Alex Harkess: Edinburgh Monarchs had to bring Sam Masters back right now

Edinburgh Monarchs team boss Alex Harkess has revealed it was either “now or never” to bring Sam Masters back to Armadale in a bid to revive his former club’s flagging Championship League speedway fortunes, writes DAVID KINVIG.

Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 6:30 am
Sam Masters is back in Monarchs colours.
Sam Masters is back in Monarchs colours.

As Monarchs head to Leicester Lions tonight, Harkess admitted it has not been an easy process in smoothing the way for Masters to rejoin the club he loves, as he comes in on a whopping 10.78 average.

Harkess said: “Sam is a Monarchs asset and has been keen to rejoin us for about six months now, but it has become increasingly difficult to get him back into our league because the rules now state his average will get higher rather than standing still. And by the end of this season it would have been impossible for Sam to come back because his average would have been double what it is now.

“Sam was always going to be a problem, but what forced our hand is that the team this season have simply not been performing as we had hoped. We are scoring mid-thirty scores continually away from home and this is not acceptable. The change comes at a price because Sam’s average is so high and the timing of it has been crucial. It was now or never.

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“Once Sam gets an average in our league, it will drop by about three points.

“If the team had been doing well, it would not have been possible to bring Sam back, make no mistake about that. If Sam had not come back now, he would never have come back as the rules again state that whatever he scores in the Premiership League would double in 2020. It would have been impossible.”

Harkess continued: “In the long term Sam will be happy to stay at Edinburgh next season, but it has not been an easy exercise. We had to get a visa for Sam to come back and this took a fair bit of time, not to mention the cost.”

Monarchs have also brought in Mildenhall’s Matt Marson, with Joel Andersson and Victor Palovaara making way for this double change.

Added Harkess: “Marson comes to us in order to fit Sam in. It was the only way we could make the change to allow such a good quality rider as Sam to come back.

“Marson may be a short term signing only.”

Harkess says tonight’s trip to league leaders Leicester is the ideal match for the revamped team to make their debut.

“No one would have given us a hope before the changes, and this is very much an experiment to see how things work out,” he said.

“Sam will ride at No.1 and Ricky Wells will be No.2 and we’ll see if they are a good pairing or not. We’ll also see how they do in the key heats of 13 and 15 because we have not dominated in these races all season.”

Asked if they have now have an outside chance of making the play-offs, Harkess concluded: “It’s not a lost cause and who knows, we may at last pick up some momentum.”