Edinburgh Monarchs clinched their place in the speedway play-offs with a convincing 54-38 victory at Workington Comets at Derwent Park on Saturday night.
On the same night Redcar Bears, Monarchs’ only challengers for the final qualifying spot, were beaten 56-36 at Glasgow Tigers, and bowed out of contention.
Monarchs will finish in third place in the league when the cut-off date for qualification closes this evening.
Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell said the victory was a “no contest”, with Workington missing two of their top stars in Craig Cook and Thomas Jorgensen who were competing in the Premiership Riders Championship at Belle Vue.
“It was a very pleasing effort by the whole team. It was regrettable that Workington were missing two of their riders. But I always believed, compared to Redcar, we had the run of matches in our favour at the end.
“I always knew Redcar wouldn’t win all their matches at the weekend and so it proved. We provided 13 heat winners over the course of the match, it was a no contest really.
“We’ll be racing on Thursday and Friday this week, no matter who we get in the semi-finals.”
The Comets were under the cosh from the off and although the first race was shared 3-3, Monarchs got a 5-0 verdict in the second race when Max Clegg and Mitchell Davey were the only two finishers.
Monarchs then gained a brace of 4-2 advantages and led 16-4 after just four races. And they never really looked back – and almost strolled over the winning line with precious little opposition from a Comets side who alll but raised the white flag. In all honesty few could blame them, it’s been a wretched season for the Comets with crowds down and this has placed a question mark over their future.
Monarchs got a further 4-2 in the penultimate race and Ricky Wells and Erik Riss finished with a flourish with a 5-1 in heat 15.
Wells stormed to an untroubled 15 point maximum, his first ever away full house.
He said: “It was a great result for us and it was nice to score a maximum at one of my old tracks. I knew the set-ups and I was trapping well.
“Everything felt good and to get all four points was great. It was also one of these nights where I made minimum changes to my machinery.
“We knew we could come here and get some sort of result, now we must wait and see who picks us in the play-offs.”
Anything can happen in the play-offs so Monarchs’ hopes for a sixth league championship remain a possibility.
German ace Erik Riss raced to a 14 point paid maximum from his five rides, and like Wells relished the open spaces of Derwent Park. He was a treat to watch.
Workington: Campton 14, Ostergaard 9, Proctor 9, Williamson 5, Sarjeant 1, Bowen 0
Monarchs: Wells 15, E Riss 14, Masters 8, M Riss 6, Davey 5, Pickering 3, Clegg 3