Monarchs chief eager to get balance of 2018 team just right

John Campbell and Alex Harkess is determined to get Monarchs' team just right next season. Pic: Ron MacNeill
John Campbell and Alex Harkess is determined to get Monarchs' team just right next season. Pic: Ron MacNeill
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Edinburgh Monarchs co-promoter Alex Harkess admits mistakes were made on the overall strength of the Capital speedway squad in the season just ended and has vowed to redress the issue as he wrestles with the blueprint of building a side for 2018.

Despite failings in some areas, Monarchs finished third in the Championship table – ahead of big-spending Glasgow Tigers.

According to Harkess, most of the Monarchs team want to be back at Armadale come the spring but is waiting to see what the upcoming Promoters AGM decides before frming up on his plans.

He said: ”At the moment, we have about 25 different permutations for our squad for next season. But I think first of all we will choose two or three riders for our proposed team providing they are able to come back.

“We know where our strengths were this season and where our weaknesses were. So we know what we have to do to equalise the overall strength.”

Harkess thinks the AGM will vote to reinstate a 42.05 points limit for all Championship teams next season feeling the 40.00 limit this year was far too rigid in terms of assembling a competitive enough team.

With the Premiership set to race on set days in 2018 – Mondays and Thursdays – this will ease the doubling-up position which caused untold chaos this year with many visiting teams to Armadale forced to use guest riders as the the higher division had first call on many No.1 riders.

Said Harkess: “If the set day proposal is passed, because we run on a Friday evening we won’t be affected to the same degree as we were this season.”

Away team manager John Campbell says he was disappointed at how Monarchs’ season ended up despite reaching the play-offs for the sixth year in a row only to fail at the semi-final stage to Ipswich Witches.

He said: “I felt we had the riders capable of taking us at least to the final and I was disappointed that we just missed out.”

One major bugbear for Campbell was the failure of the team to all click together at the same time. He said: “I think it was one of the question marks to come out of the season – why we couldn’t get going at the same time.

“Ricky Wells started the season on fire but Sam Masters struggled at the start due to various causes. But then as Sam improved, Ricky’s form dipped a little.”

Without question reserves Max Clegg and Mitchell Davey failed to live up to their experience and this was a major let down.

Cambpell added: “Max and Mitchell were two of the most experienced reserve riders in the league and they had their moments but there were other times they were beaten by riders that they should not have been.”