Theo Pijper’s return to Edinburgh Monarchs as injury cover for Mark Riss has given the flying Dutchman the opportunity to prove he is still a potent points scorer at Championship league level.
And he is happy to be back at Armadale, where he once held the track record.
He told the Evening News: “I’m more than happy to be back with Monarchs. I was hoping to get out for a little skid last night but the weather put paid to that. I’m making changes to my bikes to make them more suitable for Armadale.”
Pijper was among a number of high profile riders who didn’t find a regular team place with a club this season and he is dismayed about that. He said: “There are a number of ins and outs why I didn’t end up with a team place. But it’s a totally different thing to finding a team place now, although I have no idea how long I will be back with Edinburgh.”
Pijper’s first appearance back in the blue and gold was at Redcar Bears, a match Monarchs lost. Pijper scored just one point and conceded: “Yes it was disappointing because normally it’s a track I’m ok with. But I had a problem with my fuel that night, it had been lying too long and my bike didn’t want to fire properly.
“I certainly didn’t feel that I had enough speed whatsoever, it was a bit frustrating.”
But the following night at home to Scunthorpe Scorpions Pijper’s fortunes were on the up and he scored five points this time. “Things were a little bit better for me, but I wasn’t happy with my performance yet.
“A lot of the other guys have done way more matches than me and it’s difficult to play catch-up under such circumstances and also get used to the Armadale track again, it’s hard to come back when the guys have 10 or 12 matches behind them, it’s really difficult.”
German star Riss is expected to be sidelined for another five weeks after picking up a nasty hand injury against Ipswich Witches recently and Pijper said it wasn’t exactly the ideal situation to herald his return to Monarchs.
“No-one likes to see another rider injured and I know Mark and his family well and I think he has got a good future. If I score well in his place I would really like to stay with Monarchs but I’ll have to wait and see what happens, it’s up to the Edinburgh management in the end.”
Pijper meanwhile is gearing up for the visit of Berwick Bandits to Armadale on Friday, a club he rode for last year. “I really want to do well against them that’s for sure. I’ll have made further changes to my bikes in time for the match. I just want to do my best and score as many points as I can for Edinburgh.
“They have given me this opportunity to ride for them again and I want to do well for them. When you haven’t ridden regularly for a club at the start of a new season you are at distinct disadvantage in terms of the amount of meetings you can do just to keep fit. I haven’t been quite so bad as I have ridden a few speedway matches abroad and I still compete in the World Longtrack Championship.
“But in Britain you need a regular run of matches to stay on top of things. Hopefully I’ve got a few weeks left of my time again with Edinburgh and need to make it count.”
Last night’s Caledonian Riders Championship at Armadale was washed out but it is hoped to restage the event sometime later in the season.
Team manager Alex Harkess: said: “We would very much like to restage it because everything was sponsored. If we don’t have any more rain-offs we are ahead of schedule in terms of fixtures and we should be able to fit it in on another date.”