Ryan Fisher’s fondness for nostalgia has extended to his choice of race format for his Border Roofing-sponsored testimonial at Armadale tonight (7.15pm).
It’s a straight battle over 20 heats with a four-rider final, dispensing with the irksome and convoluted twin semi-finals so beloved of individual meetings of recent years.
Monarchs skipper Sam Masters must be a frontrunner for victory. The Australian, apart from last week against Newcastle Diamonds, has been pretty impressive so far this season and, allied to the form he is also showing for his Elite League club Wolverhampton, could take some stopping.
Masters’ former Monarchs team-mate Justin Sedgmen, who formed such a productive partnership with Craig Cook in 2015, will also be viewed as a possible contender.
Glasgow Tigers captain Aaron Summers should give a good account of himself. Summers, another former Monarch, certainly knows the fastest way around the Lothian Arena.
Unfortunately Fisher’s plans to reunite his title winning 2008 squad have been torpedoed. William Lawson and Andrew Tully will be riding but Swede Thomas H Jonasson, according to the organisers, has found it “too tough” to put arrangements in place to come over. Fellow Scandinavians Kenneth Hansen and Dennis Jonsson have also been unable to take part. This seems a great pity given their assurances when first invited.
Workington’s Adam Roynon and Ipswich’s James Sarjeant have stepped in as replacements at short notice.
Perhaps the two most intriguing riders who are flying over are Fisher’s fellow Americans Charlie ‘Dukie’ Ermolenko and Billy Janniro. Janniro and Fisher were team-mates at Coventry and also USA colleagues at international level.
Said Fisher: “Of all the guys I wanted at my meeting Billy was the one I wanted the most. Billy signed for Coventry the same year as I did and we were very close, we had also raced together as kids.
“We did have some pretty wild days together and all the stories about us are true! And I think Billy will be someone who the fans will love to watch.”
Monarchs supporters would of course be delighted if Fisher could win his own meeting. The Californian certainly wouldn’t blush if he managed it. However, he probably needs to be a tad more consistent to pul it off but don’t discount him.
Riding Order: Ryan Fisher, Dan Bewley, Andrew Tully, Matej Kus, Ricky Wells, Justin Sedgmen, Adam Roynon, Charles Ermolenko, Sam Masters, William Lawson, Aaron Summers, Billy Janniro, James Sarjeant, Ludvig Lindgren, Fernando Garcia, Mitchell Davey.