Monarchs lose Fours title as pressure tells in final

Justin Sedgmen, bottom left, was Monarchs' most consistent performer
Justin Sedgmen, bottom left, was Monarchs' most consistent performer
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Edinburgh Monarchs lost their Premier League Fours speedway crown after finishing equal third in yesterday’s showpiece event at Peterborough’s East of England Showground.

The Capital quartet were missing Aussie ace Max Fricke who had to pull out of the meeting following the heavy tumble he sustained in Friday’s Scottish Open Championship at Armadale.

Reserve racer Justin Sedgmen replaced him and was Monarchs’ most consistent rider on the day, but didn’t get the haul of points that his efforts merited.

Monarchs qualified for the Grand Final after notching 14 points in their semi-final group, a total equalled by Workington Comets who also went through.

In the other semi-final Somerset Rebels and Scunthorpe Scorpions progressed to the Grand Final.

The final turned out to be hotly contested and a big improvement on the two scrappy semi-finals which were punctuated by race delays and stoppages. But Monarchs made a poor start to the defence of their crown in the final when Craig Cook was at the back in the opening heat.

This was followed by a point for new Scottish champion Sam Masters in heat two, and a lucky third place for Steve Worrall in heat three.

The racing was unpredictable as the final unfolded, but Monarchs rallied and got three good second places from Sedgmen, Masters and Worrall in succession.

Sedgemen grabbed a point in heat seven and Cook produced one of his famed round-the-boards rides in the next race but was held at bay by Workington’s Josh Grajczonek who rode the same line.

Monarchs were now in third place and just three points off the lead but a single point each for Sedgemen and Cook in heats nine and ten proved to be Monarchs’ undoing as they sensed their grip on the title was slipping.

And so it proved as Somerset clinched glory when Nick Morris won the penultimate heat after a superb battle against Worrall.

Monarchs lost out on runners-up spot when Masters shed a chain in the last race and came down heavily, but was thankfully unhurt.

Monarchs might feel disappointed given how the season has gone for them so far but there can be no complaints over how they performed overall.

Result: 1st Somerset (24 points), 2nd Workington (18), 3rd Edinburgh and Scunthorpe (15).