The force was certainly with Charlie Gjedde at Armadale last night as the Newport Wasps No.1 led his side to a shock 45-44 Premier League win over an Edinburgh Monarchs side who frittered away a 12-point lead they held after just six races.
Monarchs returned to bad old ways as they tossed away points like confetti. Reserve Kyle Howarth fell off twice in the space of three heats, and Kevin Wolbert wasn’t immune either as he tumbled to the ground in heat 13 which also saw Wasps star Leigh Lanham disqualified from the rerun after blowing his engine which caused him to bring down Craig Cook on the third bend.
Gjedde won the restart against Cook and this 3-2 advantage left the Wasps just one point in arrears with two races to go. The Welshmen did fantastically well to get themselves back into the match and a 4-2 from Gjedde and Robin Aspegren in a nail biting heat 15 finale saw the visitors edge out Monarchs by the slenderest of margins.
Gjedde was supreme, racking up a magnificent 16 points from his six starts. He was only beaten once when he was headed by Wolbert in the very first race.
The 31-year-old said: “This was a good win for the whole team despite the bad luck we had when Leigh blew his engine. We worked hard as a unit and I personally was delighted with how I scored.
“I always enjoy coming to Armadale, if you can get off the start line, the track is a joy to ride.” Gjedde added that he never doubted his side had the ability to shock Monarchs with their late surge in the second half.
“It might have looked as if we were staring at a heavy defeat, but a meeting is never over until the final race, We just stuck in even though we trailed by 12 points early on and our determination and teamwork paid off.”
Gjedde kept cool in that final heat showdown to thwart Monarchs ace Wolbert, and confessed it was all down to the start he made. Said Gjedde: “Kevin was fast away and he nearly caught me, but I found a bit of room on the inside and managed to do a quicker corner than him. And that proved to be the crucial thing because if Kevin had got away I think I would have been in trouble trying to catch him.”
Monarchs, and Cook in particular, seemed to be on a galaxy far far away, and lost focus after making such a strong start. Cook despite winning his first ride, failed to win his next two outings, and this handed fresh impetus to the Wasps who were still on cloud nine following their KO Cup success against Glasgow Tigers this week.
Monarchs’ best performer was Andrew Tully with 11 points and reserve guest Tom Perry rode well for his four point score and possibly deserved more. Monarchs needed a wise sage to guide them, but where’s Yoda when you need him . .
Monarchs: Tully 11, Wolbert 10, Wethers 7, Cook 5, Katajisto 5, Perry 4, Howarth 2.
Newport: Gjedde 16, Aspegren 8, Lanham 7, Kurtz 7,Mellgren 6, Jones 1.