will make sure the experience gained at Heathens will prevent this season being a culture shock. “Racing for the Heathens opened my eyes a bit. In Australia some of the tracks are miles apart from each other where here it’s exactly the opposite, it took me time to adjust. Australia has nowhere near as many riders, here in the UK there is a vast range of performers, some of them very good indeed.
“Because there is no team racing in Australia as such, you are at something of a disadvantage, because the art of team riding is strong in Britain and it’s important to learn how to perfect it.
“In Australia it’s all about individual races, and it’s really about yourself, but hopefully I will be able to adapt to how things work in this country.”
Dyer received a decent report card after his stint with the Heathens and recalls: “I did okay but felt I could have done better. This year I aim to put my head down and produce some good results and decent points.”
Dyer had targeted a Premier League spot last season only to be let down at the last minute. “I wanted to come back in 2011 and I thought I had a deal all sorted out with Plymouth Devils, but they pulled the plug and I was forced to stay home in Australia. Now I’m just so keen to start racing again. I did actually speak to Monarchs but they couldn’t fit me in because of my five-point starting average, but when John Campbell (Monarchs co-promoter) started his team building for 2012 he asked if I was still interested in signing for the club, and we just took it from there.”
As preparation for his baptism in the Premier League, Dyer rode in the Australian Championship during the winter, only to discover he wasn’t as fit as he thought he was.
“I had to qualify for the main championship and I hadn’t been on a bike for nine months, but managed to get through, but during the first round proper I was struggling to hang on to my bike by the third lap.
“As the other rounds continued I decided it might be a good idea if I began training to get myself in to some sort of shape.”
Not everybody flourishes when they move up a division but Dyer is confident he won’t become an also-ran. “I know it’s a big move for me but I think I can handle it and prove myself.
“And to make sure I convince people that I’m good enough to be in the Edinburgh team, not that Edinburgh are putting any pressure on me, they want to make sure I settle in first of all and adapt to some of the tracks up here.
“I have seen a fair few Premier League circuits and personally I prefer the larger type of track but I also need to get to grips with smaller tracks like Armadale.
“There are no small tracks in Australia, but if you can ride small, tight circuits you can handle the bigger ones more easily. My gating is a bit hot and cold and I know I will need to make quick starts to avoid fighting from the back to gain my points.”
Dyer has built two brand-new bikes for his Monarchs debut season and ultimately doesn’t want to languish down at reserve forever. “If I can maintain my five-point average and if I have a good year, I might make it into the main body of the team, that’s certainly my aim along with making a name for myself.”
Monarchs swing into League Cup action at Redcar Bears on Thursday, March 22 and Dyer added: “This is our first official match of the season and though I’m not nervous at the moment, by the time that meeting comes around I think I will be. I just hope I can deliver.”