Edinburgh Monarchs maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a thumping 57-33 Championship victory over Berwick Bandits at Armadale.
The Bandits had reshuffled their pairings in a bid to outflank Monarchs. It had no impact whatsoever – it was a bit like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Berwick are a team sinking fast. They have won just one competitive match so far, and unless there is a turnaround in their fortunes soon, their new owners might have to look at changing the side to pacify their supporters, who were vocal in their condemnation of the loss to Monarchs at home last weekend.
Monarchs can only defeat what is dished up to them and it wasn’t their fault that the meeting was so one-sided and a lot of the racing proved quite processional.
Captain Sam Masters said: “It was quite a convincing win. We are still unbeaten and we’re going quite well right now. The team spirit is very good this year and I’m happy with it. Everybody talks to each other during the week and no one seems to be holding anything back.”
Monarchs reserve star Mark Riss came into the match bursting with confidence after guesting for Sheffield Tigers against title favourites Ipswich Witches on Thursday night. Riss scored an amazing 14 points and was topscorer as Sheffield ran out easy winners. It is hoped Riss can emulate this score when Monarchs visit Sheffield on KO Cup first round duty in a couple of weeks time.
Riss made mincemeat of Berwick reserves Dany Gappmaier and Joe Lawlor to win heat two by a country mile and with partner Mitchell Davey following him home, this gave Monarchs their first 5-1 maximum advantage of the evening.
Berwick then surprised Monarchs when Kevin Doolan and Liam Carr sped away in front in the very next race. But Carr came off on the second bend and was disqualified and in the rerun Erik Riss, who was slow from the tapes at the first time of asking, made no mistake this time, fending off a fierce challenge from Doolan.
Max Clegg then spun off and retired.
Erik Riss grabbed his second win of the meeting in heat five and with Clegg atoning for his fall in the third race by claiming a third place point, this 4-2 increased Monarchs lead to 19-10.
Josh Pickering, who finished last in his first outing, tumbled off in heat six and was disqualified, but partner Masters won the rerun convincingly to rescue a share of the points.
Ricky Wells and Mark Riss then secured Monarchs second 5-1 of the night in heat seven to widen the gap to 13 points at 27-14. Doolan was third, but was riding like a teenager and was always lively.
Pickering finally got his first win under his belt by triumphing over Dimitri Berge in heat eight. Then the Bandits secured their first heat win of the meeting thanks to a tactical outing by Claus Vissing in heat nine. The resultant 5-3 closed the gap to 13 points again.
The second half was a carbon copy of the first as Monarchs stretched their lead to 15 points thanks to a 4-2 from Masters and Pickering in heat ten.
Monarchs moved inexorably towards the winning post with a 5-1 from Wells and Masters in heat 13 over Bandits top rider Lewis Bridger and Vissing to lead 49-29.
And Monarchs finished in style with their fourth 5-1 of the meeting courtesy of Erik Riss and Wells in heat 15.
Erik Riss completed a 15-point maximum – his first for the club this season – and he said: “I worked hard for this and I feel good, apart from my starts, I’m not happy with them yet.”
Monarchs: E Riss 15, Wells 13, Masters 11, M Riss 9, Pickering 4, Davey 3, Clegg 2.
Berwick: Doolan 8, Vissing 8, Bridger 7, Gappmaier 7, Berge 3, Carr 0, Lawlor 0.