Edinburgh Monarchs promoter John Campbell today hailed Max Clegg’s performance in Sunday’s 45-45 draw at Newcastle, claiming the rider was “back to his very, very best”.
Monarchs led by four points going into the final race after being eight points down at one point but were thwarted by a last-gasp Newcastle 5-1.
The man who kept Monarchs’ hopes alive was Clegg, who has been struggling in the main body of the team but, having dropped to reserve, he proved a changed performer, racking up 14 points from six outings which included four race wins.
Said Campbell: “Max was a completely different rider from what we have seen so far. He was super confident on Sunday and capable of anything.
“It was Max back to his very, very best. He was the difference. He kept us in the match in the early part and almost won it for us in the end.”
Campbell admitted he was delighted to salvage a draw at Brough Park because he simply couldn’t see Monarchs winning the match. “I was very pleased to get a draw because when we were eight points down, I couldn’t see where we going to get a race winner from.
“Newcastle’s reserves were so poor they had seven races where they were fortunate to score points so that obviously was going to keep things close right up until the end.
“It was only when Erik Riss won a race, and we got a 5-1 in heat 13 that, all of a sudden, we thought we might get a win.”
The result helped Monarchs to leapfrog Glasgow Tigers and return to the top of the league and that gave Campbell great satisfaction after dropping two points to them at Armadale on Friday.
He said: “After Glasgow’s draw against us on Friday and their win against Redcar on Saturday night, they were top for 24 hours, but we are top again and that is very pleasing.”
Monarchs’ Aussie star Josh Pickering had to withdraw from the Brough Park encounter after a nasty fall in heat eight in which he hit the safety fence at high speed while in third place on his own.
Campbell said: “He has muscle damage to his neck and upper back. He was awful, he couldn’t handle it, and I’m sure he’ll say that himself.
“I think he got a little excited at the prospect of scoring a point in his third ride and came off at the first and second turn and he was mad with himself.
“He can barely move at the moment and he’ll be sore but hopefully he will recover in time for the return match against Newcastle on Friday.”