Basement battlers Redcar Bears pulled off the shock result of the speedway season on Teesside last night as they sensationally defeated Edinburgh Monarchs 47-43 in a nerve jangling Premier League clash to avenge their 65-28 mauling by the Capital outfit at Armadale a week ago.
Nobody in the Monarchs camp saw this coming and to say it was a disappointing result is something of an understatement. But perhaps the portents for this surprise defeat were sown in the first half with the Bears looking anything like pushovers, just the opposite.
Monarchs perhaps thought they were going to waltz away with this match, but they got a rude awakening in the first half despite opening up with a 5-1 from Sam Masters and Erik Riss in heat one.
This was instantly cancelled out by the Bears in the next race when Adam Roynon and Ben Morley overcame Riss and Max Clegg who retired. The next three races were all shared before Monarchs sneaked ahead with a 4-2 from skipper Craig Cook and Clegg in the sixth heat.
And when Kevin Wolbert and Justin Sedgmen extracted maximum points against Stuart Robson and Morley in heat seven Monarchs led 24-18 and were looking comfortable.
But a surprise 5-1 win by Roynon and Jan Graversen over Riss and Sedgmen in heat eight cut Monarchs’ advantage to just two points, 25-23.
And with the next three heats also shared, Monarchs’ expected victory hopes were hanging by a slender thread as the Bears levelled the match 36-36 with a 4-2 from Matej Kus and productive reserve star Roynon over Wolbert and Clegg, the latter having split the Redcar pairing who were on a 5-1 from the tapes.
Then, in a dramatic heat 13, Redcar stole into the lead when skipper Lasse Bjerre and Stuart Robson outgunned Monarchs’ hitherto unbeaten duo Masters and Cook for a 4-2 after Cook tried an outside sweep which failed to come off and was a non finisher. And neither was the penultimate heat which saw Bears’ impressive new signing Jonas B Andersen, and Roynon power their way to a 5-1 over Sedgmen and Riss for a 45-39 lead which clinched a totally unexpected victory for the home side, only their second of the season and a hammer blow to Monarchs who had hoped to assume joint leadership of the championship table with pacesetters Somerset Rebels.
Masters and Wolbert claimed a consolation 4-2 in the heat 15 finale but it couldn’t cushion their, and the team’s collective, sense of dismay.
The big plus for the Bears was at reserve where Roynon and Morley totally creamed Clegg and Riss and often in the Premier League it’s the strength of a side’s tail-end duo that can often make the difference between winning and losing.
Monarchs director Mike Hunter said: “It was a very disappointing result and because of all the success we have had over the years it’s a surprise when we ride badly – and we deserved to lose.
“I never believed it was going to be easy because Redcar were a stronger side with Adam Roynon down at reserve and that made a huge difference. Our top three were fighting to keep us in the match because the others were doing nothing, but in the end they got beaten as well. At least we got a point, although we had to battle for that in the last race.”
Redcar: Roynon 10, Bjerre 10, Kus 8, Andersen 7, Robson 6, Graversen 3, Morley 3.
Monarchs: Masters 14, Wolbert 10, Cook 9, Sedgmen 5, Riss 4, Clegg 1.