With no fixtures having been raced yet in the Championship Shield Borders qualifying group, Edinburgh Monarchs American star Ricky Wells says it is very difficult to gauge how strong their other rivals in the section are.
Monarchs, whose opening group fixture at Berwick Bandits was rained off, entertain Workington Comets home and away this weekend and Wells insists they must try and pick up full points from both matches if they want to reach the semi-finals.
Said Wells: “Berwick was frustrating, they had the covers on but when they took them off it didn’t look as if there was much chance of the meeting going ahead. We’d been there about an hour, and while I admired their ambition for trying to get it on they should have reached a quicker conclusion.
“I’m looking forward to the first match tonight at Armadale. Workington are a former club of mine.
“We had a good warm up against a past champions side last Friday and considering we won at Workington last season I feel strongly that we can do he same again this time as well.”
But although Monarchs eked out a 48-40 challenge victory against a team of ex-Monarchs riders seven days ago, Wells said conditions were far from ideal but praised the Monarchs track staff for getting the match on.
He said: “We were pretty lucky to get away with it to be honest. The track was very sticky and icy. I hate Edinburgh when it is like that. I have my best meetings for Edinburgh when the track is grippy.”
With the bad weather wiping out a host of fixtures since the tapes rose on the UK speedway season last month Wells said teams haven’t had a chance to build up any momentum as yet. Workington have always struggled at Armadale even when I rode for them.
“I would always score half their points and I say that without sounding cocky. I think we need to get six points this weekend and I think that must be the goal for everyone in the side.
“I spoke to skipper Erik Riss this week and he feels the same way. If we go to Workington with that mentality it will be a good start to the season for us.”
Wells can get irritated when things don’t run smoothly for him and he suffered a few dips in form in 2017. He insists things are going in the right direction for him this year despite the limited amount of matches he’s had. “It’s gone okay so far,” said Wells. “I struggled last Friday with my bike set-up.
“I’m also struggling with an arm injury I picked up in Australia during the winter and I’m currently receiving physiotherapy on it.
“But I got my engine sorted after I made a stupid mistake.
“I have never made such a mistake with my set-up in my whole career and I’m not going to mention it again. Last year I started off very well, this year I think I’ve started off at the same level.
“I was in Poland last week and things went okay there. Our first match at Glasgow was a pretty decent meeting for me.
“I messed up in heat 15 a bit which was unfortunate, it was an error on my part and one I took full responsibility for it.”
The desperation for riders to get track time in a bid to beat the weather backfired on Workington’s Aussie ace Mason Campton last weekend.
Campton travelled to Leicester on Sunday and did a few laps but then crashed, breaking his wrist in four places.
Wells revealed: “Mason and myself share a house together and it was unfortunate and unlucky for him. I’ve never known him to go out and practise.
“He was just so anxious to get on a bike and do some laps and it backfired on him.
“But I think he’ll be back in action at the end of the month.”
Monarchs’ Swedish rider Joel Andersson came a cropper a week ago after suffering a horrifying spill in heat 14 of that challenge match. Despite stories that Andersson was concussed which could have kept him out of action this weekend, Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess expects him to ride.
Said Harkess: “He injured his shoulder in the pile-up that was all and I fully expect him to be fit for both our meetings, there was no suggestion of any concussion.”
Edinburgh have confirmed that this year’s Scottish Open Championship will take place on Friday, May 11th and will be sponsored once again by Harrisons, Ford dealers of Peebles.