German racer Mark Riss is hoping he’ll maintain a steely egde when Edinburgh Monarchs face Sheffield Tigers in a KO Cup quarter-final first leg clash at Owlerton tonight.
The tie will provide the Capital side with easily their stiffest test of the season to date.
Riss guested for the Yorkshire outfit out a couple of weeks ago and racked up 14 points from seven rides in their Championship clash against Ipswich Witches which they won 57-33. Sheffield team boss Simon Stead called Riss’s performance outstanding, adding: “He was an exceptional guest for us.”
Now Monarchs believe if Riss can come anywhere near to emulating that haul he could hold the key to them turning the tables on their rivals and progressing to the semi-finals and a clash against Ipswich.
Riss said: “I hope to score the same again and I’m looking forward to it. I think I’ll ride the same engine again.
“Sheffield is a big track and is quite fast. You have got to make sure your engines are up to scratch.”
Riss is already turning heads as one of the best reserves in the Championship and last week he was snapped up by Premiership club Wolverhampton Wolves to replace struggling Max Clegg.
He made his debut for Wolves in their big win over Rye House on Monday and scored five points. Riss said: “It was a bit of a surprise they phoned me because I was not thinking about riding in the Premiership this year. It was my goal to get in next year.
“Obviously I will get a lot more meetings as well and that will help me improve even more. I definitely want more meetings and to ride as much as possible. I think I have improved this season already and I’m happy with how things are going for me.”
Team manager Alex Harkess is aware of just how good the Tigers are. He said: “Sheffield are a lot of people’s tip to get into the play-offs and they will definitely be the best side we have faced so far.
“They have a big home advantage and their track can be quite intimidating to some.”
But Harkess is confident Riss can put in another showstopping performance. “Having scored 14 guesting for Sheffield Mark now has no fear about the place.
“There us no reason why he can’t do it again and I hope he does. If we can keep the deficit down to ten points we will have a chance at Armadale tomorrow in the second leg.
“Once you get above ten you begin to hand the advantage to Sheffield, but our heat leaders have had good matches at Sheffield and after our stunning away win at Scunthorpe Scorpions on Sunday our tails are very much up.”
Promoter John Campbell said: “We need to keep the scores tight to reach the semi-finals and we’d love it if Mark was to score 14 for us this time.”