Edinburgh Monarchs boss calls for fixtures shake-up

Alex Harkess is frustrated by gaps in Monarchs' fixture schedule
Alex Harkess is frustrated by gaps in Monarchs' fixture schedule
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Edinburgh Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess today called for an overhaul of the Championship fixture calendar.

The speedway outfit will be idle this Friday, the second time they have been without a home match in three weeks.

It’s particularly frustrating that Monarchs won’t get the chance to build up momentum following their stunning KO Cup win at Glasgow last Sunday.

Harkess, a former British Speedway Promoters Association chairman, says Monarchs have no consistency with their fixture calendar and fears fans will get out of the habit of 
attending Armadale if racing is only going to take place every fortnight.

Harkess told the Evening News: “We are not consistent. We’re riding one week and not the next. People get out of the habit of going to speedway – that’s the point I’m trying to make. I’m disappointed that we are not consistent with our fixtures. The Friday before last, for example, was a beautiful sunny day and we had no fixture on.

“Too many clubs are riding on a Friday night and won’t take the bookings because their riders are competing everywhere else.”

Harkess continued: “And we at Edinburgh are no different. We have opened the door in letting riders go to European competitions and we are paying the penalty for it because they are never here. And we are in the same situation as these other teams because our riders are in other competitions as well.

“In previous years, there was no guest facility available so they didn’t ride in European tournaments – they just didn’t go. They had the choice of riding 40 or 50 fixtures in this country and chose not to jeopardise this. Now because they are competing in Europe, they get a guest facility, and that’s why their clubs won’t take bookings.”

Harkess wants to see a change to how the fixture list is compiled next season. He said: “The fixtures have been fine recently although they don’t suit everybody. But last year at the annual Promoters AGM it was decided that all clubs would go into one room and sort out the fixtures themselves.

“Some people have louder voices than others and got their own way. It was very disappointing.”

The stop-start season has already impacted on Monarchs new boys Max Ruml and Joel Andersson as Harkess explained: “Max and Joel have not got an average yet because they have not completed four home and four away fixtures. It will be the middle of June before that happens. It’s ridiculous.

“But we have just have to get on with the situation for this season –we have no choice.”