Edinburgh Monarchs aiming for play-off miracle at Armadale
Edinburgh Monarchs are just 15 heats from losing their Premier League speedway crown.
And they will give it up unless they can produce something extraordinary against Ipswich Witches in tonight’s play-off quarter-final second-leg decider at Armadale Stadium.
The Witches are defending a mammoth lead of 26 points from their home tie and are very much in control of their own destiny and a seemingly cast iron semi-final date against Somerset Rebels.
Yet Witches boss Kevin Hawkins says: “Our job is only half done and we are coming up to Edinburgh with the aim of winning. Edinburgh are a very good side who have beaten many teams over the years by more than 26 points and are the reigning league champions.”
But the Witches are perhaps the most resurgent team in the play-off programme right now and Hawkins added: “Our boys are starting to believe just how good they are and we have come into form at exactly the right time of the season.”
Monarchs’ drubbing at Foxhall Heath stunned the team’s supporters, however, skipper Sam Masters says: “It is going to be tough we all know that. But if any team in the Premier League is capable of pulling back such a big deficit it’s certainly us. And we will be going for it big time.”
Unless Monarchs conjure up the comeback to beat all comebacks this will be American star Ryan’s Fisher’s penultimate meeting of his UK career having announced his retirement from the sport earlier in the week.
Fisher has ridden 14 seasons in Britain having started with Coventry Bees back in 2002. This is his fourth spell in Monarchs colours after rejoining the club in March of this year.
The Californian was a member of Monarchs’ championship winning teams of 2008 and 2010 and has piled up 100 league points placing him among Monarchs’ all-time top 20 points scorers.
Fisher’s decision to call it quits is solely for the sake of his family – wife Daelyn and children Abby Jo and Harley. He said: “We did think about doing one more year in 2017 because we’ve had so many good years over here but decided against it. We would just be putting off the rest of our lives.
“It would be just another year and we would be no better off. The decision is basically down to me being split up from my family.
“The last two years I have come over to the UK I have missed Easter with my family because I have to come over two months before them and they can only stay for a short space of time.
“And the same thing happens at the end of the year, they have to go back before me.
“We have opportunities we can pursue in Las Vegas and we are going ahead with that.
“My family are my No.1 priority and my career has been such a big part of our lives. Our lifestyle has been built around speedway.”
And Fisher admitted that 2016 has not been entirely productive for him in terms of points scored. “It’s been okay,” he said. “But I’ve had ups and downs. I have not been very consistent and I don’t know why. I try to do everything the same and have the same routine.
“I have my bikes exactly the same. If I have had a good night the previous week I expect the same again the following week. But sometimes it doesn’t happen.
“Sometimes it might be down to my riding or other things.
“I would have liked this year to have gone better but I guess a lot of riders feel the same way. But when I look back I think I have done decently for myself and enjoyed some pretty cool times.
“I haven’t reached my ultimate goal but for the last 15 years I have made a career out of racing motorcycles.”