Edinburgh Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess has promised to “build the best team he possibly can” for 2019 following a shock ruling at the annual Promoters AGM that slashed the team building points limit in the Championship next season to 38 from 42.05.
Monarchs were the only side in the league last season who exceeded the old limit and face shedding eight points from their total under the new ruling which will mean savage cuts to their team from top to bottom.
And there is no way Monarchs will be able to track Erik Riss, Ricky Wells, and Richie Worrall – their heat leader trio of 2018. The maths won’t allow it.
But Harkess today defended the decision, taken to save costs, saying things couldn’t stay the same. Doing nothing simply wasn’t an option otherwise some clubs would not have made it to the tapes next season. Harkess told the Evening News: “The new points limit should not have come as a surprise to anybody, it was always on the cards, for the simple reason that most teams lost money – that’s the reality of the situation unfortunately.”
Responding to claims that a new lower limit will dilute the standard of racing at Championship level, Harkess said: “Of course it will, but that is because the standard was higher last season than most clubs in the league could afford and they were not prepared to do it again.
“You simply cannot carry on forever losing a fortune. It’s not just one club, a host of clubs said things need to change. It was all about survival, to be honest. But we at Edinburgh will build the best team we possibly can under the new points limit. We will sit down at look at things. We never sign the same seven riders anyway and we will do our utmost to put a competitive team on track as we do each season.”
The Championship division next season will boast 12 teams including Leicester and Somerset, who have dropped down from the Premiership and will be joined by Eastbourne and Birmingham, who move up from the National League.