Edinburgh Monarchs’ American star Ricky Wells doesn’t enjoy settling for second best which is why he has vowed to recapture the form which set him apart from his rivals at the start of this season.
Wells, who survived a heavy crash with Redcar’s Charles Wright last week, has been passed fit to ride in tonight’s tough looking showdown with play-off contenders Ipswich Witches at Armadale with Monarchs seeking quick revenge for their 50-39 defeat in Suffolk eight days ago.
Wells is seeking an upturn in his scoring over the second half of the season and says he has the mental attitude needed to make it happen.
“Everything was working very well at the beginning of the season, everything seemed easy and I wish to continue like that. I’ve gone down a little since then, a few unlucky things have affected my scoring. I lost a backchain and then I had a couple of crashes, and that’s kind of frustrating a little bit and the past seven days haven’t been the best for me.
“Overall I don’t know if I’ve reached a plateau or not, my home form is still up there. I started off with two 15 point maximums and I’m upset that now I’m scoring 12 or 13 and getting second or third places, I don’t like that.”
Wells went on: “I’m very competitive and I’ve been in the workshop to try and get back to basics. To get those 15 point maximums back again would be nice.
“It’s still a long season, there’s four months still to go. The team is doing good, but for myself I think I have to get back to how I began the campaign.
“My needs change and that is what holding me back at the moment.”
Wells says the team is in good shape as they head into the business end of the season. “I think so,” said Wells. “Obviously Max (Clegg) started off in the main body of the team and struggled and dropped down to reserve. Now he is back in the team proper again swapping places with Josh (Pickering) who has dropped down to reserve.
“Josh being at reserve should see him scoring points again and it’s time for Max to ignore the number on his back and keep doing what he did at reserve. He saved us a few times.”
Wells isn’t just a heat leader he takes a keen interest in how some of his younger team-mates are progressing, especially Josh. Said Wells: “Being at reserve helped Max out and hopefully the switch will help Josh, but he needs to work on his gating.
“A lot of the away tracks are gaters’ tracks and you have to do something pretty special to get round them, and Josh is still trying to figure things out.
“The best thing about Josh is he’s no quitter. He keeps trying, giving 100 per cent effort to his racing. He has come to grief a few times trying to score points.
“Even I get mad at him and wish he’d settle for second or third places instead of going for the win all the time. But you can’t knock him too much for trying.”
While his scoring is down a bit, Wells is full of praise for skipper Sam Masters and says: “Sam was down at No.5 but is back at No.1 again, and I think he is back to his old self. He got a 15 point maximum against Redcar last Friday which was good to see.”
A perfectionist he may be, but Wells is realistic enough to know that patience will once again see him delivering the top scores he craves. “I’m scoring 12 or 13 at home and I was speaking to team manager Alex Harkess and he said ‘that’s good’. I only scored six points last week but that was down to my fall.
“With the amount of rain we had against Redcar we were lucky to be racing, and the track had nothing to do with my crash. People moaned about the track, but myself, Ben Barker and Erik (Riss) were all fine with it.
“The week before Kenneth Hansen was crying about the track, if he feels like that he shouldn’t make the trip up. We’re riding speedway, we are not on easy street any more. We are not here to cater for the away riders.”
Ipswich will be the first team to visit Armadale this year with a complete 1-7 line-up. And in Danny King, Rory Schelin and Justin Sedgmen, they have three top riders who are all Armadale experts. Monarchs will all have to be on their game to achieve a positive result.