Edinburgh Monarchs are today reeling from a double injury blow after a disastrous League Cup speedway derby defeat at the hands of arch rivals Glasgow Tigers at Ashfield yesterday afternoon.
Monarchs went down 52-41 but lost Derek Sneddon and reserve Charles Wright in a dramatic collision during heat eight on a track surface described as an “absolute joke” by Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell.
Englishman Wright hit a lump of muck lying in a hole entering the first corner and lost control of his bike, Sneddon was going round the outside of him and the pair came together and had a terrible smash into the safety fence.
Sneddon dislocated his shoulder and is a major doubt for Monarchs’ final two League Cup clashes against Berwick Bandits this week. Wright, who was attended to for 45 minutes by medical staff, escaped with nothing more than back pains and said: “I feel battered and bruised and will see how I feel before making a decision about riding this Friday, I feel pretty sore.”
Glasgow spent a fortune on revamping their Saracen Park circuit last season but Campbell said: “It was very rough and uneven from heat one onwards, it was just awful but I think the track is poor every week at Ashfield. Having spent all that money on it last year, it’s an absolute joke. There is no racing to talk of, whoever gets out of the gate wins, there were only two overtakes during the whole meeting yesterday, there was nothing to excite the fans.”
Asked if he considered Ashfield to be dangerous, Campbell replied: “It’s not dangerous because the riders don’t race. They are all well strung out and when they get a position they settle for it, two-wheeling into the corners, it’s horrible. I asked Glasgow co-promoter Alan Dick why the track was the way it was and he explained they had continual problems with dust and it was down to late watering of the surface. But surely if you have trouble with dust you should water early.”
After their hefty 61-33 triumph over the Tigers at Armadale on Friday, a lot of the Monarchs squad were confident about securing a League Cup double, and Campbell pointed out: “We were on for a 5-1 in heat eight and had the collision not happened who knows what difference that would have made to the final score because the meeting itself was very close.
“Our other reserve Micky Dyer took five rides after heat seven but never really looked like beating an opponent, but if Charles and Derek had ridden the full meeting the scoreline could have been different.”
Ashfield has always been as about as inviting as a swamp for Monarchs and this latest episode will do nothing to alter their dislike of the place, ironically Craig Cook, who is in sparkling form at the moment, enjoyed his best outing through in the west for some time, clocking up two wins in the fastest times of the day on his way to an impressive haul of 12 points. And Dutchman and former Tiger Theo Pijper added a victory for the Monarchs by winning heat 12 as he racked up a handy total of eight points.
Wright had picked up five points before his crash, winning heat two, and Sneddon was also going well with two second places to his credit. Glasgow’s top scorer was No. 1 Joe Screen with James Grieves and Josh Grajczonek weighing in respectively with 11 and nine points.
If Sneddon remains unfit Monarchs will use the rider replacement facility for him against Berwick but with their opening Premier League fixture of the season against Scunthorpe Scorpions just a week away, this setback has happened at the worst possible time for the Armadale outfit.
Glasgow: Screen 14, Grieves 11, Grajczonek 9, Ksiezak 6, Campton 5, Mudgway 5, O’Malley 2.
Monarchs: Cook 12, Pijper 8, Wethers 7, Wright 5, Sneddon 4, Tully 3, Dyer 2.