Tigers feud could see Monarchs open season against Belle Vue

Edinburgh Monarchs were accorded a civic reception after winning two Premier League titles in a row amongst a haul of several speedway trophies in recent seasons. Riders Craig Cook, far left, and Max Clegg, far right, are pictured at the City Chambers with promoter John Campbell, team manager Alex Harkess and Bailie Norman Work. Pic: Ron MacNeill

Edinburgh Monarchs were accorded a civic reception after winning two Premier League titles in a row amongst a haul of several speedway trophies in recent seasons. Riders Craig Cook, far left, and Max Clegg, far right, are pictured at the City Chambers with promoter John Campbell, team manager Alex Harkess and Bailie Norman Work. Pic: Ron MacNeill

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Edinburgh Monarchs are hoping to open their 2016 Armadale speedway campaign with a glamour challenge match against Elite League side Belle Vue Aces on Saturday, April 2.

Club chairman Alex Harkess said: “We are just waiting for Belle Vue to get back to us, they were due to give us confirmation last week. The fixture has to take place on the Saturday because Belle Vue are now a Friday night track.”

Monarchs’ traditional Spring Trophy clash against Glasgow Tigers which has heralded the start of the Scottish season for many years now has been binned and is unlikely to be resurrected after Harkess revealed both clubs are no longer on speaking terms.

“We can’t agree anything with Glasgow because we don’t talk to them. The Spring Trophy was a money spinner for both sides, of course it was, but there we go.”

This falling out stems from last season’s Play Off Grand Final weekend between the teams. Glasgow had applied to switch their race night to a Friday from this season but Edinburgh opposed the move and a letter on behalf of Tigers owners Michael and Gerry Facenna was handed out to both sets of supporters during the first leg of the Grand Final at Ashfield.

Part of it stated: ”Against the positive conversations and support we have offered Edinburgh throughout this season we were hugely surprised and disappointed to learn that Edinburgh had opposed our application to the British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) to switch to Friday evenings in 2016.

“Against this background it is with regret that we feel compelled to announce that we will no longer be attending meetings at Armadale as we don’t want to help fund Edinburgh with one penny of our money now that they have decided to affect our income and growth.”

The release of the letter was criticised by Tigers and Monarchs supporters at the time. Monarchs have never publicly replied to the accusations but were privately furious that the issue soured their success in lifting the Premier League title for the second year in a row.

Asked if this is the reason behind the breakdown of their relationship, Harkess replied: “I think that has been sussed out, I’m not saying anything.”

It seems certain that the Scottish Cup will also be missing from the calendar although Harkess added: “The Scottish was always left until the end of the season anyway and often depended on how much success Glasgow and Edinburgh enjoyed in other competitions because dates became a problem.”

Glasgow will open their Ashfield season with a clash against Elite League club Coventry Bees, boss Stewart Dickson commenting: “We wanted to try something different this season for our opening fixture.”