EDINBURGH MONARCHS’ young German ace Erik Riss looks set to replace fellow countryman and team-mate Kevin Wolbert as the new ‘Kaiser Chief’ at Armadale following his sparkling performance in front of the television cameras at Somerset Rebels on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old, who was making his first visit to the Oaktree Arena – labelled a “fortress” by skipper Craig Cook – stormed to a hugely-impressive 14-point haul from six starts. He secured four race wins, helping Monarchs to a 51-42 Premier League victory, their third away success in a row. The result leaves the Capital outfit sitting pretty at the top of the table – five points clear of Glasgow Tigers, who have ridden one match more.
Monarchs also gave the Rebels a lesson in gating which took everybody by surprise given that jet starts from the tapes have never been Monarchs’ strongest suit.
And Monarchs’ overall superiority saw them clinch the meeting with two races left when they led 45-36 after heat 13.
Riss, who is looking for more of the same tonight at the Lothian Arena when Monarchs tackle a slightly-depleted Ipswich Witches side in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final – Glasgow await the winners in the final – confessed he couldn’t quite believe how well he rode on a tough circuit he had never seen before.
“It suited my style and I just aimed for the outside, turned the gas full on and let my bike do the rest. I felt very good afterwards,” he said.
And Justin Sedgmen revealed how the encouragement and advice Riss received from the rest of the team turned the 2014 World Longtrack Champion into the match-winner.
“We were all telling Erik to get to the outside of the track and ride the dirt, but he replied he had never done that before and didn’t know how to. He does now,” said Sedgmen.
Monarchs’ co-promoter John Campbell was delighted for his rising star but also tempered his praise by saying: “It certainly showed the ability Erik has got. But I think because he’s had so few speedway meetings in his career so far, to do that on a consistent basis is still a little bit away yet.However, in his own mind, Erik will now be aware what he can do over here in the UK.
“But he was great and is such a good motorcyclist it had to happen at one stage. One of the discussions I had with Erik’s team in Germany earlier in the year was he wasn’t doing well over there and wasn’t doing well here either. But we were in agreement that there would be one match where his ability would shine through. That arrived at Somerset and it made the meeting very easy for us.”
Campbell continued: “You would probably pick out tracks that Erik would do well at where he doesn’t have to turn corners, and Somerset is one of those. Picking the right bit of the track and going flat-out, which Erik is used to doing in his longtrack racing, anything is possible.”
Monarchs, the League Cup holders, will be keen to banish the Witches on aggregate over the two legs with the prospect of a mouth-watering derby clash against the Tigers a huge incentive.
Sedgmen, who has piled up 40 points in the three away wins at Rye House, Peterborough and Somerset, said: “Everybody is doing their job at the moment but we need to keep that going with some important matches coming up. We are covering well for (the injured) Sam Masters but we are looking forward to seeing him back on his bike. We got a draw down at Ipswich in the league in July so we really need to get a useful lead tonight to defend next month.”
Monarchs will not want to get caught on the hop again as they did a week ago when Peterborough handed them just their home second defeat of the season. Sedgmen added: “That was a surprise but I think we rode pretty well. But Peterborough were stronger than they would usually have been through their use of guest riders, especially Ricky Wells, who did a great job for them. I don’t think we’ll slip up again.”
Ipswich have named Glasgow’s Richard Lawson as a stand-in for Danny King and will operate the rider replacement facilty for the injured Nico Covatti as will Monarchs for Masters.