Magnificent Monarchs claim place in record books

Monarchs celebrate following last night's win. Pic: RON MacNEILL
Monarchs celebrate following last night's win. Pic: RON MacNEILL
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EDINBURGH MONARCHS rewrote the speedway record books at Armadale last night after crushing Workington Comets 63-29 in their Premier League clash.

It was Monarchs’ 24th match unbeaten this season, eclipsing the previous best established by Arena Essex Hammers back in 1991. But Monarchs did not have to break sweat for their landmark triumph as the Comets, who had lost at Redcar Bears 24 hours earlier, never really got in to their stride.

The Comets were earmarked as potential champions at the start of the season but their performance fell way below the gold standard. Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess said no one would have predicted just how easy Monarchs made it look.

He said: “The fact is we are strong at home but I think everybody expected Workington 
to have pushed us a lot harder than they actually did. But we’re a real seven-man team and it’s very difficult for visiting teams to make inroads when we are on such good form.

“As for claiming the record, now that we have got it there is nothing else to beat. I would have hated had we messed up, but now I’m not concerned about it any more.”

Workington will be disappointed at the lack of fight displayed by their heat leaders, especially their No.1 Josh Grajczonek, who managed a paltry two points which surprised everybody. Harkess added: “Josh is a good rider who has done well at Armadale in the past. He had a bad night which happens at one time or another and, if he were to come back next week, I’m sure he would do much better.”

For Monarchs, it’s getting to be like Groundog Day as they march effortlessly on, but even they could not have imagined just what a stroll this victory was. At the halfway stage, they were cruising 31-19 and the meeting was over as a meaningful contest.

One of the more striking performances from Monarchs came from Aaron Fox at reserve. The Californian picked up two wins which included an impressive victory over Rene Bach in heat eight. And he was ably supported by his tail-end partner Derek Sneddon, who pitched in with nine.

The fact that both Monarchs reserves were in tune eased the pressure on their top five. Fox said afterwards: “I felt good. I made some decent starts and, when you hit the first turn in front, it makes life so much easier for you. But it was a great win for the whole team and to get the record was fantastic for everybody.”

Fox gleaned a single point from his last outing whilst aboard Justin Sedgmen’s bike. “I was having trouble getting mine going,” added Fox. “So Justin kindly lent me his and it suited me just fine.”

Monarchs’ top scorer was Craig Cook, who raced to a paid 15-point maximum which will have made up for his exclusion from the Team GB World Cup starting line-up announced earlier this week.

Team-mate Max Fricke was also in fine form, picking up three wins as he stormed to a 12-point total. Cook and Fricke were out in the heat-15 top scorers’ race and they both passed Bach on either side for a rip-roaring 5-1 which sent Monarchs crashing through the 60-point barrier again. The one Monarch who perhaps will be feeling slightly disappointed was Sam Masters, who failed to win a race. The Aussie certainly needs to take the chequered flag a bit more often to justify his status.

Bach was Comets’ best performer with 13 points which encompassed a tactical outing win against Masters and Sneddon in heat seven. That was the Comets’ only heat success all night which underlined just how soundly beaten they were.

Only Ricky Wells with seven points offered any semblance of support to Bach.

Monarchs, meanwhile, visit Berwick Bandits tonight on KO Cup quarter-final first leg business and, the way the Bandits have been going recently, Monarchs might get more of a challenge than Workington managed to give them.

Monarchs: Cook 14, Fricke 12, Sneddon 9, Fox 8, Worrall 7, Sedgmen 7, Masters 6.

Workington: Bach 13,Wells 7, Lambert 5, Campton 2, Grajczonek 2, Carr 0.