Such has been the unpredictability of Edinburgh Monarchs’ collective scoring this season, even co-promoter John Campbell says he has no idea what to expect from his side’s speedway Premier League trip to Redcar Bears on Teesside tonight.
Desperate to climb the table, Monarchs, who normally do well at Redcar, have too often been thwarted on the road by their inability to click together as a seven-man unit. Campbell admits: “I can’t tell, it’s impossible to know what we’ll do tonight, and it’s also impossible to predict what Kalle [Katajisto] will score. I know we’ll have three riders who will do well and Kyle [Howarth] should get some points from reserve. Other than that, who knows.”
Monarchs will be without skipper Matthew Wethers, who injured his leg at Somerset Rebels last week. They will continue to use the rider replacement facility to cover for the influential Aussie.
But the Bears don’t have to seek their troubles either and are still reeling from the loss of veteran ace Jason Lyons, who broke his leg at Glasgow Tigers a fortnight ago. Bears team manager Jitendra Duffill acknowledged: “It was a horrible injury and it’s taken the wind out of our sails. We want to finish as high in the league as possible, but it’s going to be hard now as we approach the run-in to the season.”
Duffill added: “Jason’s accident is a huge blow to the club, both on track and off.”
Still without Czech international Matej Kus, who is serving a 28-day ban for “withholding his services” at the Teesiders’ home win over Glasgow, the Bears welcome back to their line-up Adam Roynon, who has been sidelined since April after breaking his thigh at Ipswich Witches.
Monarchs will be hoping that their top three of Kevin Wolbert, Andrew Tully and the sometimes enigmatic Craig Cook, will replicate the sparkling prowess they displayed at home to Somerset Rebels at Armadale on Friday, when they basically scored at will.
Wolbert, who is doubling-up for Poole Pirates in the Elite League, stormed to an impressive 15-point maximum and said afterwards: “That was one of my best meetings for Monarchs, I felt very happy with my display and hope to continue like this until the end of the season.”
Tully dropped just two points from six rides and has been something of a revelation in the muddy conditions of late at Armadale. It’s just away from the confines of the Lothian arena that he has been a bit inconsistent, but he does have a few excursions left to redress this.
Howarth is back in the saddle after missing Monarchs’ home clash with Somerset. The teenager was still feeling battered and bruised after running into Wethers in heat 14 of their away defeat by Somerset at the Oak Tree Arena two days earlier.
But Howarth could be a vital cog and likes the Redcar circuit. He was buoyed recently by his performance in the National League Riders Championship at Rye House when he grabbed silver behind his Belle Vue Colts team-mate Jason Garrity, who won the event.
Howarth said: “I was happy with my second place, but obviously you go into a meeting to win it. I didn’t, and to that degree I was disappointed.
“It was a tough meeting because everyone took points off each other and there was nobody in the field who couldn’t be beaten. I was sorry to have missed Monarchs’ match on Friday but I’m feeling fine now and raring to go again.”
Monarchs are currently seventh in the league on 47 points. Redcar, who lost 52-41 at Scunthorpe Scorpions on Friday, lie eleventh on 44 points.