Ricky Wells says his switch to Edinburgh Monarchs this season after three years at Workington Comets is the ideal move for him – and he’s tipping the Capital speedway outfit to make the play-offs.
Wells was squeezed out at Workingon after they signed former Monarchs No.1 Craig Cook, but says he is not disappointed at the manner of his departure.
“I wouldn’t say I was sad – these things happen,” said Wells “There was no fall-out and I’m still on friendly terms with owner Laura Morgan.
“I think the time was right to move on and as soon as I knew I wouldn’t be back at Workington I did contact Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell and a deal was sorted out very quickly indeed. John was very happy with the deal and I’m equally happy.
“I have been linked with a move to Edinburgh before and at last it’s happened. Edinburgh are a very professional outfit and the management structure is very good. I couldn’t be happier.”
Wells is Monarchs’ marquee signing and is fully expected to form a powerful scoring spearhead with captain Sam Masters. Given the success Monarchs have enjoyed in recent years, there is always a high expectation level on the whole team to deliver.
Wells admits this did weigh on his mind. “Of course it did,” the Auckland-born rider said. “And there is a certain degree of pressure on you before you turn even turn a wheel.
“When you look at Edinburgh’s record over the last couple of years, they either win the league or always seem to reach the play-offs. But I think it’s good to join a side who always seem to be challenging for honours.
“It makes you think about your own personal performances and how important it is to achieve a level of consistency over the whole season, something I didn’t manage in 2016. My away form fell away over the latter part of the season. I don’t quite know why, but I don’t want to repeat this time around.”
Wells has set himself some personal targets for the new campaign and is happy to reveal them. He confessed: “I’ve got the second highest average in the team and if I can end the season without that figure dipping I’ll be more than happy, but a lot can happen over the course of a season. If you can escape injury that’s a huge advantage for anybody.”
Teamwork has been the cornerstone of Edinburgh’s title triumphs in 2014 and 2015 and Wells is hoping to share some of his knowledge among his younger colleagues to make sure there is an inclusive feeling in the Armadale pits.
The 25-year-old said: “I don’t think I’ll be giving too many tips to Sam, but Sam and I have many years of British speedway experience to our name and if we can pass on some tips to the younger guys in the team that should be of benefit to us all to help us go forward.
“Everything will be new to [reserve rider] Josh Pickering, for example. I actually watched him racing in Australia during the winter. He looks to have lots of potential and I think he will do a good job for Edinburgh and any help we can give him to make life easier in his debut season. We’ll make sure he gets it.”
Wells says that a key to Edinburgh’s five title triumphs at Armadale is the fact the Lothian arena is still considered something of a fortress and that is something not to be lightly dismissed.
Said Wells: “Edinburgh do have a huge home advantage and you can’t afford to lose at home if you are going to seriously make a push for the title. One year at Workington we were unbeaten at home, but away from home we picked up just a handful of points and that’s no good at all.
“I like the Armadale track and I’m sure if will be a good home track for me and I expect to score double figures.
“I think we can get to the play-offs this year. It will certainly be harder because only the top four teams qualify.
“At least we haven’t got Somerset to contend with. They were always there or thereabouts, but they have moved in to the Premiership, but that doesn’t mean it will be any easier.”
Wells added: “If we can get everybody going straight from the off and hit the ground running we should be in a strong position. But you have also got to remember that some of the team will take time to settle down and find their feet.”