Capital speedway team complete as Craig Cook returns home to the Edinburgh Monarchs

Double league winner Craig Cook has sealed a sensational return to the Edinburgh Monarchs.

Craig Cook is back with the Edinburgh Monarchs in 2023
Craig Cook is back with the Edinburgh Monarchs in 2023

The 35-year-old Cumbrian was instrumental in steering the club to back-to-back league titles in 2014 and 2015 where he spent five seasons in the blue and gold. Already considered a club legend by supporters, the return of Cook goes some way to softening the blow of losing last season's skipper and No.1 Sam Masters to Championship rivals the Oxford Cheetahs.

The former British champion has most recently turned out for Monarchs' arch-rivals the Glasgow Tigers, but will now be expected to form a formidable partnership with Josh Pickering as the top end.

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"I'm looking forward to it," Cook explained. "Riding around Armadale, it's always been a great track for me. In 2013, 14 and 15 I was very strong at home so I'm looking forward to getting back that home-track advantage. Coming from Glasgow, there isn't really any home-track advantage there. It will be good to be back on the tight track and using my technique more than getting the set-up right.

"2014 and 2015 were fantastic seasons so it would be nice to win some silverware. The aim of the game is to win trophies. I'm going into next year a little bit different as the last few seasons have been very hard and quite stressful. My dad won't be with me, although he'll still be helping behind the scenes with my engines. But I've got Mitchell Davey coming on full-time. He's a great guy, we've been team-mates at the Monarchs before and he's a great calming influence for me.

"I hope things improve but time will tell. I just want it to be less stressful and go and enjoy my racing, which is when you get the best out of me. So going back to Edinburgh will hopefully allow me to do that.

"My UK form has suffered since I made the Grand Prix. We've forgotten about that now as there is no aim to go back there or anything like that so I just need to do my best in this country. There's a lot going on behind the scenes to prepare for next year."

Monarchs 2023 team: Josh Pickering, Lasse Fredriksen, Kye Thomson, Paco Castagna, Craig Cook, Jacob Hook, Kyle Bickley.