Edinburgh Monarchs happy to 'take a gamble' with new seven-man team for 2022

Edinburgh Monarchs manager Alex Harkess admits there is an “an element of risk” bringing two young riders into the seven-man team for 2022.

By Neil McGlade
Sunday, 2nd January 2022, 9:30 pm
Italian rider Paco Castagna, recruited from Birmingham, is a big coup for the Monarchs
Italian rider Paco Castagna, recruited from Birmingham, is a big coup for the Monarchs

He was speaking after the Capital club unveiled the seven riders who will don the blue and gold for the new Championship campaign which gets underway in the spring.

Skipper and No 1 Sam Masters will spearhead the Armadale-based side once more with Josh Pickering and Kye Thomson, who enjoyed a fine maiden season last year, also making a welcome return.

A fourth Australian arrives in 19-year-old Jacob Hook for what is the youngster's debut in British speedway. He will start at reserve alongside Yorkshire's James Sarjeant.

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Lasse Fredriksen will get his chance to ride for Monarchs at last

Italian Paco Castagna, who was with the Birmingham Brummies in 2021, will provide some steel in the middle body of the team and Norwegian Lasse Fredriksen will make his long-awaited debut for the club having signed a contract for the 2020 season only for it to be pulled due to the Covid pandemic.

Monarchs came up short in their quest for silverware last season after being knocked out of the league play-offs at the semi-final stage and losing two-legged KO Cup final to the Poole Pirates. But Harkess believes they can hit the ground running.

“We hope that everyone increases their average over the course of the season," he told the Edinburgh Evening News.

“It’s a team with incredible possibilities, but you're never sure when you're bringing in a couple of new riders. There is an element of risk.

Kye Thomson and Josh Pickering both make a welcome return to the Edinburgh Monarchs team for 2022. Pic: Jack Cupido

“But here at Edinburgh we've always tended to take a bit of a gamble with somebody and most of the time it has paid off. We can't say it always has, but we're excited.”

Spokesman Mike Hunter added: “We obviously have two untried riders coming in at this level in Jacob and Lasse, but we're hopeful they can find their feet quickly.”

Monarchs have also announced the riders will wear race suits for the first time in the club's 74-year history, replacing the traditional race jackets, although the design is still to be revealed.

Edinburgh Monarchs 2022: Sam Masters, Lasse Fredriksen, Kye Thomson, Paco Castagna, Josh Pickering, Jacob Hook, James Sarjeant.

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