He had never been to Peterborough Panthers’ race track before but Josh Pickering’s seven points for Edinburgh Monarchs underlined what a sterling job the young Aussie is doing from the tricky No.2 position in the team.
Monarchs lost 48-45 in their Championship clash on Sunday, an incredible result considering they were without Erik and Mark Riss. They secured a match point many didn’t think possible to strengthen their position at the top of the table.
And Pickering proved to be a fearless performer round the East of England Showground bowl. He said: “It was a decent performance and I was pleased with how I rode. I got a second and a third from my first two rides but I was lacking speed so I changed some things on my bike and I was more than happy to score a few more points.”
Pickering shone in his third ride when he rode a stunning race to defeat Panthers duo Bradley Wilson-Dean and Simon Lambert. He said: “I had to work hard for that victory, I backed myself and the outside line I chose worked well for me.
“Without a doubt we would have won had Erik and Mark been there, the odds were definitely against us going in to the meeting but we battled as hard as we could and got a deserved match point.”
Promoter John Campbell observed: “We came very close to taking something more with the boys we had, and a bit more luck and we would have done it.”
And now Pickering is looking forward to this week’s derby clash against Glasgow Tigers at Armadale. Reflecting on their heavy 57-34 drubbing at Ashfield recently, Pickering said: “That meeting is one I want to forget about, I had some trouble there.
“Then I had a coming together with Sam (Masters) and broke my fingers. I also crashed on my own. But we put that result behind us and rode a lot better against Workington Comets on Friday and I managed to win a race.”
The Tigers will be motivated as they seek an early double over Monarchs, but Pickering maintains if Monarchs ride to their capabilities they can gain revenge.
He said: “The Tigers’ top three have all ridden Armadale many times before, it’s like a second home track to them, they are very good. And Dan Bewley, who rode for Edinburgh last season, is back this time with the Tigers so really they have four riders who are very hard to beat.
“But if we can make some good starts and compete with Glasgow there is no reason why we can’t get the win.”