A mechanical nightmare for skipper Sam Masters was the big factor in Edinburgh Monarchs slipping to a heavy 57-36 Premier League defeat at Workington Comets on Saturday, the Derwent Park outfit quickly avenging their loss at Armadale Stadium just 24 hours earlier.
Masters, who has been in splendid double-figure form for Monarchs so far, blew two engines and ended up with just two points to show for his efforts, a setback the rest of his team-mates just could not absorb.
The Australian revealed: “I had not blown an engine since 2011 and then I blow two on the same night!
“But I still think I’m ahead of the game as far as luck goes.”
Team manager Alex Harkess said: “The gremlins Sam suffered certainly did not help because our heat leaders matched Workington’s early doors. But the track got slicker and faster and we just could not compete after that.”
Frustratingly Monarchs made a strong start to the match picking up a 4-2 in the opening race with Erik Riss heading home Comets No.1 Ricky Wells. The scores were tied, 12-12 after four heats with Monarchs providing three race winners. And Monarchs were heading for another 4-2 in the fifth race until Masters slowed down.
But the Capital outfit then surrendered two 5-1 advantages which undid their early good work. Riss won a double-points tactical ride in heat eight and Monarchs were only seven points adrift at this juncture. However, a possible 5-1 in heat 11 was thwarted when Masters once again stopped, and after this the match slipped away from Monarchs.
Riss was Monarchs top individual scorer romping to a brilliant 14-point haul and he was well supported by fellow German Kevin Wolbert, who weighed in with 11.
Unfortunately Monarchs other top line star Ryan Fisher had a miserable evening, finishing with six points despite winning his first race, a disappointment for Fisher and fans alike.
The other major problem was senior reserve Max Clegg’s failure to score. Clegg simply needs to do better, especially as his partner, young Dan Bewley, is still trying to find his feet in the Premier League and is doing just fine right now. He scored two points. If Clegg cannot cut the mustard away from home and some of Monarchs top four have an off-night, it could be a long campaign for the defending champions. However, that doesn’t mean changes cannot be made to the squad if the Monarchs management deem minor surgery is required. Wells and former Monarch Claus Vissing each scored 11 points for the Comets.
Meanwhile, Monarchs league fixture at Redcar Bears on Thursday has been rescheduled until later in the season.
Workington: Wells 11, Vissing 11, Campton 9, Hansen 8, Roynon 7, Jensen 6, Williamson 5.
Monarchs: Riss 14, Wolbert 11, Fisher 6, Masters 2, Bewley 2, Etheridge 1, Clegg 0.