Edinburgh Monarchs ended Scunthorpe Scorpions recent mini-resurgence in dramatic fashion at the Eddie Wright Raceway last night.
Trailing by four points going into the last race, Scorpions duo Lewis Kerr and Ryan Douglas both tumbled off in separate re-runs, leaving Monarchs pair Sam Masters and Erik Riss to coast round for a 5-0 and a deserved 45-44 Premier League victory which hoists them into sixth position in the table and into play-off contention.
Boss John Campbell said: “It was a fantastic speedway meeting with some great racing. We kept plugging away and were a bit fortuitous in that final heat, but it would have been wrong had we left with nothing.”
Monarchs, bidding for their second away win in a row, got off to the best possible start with a 4-2 from skipper Masters and Mark Riss in the opening race. With gating paramount on a slickish track, the next four heats were all shared before Scunthorpe broke the sequence with a 5-1 from Douglas and Kerr in the sixth race to edge the hosts in front 19-17.
Monarchs big guns Kevin Wolbert and Ryan Fisher had yet to take the chequered flag at this stage, something they had to reverse with the Scorpions looking for their fourth league win in five meetings.
And Fisher responded in the very next race when he followed Erik Riss home for a 5-1 over Josh Auty and Michael Palm Toft, Monarchs reclaiming the lead 22-20. The Monarchs duo team rode brilliantly for the win with their opponents trying everything to pass.
Monarchs were using guest Mitchell Davey for the unavailable Dan Bewley at reserve, and the Australian, who was riding for the Capital side for the first time since 2013, showed his commitment with four points from his three outings.
The Scorpions pushed their noses in front once again 28-26, in the ninth race with a 5-1 from Kerr and Carl Wilkinson over Wolbert who finished third.
In what was turning into a real nip-and-tuck contest, Monarchs grabbed a 4-2 in heat ten from Erik Riss and Fisher which squared proceedings 30-30, which was incredible really especially with Wolbert seemingly struggling to record a heat win.
Monarchs then surrendered a 5-1 in the eleventh race which was awarded after Masters brought down Auty and once again the Scorpions assumed control to lead 35-31.
But Monarchs were not giving up and Max Clegg won his first heat of the night in heat 12 and with Erik Riss claiming third, this 4-2 cut Scorpions lead to just two points with three races to go.
And, Wolbert chose a timely moment to get a win on the board in heat 13 and with Masters finishing third, this second 4-2 in a row levelled the match again 39-39.
But, Scunthorpe then struck a late blow in the penultimate heat when Wilkinson and Palm Toft, who was tremendous at reserve, pulled off a 5-1 against Clegg and Fisher, who messed up the second bend to lead 44-40 and set up a tense last heat decider which Monarchs won after Scunthorpe’s pair both crashed out.
Scunthorpe: Palm Toft 12, Kerr 11, Wilkinson 8, Auty 7, Douglas 6, Bailey 0.
Monarchs: E Riss 12, Masters 9, Wolbert 7, Clegg 5, Fisher 4, Davey 4, M Riss 4.