Sam Masters wants to become ‘master’ of Armadale

action man: Sam Masters is working on his engines to accommodate his home track. Picture: Ron MacNeill
action man: Sam Masters is working on his engines to accommodate his home track. Picture: Ron MacNeill
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Sam Masters was Edinburgh Monarchs’ hero when he tucked in for second place behind No.1 Craig Cook at Berwick Bandits last weekend.

The 5-1 they gained in the last heat of the match saw Monarchs clinch a 47-43 win to propel them to the top of their League Cup qualifying section with a super chance of making the semi-finals.

As Masters gears up for tonight’s sterner test against Workington Comets at Armadale, he revealed he had no clue what the score was going into that top scorers’ showdown saying he goes out to win every race no matter the situation. “I was only told the scores were level with one heat left after the meeting was over,” Masters said. “Team manager Alex Harkess came up to me to say the team needed an advantage in heat 15 to win and could I do it. I replied, why not?

“So Craig and myself did what we were asked and I was stoked by it. We always had it in us to beat Berwick, it was a great result for everybody.”

Yet Masters could easily have blown it after he decided to change bikes for that vital climax. He said: “I had not been gating all evening so I decided to switch bikes to try and get off the start, it’s all about getting in to that first corner at Berwick. It worked and I go in to every race to win whether it’s heat 15 or heat one.”

Masters continued: “I wasn’t that happy with my own performance on the night. I was a bit up and down and perhaps because I did not race in the UK in 2013, I’m not as sharp as perhaps I should be. But I will get there and have got all year to do it.

“I’m in an awesome Edinburgh side, Craig is the best rider in the Premier League and Derek (Sneddon) is the best captain in the whole country, he is brilliant to work with.”

Well publicised visa problems forced Masters to stay at home last season and he is aware that much hard work awaits him to get him back to the competitive level he was at two years ago.

“It is going to be pretty tough,” he revealed. “I finished pretty well at the end of 2012 considering how bad that season went for me in terms of the injuries I had. Yet strangely the year off I had may have been good for me just to get over the various knocks I suffered.

“Sometimes people have no idea how hard it is in the British Premier League. And while I did well in Australia over the winter, it does not relate to speedway life here where you have to ride hard for four laps and five races per meeting.”

Masters is not the type of rider who is scholarly about following Monarchs’ League Cup qualifying process, but confessed their unbeaten start to the competition has given everybody a big boost this early in the season.

“I don’t really think about things like that. I just try and do my best in every match I compete in. I did have a bit of a stinker against Berwick at home last week, but all the other guys chipped in with points and that’s the important thing. “I’m still trying to figure things out round Armadale. I have always ridden big tracks and my engines are not really set up for tight grippy circuits like Armadale. However I feel I’m getting close to getting on top of that. Before I signed for Edinburgh I had good meetings at Armadale and there is no reason why I can’t do the same this year.”

Masters added he has no regrets about joining Edinburgh and feels the vibes are strong in the pits already.

He said: “I have never been in a team where every rider gets on so well. But while Craig is scoring maximums almost at will, we can’t and shouldn’t rely on him all the time.

“We need to back him as best we can. Craig gives us a scoring target to aim at and we’ll be chasing him, that’s for sure!”

Workington are wearing the millstone of championship favourites and their 60-31 thrashing of Glasgow Tigers in their first League Cup clash of the season underlined their credentials, although it must be noted Glasgow do not boast the strongest squad on the circuit.