The dream of a sixth league speedway crown for Edinburgh Monarchs remains a distinct possibility as they hit form at just the right time.
But they will be wary about Lakeside Hammers, who visit Armadale tonight and are considered the last dangerous side who could thwart Monarchs’ play-off aspirations.
Silverware is uppermost in Joel Andersson’s mind. The 22-year-old reserve rider from Sweden scored his first paid maximum for Monarchs as they demolished Workington Comets 65-25 a week ago.
Andersson didn’t do so well in the return fixture 24 hours later and this inconsistency encapsulates his first season of racing in the UK. He admits he has found the going tough on occasions but doesn’t regret his decision to come to this country.
He said: “It has been quite difficult at times. I had been looking to come over to the UK for a couple of years but clubs would make me offers midway through a season which wasn’t any good to me. Some of the offers were quite bad so it simply wasn’t worth while doing it. I’m not here for the money, I’m here to gain experience.
“Edinburgh then called me up and made me a good offer and the time was right.
“I was told about Edinburgh from my good friend Victor Palovaara, who is now a team-mate. I talked with both Edinburgh and Berwick Bandits to decide who I should sign for. Victor told me he really enjoyed the track at Edinburgh and they were also a really good club.
“He had never heard anything bad about Edinburgh. It was an easy choice for me to make.”
Andersson says one of the biggest challenges he faced was conquering some of the away tracks in the Championship. “It’s been pretty hard because every track has been different for me. If you ride in Poland or Sweden the tracks there are big and fast. And that is what I’m used to. But at Armadale I have found it tricky. At the beginning it was just a case of getting my head around things and learning how to ride it.
“I feel I have sorted out most of the away circuits now. I still have some problems with certain tracks – you cannot like them all.”
Andersson was elated at gaining his first paid maximum since joining Monarchs and said: “At last! I felt so good, I felt I rode very well that evening.
“I’m getting some good scores now around Armadale. My starts are also getting better. I have never been the quickest of gaters, but it’s important at Armadale because it’s difficult to pass if you don’t make the start.”
Andersson believes Monarchs are capable of reaching the play-offs. “It would be so much fun because we had such a rough start to the campaign and we had to make changes to the side. We are a stronger team now and scoring heavily at home. If we get to the play-offs all matches are over two legs and the way we have been going lately no one will fancy taking us on round Armadale.
“We just need to step up our game a bit and I need to start scoring some points away from home which I didn’t do at the beginning of the season.”
Whatever happens between now and the end of the season Andersson wants to be back in 2019. “That is my plan, I want to do a couple of years here. You can learn so much racing in the UK and I want to become a better rider. I have got a lot of racing still to do.”