By his own admission it’s been a tough last couple of weeks for Edinburgh Monarchs’ Josh Pickering, but six points – which included one race win against Peterborough Panthers on Friday – has left the Australian feeling a lot happier with speedway life again.
He told the Evening News: “Friday was a good meeting for me and I felt much happier with my performance. It’s been a tough couple of weeks as everyone knows.
“But I’ve put in a lot of hard work and it’s now starting to pay off.
“It was about me getting my head right again. Because if you get a couple of knocks you lose a bit confidence which is now back.”
Pickering won heat 14 by powering his way to a win over Simon Lambert and that was his first victory in three matches. He said: “I felt good about that because I started to ride the lines I should be doing.
“I felt I was attacking the track again over my last two rides and I enjoyed myself.”
Pickering was moved to No.4 in the Monarchs riding order to help take some of the pressure off him and he said: “It’s not any tougher, it’s just that I don’t go out in the opening heat when the track is a bit greasier and that was tough for me at some of the away tracks I hadn’t seen before.”
Monarchs cruised to a hefty 60-30 victory over the Panthers – far easier than anyone thought – and Pickering observed: “Armadale is a tough track for Peterborough to come to because their own track is so big and fast. And some of them didn’t appear too keen.
“It caught them out and I think they attacked the track a bit to much. I thought the track was the best it’s been for me personally.
“It was a lot more tackier and I wasn’t getting the wheelspin or anything else like that. So it’s a case of onwards and upwards.”
Monarchs visit Sheffield Tigers for the second leg of their KO Cup quarter final tie on Thursday, where they will be defending a wafer-thin four-point first-leg lead.
Pickering said: “There’s no reason why we can’t do it and we’ll have Mark Riss back. The boys are all going good and if we carry the form into the meeting we showed against Peterborough, we stand a good chance.”
Sheffield then visit Armadale on Friday, this time on Championship duty, and Pickering will miss the clash. He explained: “I will be in Germany riding for Australia in the World Under-21 Team Cup semi-finals.
“And the opportunity to ride for your country you have got to grab it with both hands. I don’t want to miss a Monarchs match, but that’s the way it’s worked out.”