Edinburgh Monarchs’ Australian ace Max Fricke has been spreading his international speedway wings as he plots his future career path.
Fricke recently returned from a trip to Poland where he turned out for his club Torun in two practice meetings against Bydgoszcz.
Fricke today described the experience as a bit of an “eye opener”.
He told the Evening News: “It was amazing. Everything across there is so much bigger. The tracks are huge and the Polish fans are absolutely mad about their speedway.
“The atmosphere even in practice matches is something else – it was a real eye opener for me.”
Fricke continued: “I managed to pick up a few points in both meetings and I was quite satisfied with that. I’m still very much on a learning curve but riding in Europe is definitely something I need to pursue especially when the time comes if I decide to move up into the Elite League on a permanent basis.”
Fricke has an old head on his slender shoulders and is candid about his prospects of gaining a team berth at Torun this season.
“Torun are a huge club with a superstar squad and it’s unlikely I will get a place with them this year,” he admitted.
“But you never know. If one of their guys gets injured, and obviously nobody wants that to happen, then I might get the call to replace somebody. But right now I’m just enjoying the prospect of soaking up everything across there, and there is a lot to soak up.”
The 18-year-old star who is out to bag the third heat leader role with Monarchs this season, also nipped over to Denmark this week for some outings. “It was a quiet time for me so I took the opportunity to travel across and again I enjoyed the experience and Denmark is another country that I would like to ride in. You can’t always focus your thoughts on the UK and racing in Europe is something I want to do, and it all helps to make me a more rounded rider.”
Fricke also gained some glowing tributes last weekend when he scored eight points guesting for Coventry Bees in their Elite League triumph at Leicester Lions and it seems certain that more guest bookings will come his way if continues the promising start he has made to the season.
Meanwhile, his team-mate and No. 1 Craig Cook has quaified for the British Championship Final at Wolverhampton in June after scoring 13 points in Thursday’s first semi final round at Sheffield’s Owlerton Stadium.
The huge incentive for Cook is to be crowned British Champion which would guarantee him a full-blown berth in the British Grand Prix in Cardiff.
He said: “It’s always been my aim to ride in the Grand Prix, not just as a reserve as happened before, but as part of the official field.
“However, the British Final is a very tough event but I’m pleased for now just to have made it through to this stage of the world championship.”
Cook continues to ride imperiously at Armadale and two outstanding victories over Kevin Wolbert and Theo Pijper, both ex-Monarchs, against Glasgow Tigers a week ago, drew gasps of appreciation from home supporters. Cook said: “The track really came good last week, it was grippy in the first heat.
“I like to ride the bike hard and was able to do that on a track you could attack.
“I enjoy racing at Armadale because it allows me to come and race as I can, though, I wasn’t making very good starts. And that was because I had not done any bike preparation after riding for Belle Vue earlier in the day.
“Hopefully, I will make better starts from now on, though the crowd probably wouldn’t want that!”
Monarchs’ attempt to extend their unbeaten run to nine matches in a row was undone by the weather which saw their Premier League opener against Sheffield Tigers last night washed out 30 minutes before tapes up.
“The rain arrived at the worst possible time leaving us no option but to call the meeting off”, said a Monarchs spokesman.