Rampant Edinburgh Monarchs are fired up for tomorrow afternoon’s Premier League speedway derby against Glasgow Tigers at Ashfield Stadium, knowing they are just one victory away from equalling Arena Essex’s unbeaten run of 23 matches, which has stood virtualy unopposed since 1991.
But Tigers bosses are hopeful they can finally lower Monarchs’ colours, citing the fact that they have won their last three home meetings in succession and appear to be on an upward spiral at last following a dismal start to their 2014 campaign.
However, team manager Stewart Dickson is acutely aware of the difficult task his side face.
He said: “I think we are performing better now than at any time of the season and tomorrow’s clash looks to have some real bite about it.”
Glasgow have probably suffered more at the hands of Monarchs than any other team in the league, but Dickson feels there is now a belief they are far better placed now to become the first outfit to outscore their great rivals over 15 heats, a feat no-one else has managed so far this year.
“We need to be more clinical with our gating to have a chance,” said Dickson. “And we are also going to need some good luck, and maybe some bad luck for them. We must ensure that all our riders are at the top of their game and not throwing points away.
“If that happens, then I think we will give Monarchs a good match.”
Dickson, who has taken charge of Glasgow’s track preparation, has put more dirt down at the request of his team, and he hopes they will respond to this.
“I have topped up the dirt to make the surface more grippy and the boys have had a week for it to bed down. So I hope they have got their bike set-ups all sorted out. They need to be.”
Glasgow continue to use the rider replacement facility for the injured Christian Henry and have recruited former Tigers rider Mason Campton as a guest at reserve to partner Kasper Lykke, who was the hero for the Ashfield men last week when they snatched a dramatic 46-44 victory over Plymouth Devils. Lykke, who pitched in with 11 points, said: “I need to work on my starting. I need to get that sorted out, but I was happy to get double figures last week. I have good guys in the pits with me and things are all right with me at the moment.
“But I know just how tough a challenge we face against the Monarchs. But we can beat them, anything can happen in speedway. I’m looking forward to the match.”
Monarchs, who have two victories already under their belt at Saracen Park this season, will have no complaints if their Aussie whizz-kid Max Fricke turns on the style as he did in spectacular fashion last weekend when he racked up 14 points guesting for Plymouth against Glasgow which helped the Devils pick up a valuable away point.
So has Fricke made a rod for his own back? The teenager joked: “I may have done, but it took me six rides to get those 14 points and I won’t get the same amount of outings tomorrow, but I’ll be going out to do a good job as I always do.”
Fricke, who has been selected by Australia for their initial squad for the forthcoming World Team Cup, was joint top scorer for Monarchs in their 51-41 win at Redcar Bears on Thursday which moved the Capital outfit onto 22 matches without loss and a massive 13-point lead at the top of the table.
“It was a really good win for us,” added Fricke. “We all played our part and our scoring was pretty solid all down the line. The Glasgow fixture is just like any other. We are going through there looking for another win.”
Monarchs’ return clash against the Bears was washed out at Armadale last night and will be restaged later in the season.