Edinburgh Monarchs thrash Scorpions in thrilling season opener

Sam Masters and Josh Pickering win Heat 6. Picture: Ron MacNeill
Sam Masters and Josh Pickering win Heat 6. Picture: Ron MacNeill
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Edinburgh Monarchs got their Championship campaign off to a winning start with a commanding 54-36 victory over Scunthorpe Scorpions at Armadale Stadium last night.

In all honesty it was far too easy. Monarchs were in truth two riders down with reserve Mitchell Davey and second-string ace Max Clegg finding the level of competition a bit too hot for them.

Skipper Sam Masters said: “It was awesome to start off with a win, we all felt a bit funny out on the track but I’m sure we’ll get that sorted out.”

Erik Riss was going like an express train then got derailed when he was excluded in the ninth race and he wasn’t happy. The German youngster said: “I got taken out to the fence and the referee decided I was to blame and disqualified me, such things happen.”

Davey after getting a paid win in his opening ride, lamented: “I struggled a bit after that I just couldn’t going all, it was tough.”

But the team must lift themselves for tonight’s trip to Berwick Bandits if Monarchs are to stand any chance of picking up an away win.

It was unfortunate that Scunthorpe were not at full strength for this opening Championship fixture. Their Aussie No.1 Ryan Douglas withdrew from the meeting in the afternoon suffering from food poisoning. Scunthorpe used rider replacement for him which certainly did not make them any weaker because in past seasons Douglas has not been at his best around the Lothian Arena.

Monarchs got off to the perfect start with a 4-2 from Australian duo Masters and Josh Pickering in the opening race against Michael Palm-Toft and Carl Wilkinson.

And, a 5-1 from Mark Riss and Davey in heat two afer the race was awarded when Scorpions Austrian Fritz Wallner fell on the third bend, Monarchs were starting to dominate opening up a six-point lead already. And a 3-3 in heat four which was won convincingly by Monarchs ace Ricky Wells maintained that advantage.

Scunthorpe were frankly not offering much resistance and the hosts increased their lead with a 5-1 from Masters and Pickering in heat six, which prompted Scunthorpe to give a tactical outing to Lewis Kerr in heat seven.

It proved an academic change as Kerr was shunted back to third place as Mark Riss and Wells grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck to notch up another 5-1 which put Monarchs 28-14 in front in what was turning into a very one-sided contest indeed. The Riss brothers were on fire with younger sibling Erik winning his first two rides in tremendous style. And Pickering wasn’t doing too badly either winning heat eight with partner Davey sadly a long way back, Monarchs were almost over the horizon leading 31-17 at the halfway stage.

When Erik Riss was disqualified in the next race Scunthorpe took advantage by scooping their first heat win of the night when Josh Auty and Josh Bailey grabbed a 4-2 against Clegg which reduced the Scorpions arrears to 12 points, 33-21.

But, two further shared heats by Monarchs kept the pressure up and they lead 39-27 with just four heats left.

And Monarchs sailed over the winning line with a 4-2 from Masters and Wells in the final heat.

Monarchs: Wells 13, Masters 13, M Riss 11, E Riss 7, Pickering 6, Davey 2, Clegg 2.

Scunthorpe: Kerr 10, Wilkinson 8, Auty 7, Palm-Toft 6, Bailey 5, Wallner 0.