Popular Monarch Ryan Fisher enjoys his testimonial night

It proved to be a Yankee Doodle Dawdle for Edinburgh Monarchs skipper Sam Masters who sped to glory to win Californian Ryan Fisher's Testimonial speedway meeting at Armadale Stadium last night.

Saturday, 4th June 2016, 5:30 am
Well supported: Sam Masters, secod from left, helps hold Ryan Fisher aloft along with the other guest riders. Picture: Ron MacNeill

Masters, who top scored in the qualifying races, held off a fierce challenge from Newcastle’s Matej Kus to take the chequered flag in fine style. Kus’s Newcastle colleague Ludvig Lindgren was third with Workington’s Ricky Wells fourth.

Masters said: “Ludvig reckoned I jumped the start and to be honest I did! But it was great to win the meeting, even although Ryan didn’t see fit to tip me beforehand.”

Kus said: “I enjoyed myself and the racing was good but I just wasn’t able to catch Sam in the Final.”

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Fisher, although missing out on a podium finish, said: “The meeting was awesome and I would like to thank all the riders for turning out for me and all the sponsors too.”

Testimonial events can be hit-or-miss affairs depending on the quality of the field and late call offs certainly did not do Fisher any great favours, but the racing was generally competitive as opposed to cut throat with no league points at stake.

As the meeting wore on there was something of a chasm which developed between some of the field and a few races were quite processional.

The main focus of interest from a home fans’ perspective was the performance of Andrew Tully a member of Monarchs’ 2008 championship winning side.

Tully quit the sport a while back, having perhaps fallen out of love with it. Yet he was best remembered for scoring a 21 point maximum at the Lothian Arena in that season of 2008 when Monarchs crushed the Isle of Wight Islanders.

Tully finished a creditable third in his first ride behind Masters and Aaron Summers which was a pretty hot race for him to make his comeback in, but he looked pretty decent.

But it was Newcastle’s stylish Lindgren who set the pace in the qualifying heats with two victories on the trot, which was matched and bettered by his club team-mate Kus after a third victory in heat 12. And Glasgow’s Summers was also very much in the mix after a trio of victories.

Fisher’s long-time buddy Billy Janniro, who he badly wanted to do well, struggled in his first outing but looked a lot more forceful in his next ride as the battle to make the Grand Final began to heat up.

Fisher started off with two second places, perhaps conscious that winning your own meeting might be deemed bad form! And a third-place finish behind Rob Branford and Summers in the ninth race certainly killed off his Grand Final aspirations.

Masters, meanwhile, after a second place in his first ride, then won three on the bounce to put himself in contention for the silverware.

Fisher, despite not triumphing, will have been pretty pleased at how things panned out for him. Blue skies graced the evening which had a ritzy feel to it. A plethora of stars and stripes flew proudly in the breeze, but most of all he felt the affection Monarchs supporters have for him.

He is something of a maverick off the track and that’s always been a large part of his appeal. His wife Daelyn commented: “He has always been a bit crazy.”

He ain’t gonna change now...