Drew Kemp stars as Edinburgh Monarchs take charge of play-off quarter-final at Redcar
The Edinburgh Monarchs raced to a sensational 51-39 victory over the Redcar Bears in their Championship play-off quarter-final first leg.
Teenager Drew Kemp scored 13 from seven rides at the Media Prima Arena to hand the Monarchs a huge advantage ahead of the second leg at Armadale, which is likely to be next weekend.
However, Kemp was ably supported by Australian duo Sam Masters and Josh Pickering who both chipped in with double figures on Teesside.
Pickering, who won three of his five outings including a sensational heat 15 victory, is confident the Monarchs can go all the way and lift a sixth league title in 18 years.
The 24-year-old said: “I came here with every intention of winning and all the boys have that same mentality. I was focused on winning races, that’s my job in this team and I need to score as many points as possible. It’s a great result for the team.
“We are here to win. I feel whoever we get in the semis, if we get through, I think home and away we’re going to be very strong.”
The visitors gained a foothold in the meeting early on, assuming the lead in heat two through Kemp and guest Jason Edwards who combined for a 4-2 to edge in front 7-5.
A second successive 4-2 from Pickering and Kye Thomson increased the lead to four in the very next heat before a run of shared heats kept things tight at the midway point.
Edwards then suffered what looked to be an engine failure while leading heat eight and that handed the hosts their first heat advantage of the evening, Monarchs still in the ascendency 25-23.
Masters and Kemp combined for a 5-1 to increase the Scottish side’s lead to six after 11 heats, and they stretched their lead further with heat advantages in three of the four remaining heats to put one wheel in the semi-finals.
Bears: Allen 11, Wright 10, Sarjeant 7, Kerr 6, Jenkins 5, Kinsley 0.
Monarchs: Kemp 13, Pickering 13, Masters 10, Thomson 7, Worrall 7, Edwards 1.