Popular rider wins at Scottish Open Championship

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Edinburgh Monarchs ace Andrew Tully was almost lost for words after storming to victory in the Scottish Open Championship at Armadale last night, saying: “It’s amazing.”

Tully’s success in lifting the Jack Young Memorial Trophy simply underlined how dominant he is round his home track, and his hugely popular win earned him waves of applause from the overjoyed Monarchs supporters.

Yet Tully didn’t exactly blaze a trail in the qualifying heats after starting off with a poor third place, but the Monarchs No. 1 then reeled off three victories on the bounce to propel him into the Grand Final, where he clashed with pre-meeting favourite Olly Allen, James Grieves and Kevin Doolan.

Tully admits he is not the world’s best gater and he got stranded when the tapes rose behind Allen and Grieves. Tully, however, quickly passed Grieves and set his sights on Allen, who looked comfortable in front before he made an error on the second bend.

That allowed Tully to inch nearer, and when Allen then made another mistake by drifting wide on the fourth bend, Tully didn’t have to be asked twice as he launched past his rival on the inside and never relinquished the lead until he claimed the chequered flag.

Doolan chased air in the final but said afterwards: “I should have done better, but I was just glad to be invited, and the crowd at Armadale are so supportive and enthusiastic.”

Grieves, who had to settle for third place, said: “I chose gate one in the final because I thought it was the best positon, turned out it wasn’t.

“But fair play to Andrew. He deserved to win and it’s always good when a home rider picks up the silverware.”

Allen disguised his disappointment at falling at the final hurdle, commenting: “I’m happy to be on the podium, I made a couple of mistakes which I can’t do anything about now, Andrew passed me as a consequence and fully deserved his win.”

As the champagne flowed, Tully toasted his triumph but confessed: “It’s truly amazing to win this meeting, and it’s something which will look good on my CV. I don’t normally do well in individual meetings, so this made a pleasant change.”

Monarchs had organised the 16-man field to produce a more even contest following Rory Schlein’s runaway win last year and to a degree it paid off. However, some of the racing didn’t reach any great heights and certain entrants, including Redcar’s classy Ulrich Ostergaard and Newcastle’s Mark Lemon only mustered six points each in the qualifying section, ruling them out of getting through to the semi-final.

At one stage it looked as if Monarchs would have two representatives in the final after Theo Pijper qualified through to the semi-final alongside his team-mate Craig Cook, but both men succumbed to Doolan who booked his place in the final, only to disappoint when he finished in fourth spot.

Former Monarch Kevin Wolbert was also considered a good bet for glory but an engine failure in his last qualifying outing cost the German dearly. His ten-point tally, however, was still enough for him to make the semi-final, although he trundled in last and his bid for glory evaporated at that point.

Skipper Matthew Wethers, who doesn’t exactly enjoy individual meetings, endured a torrid time in the qualifiers picking up just four points, his best effort a second place behind Ostergaard in heat ten.

Elite League star Ty Proctor started off pretty well but tailed off and the Wolverhampton racer will feel disappointed with his showing.

But the night belonged to Tully. His racing number was 13, which proved anything but unlucky for the Isle of Man-born speedster.