Monarchs head to Scunthorpe quietly confident of picking up points

Alex Harkess has been buoyed by Edinburgh Monarchs' recent displays. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Alex Harkess has been buoyed by Edinburgh Monarchs' recent displays. Pic: Ron MacNeill
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Edinburgh Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess says his team will travel to Scunthorpe Scorpions for tomorrow’s Championship speedway clash confident of “coming away with something”.

The Scorpions are currently ravaged by a raft of injuries and have booked in Joe Lawlor to cover for concussion victim Danny Phillips at reserve.

The rider-replacement facility will operate for Jason Garrity, while Dimitri Berge is expected to fill in for Stefan Nielsen.

Of more significance is the choice of Ipswich Witches star and former Monarch Rory Schlein as guest replacement for Scorpions No.1 Steve Worrall.

And Harkess insists this won’t weaken the Scorpions to any great degree.

Harkess said: “Rory scored a maximum at Scunthorpe just two weeks ago and is a shrewd guest replacement. But as ever with guest riders they are either fantastic or the opposite is true.

“We have certainly done very well at Scunthorpe over the years and I think the team will be confident of coming away with something from the match.”

Last weekend was a good one for Monarchs. Not only did they oust Berwick Bandits from the KO Cup quarter-finals, they then astounded everybody by finishing second in the Championship Fours Finals at Redcar 24 hours later, prompting co-boss John Campbell to assert that he can see real potential in the Monarchs team now.

Harkess agrees. “When you do well in an event like the Fours it gives everybody a lift and helps builds confidence,” he said. “Winning races there gave everybody a big boost.

“And remember we finished runners-up without Ricky Wells, who was racing in Poland.”

Monarchs ace Josh Pickering set pulses racing again at the Fours showpiece with his own brand of cavalier riding, a clear sign the Aussie is blossoming once more

Said Harkess: “Josh seems to be a rider who likes being in the team proper as opposed to being at reserve and I don’t think he looked at reserve as being an easier source of points, I don’t think that thought ever entered his head.

“But since he has been back in the team from the reserve berth, there is no doubt about it, he has got the belief again that he can achieve something.”

Harkess also expressed satisfaction with new signing Victor Palovaara, who replaced Argentinian Coty Garcia.

Said Harkess: “I’ve been very happy with the start he has made. He combined with Ricky (Wells) in two 5-1s in the second leg of the cup match at Berwick and that basically killed off the match as far as Berwick were concerned. And Victor certainly looked the part, because while Berwick is a difficult track, he had no fear of it.

“Victor was riding borrowed equipment which is always difficult. Not only is it difficult to ride, you are always scared in case you are going to wrap up someone else’s bike which would cost a fortune to repair. His own machinery is here now and I’m sure he’ll be fine – I have no worries about him.”