Speedway: Max Fricke will miss Tigers clash

Monarchs captain Derek Sneddon returns to the pits after the meeting against Ipswich was rained off. Picture: Ron MacNeill
Monarchs captain Derek Sneddon returns to the pits after the meeting against Ipswich was rained off. Picture: Ron MacNeill
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Edinburgh Monarchs crocked reserve ace Max Fricke today ruled himself out of tomorrow’s big Scottish Cup speedway showdown against Glasgow Tigers at Ashfield,

Fricke is however hoping to return to the saddle for his side’s rearranged Premier League fixture against high flying Ipswich Witches at Armadale next Tuesday.

Fricke badly injured his lower back when he plunged through the safety boards after colliding with Somerset Rebels rider Kyle Newman eight days ago, but he revealed he is still not 100 per cent fit and does not want to risk coming back too early.

Fricke told the Evening News: “I’m taking things as they come at the moment, but Tuesday is a possibility. I definitely won’t be racing at Glasgow or Workington on Monday because three days in a row would be a bit demanding for me.

“Depending on how I feel and how well I recover over this weekend, I will then decide if I should come back or not.”

“I still cannot lift anything heavy and my movement remains restricted. I had a couple of sessions of physiotherapy this week and that helped me a bit. I will keep that up and see how I progress.”

Monarchs Scottish Cup participation has been criticised in some quarters, coming when the team are heavily involved in the Premier League play-off and in the Knockout Cup semi-finals.

Their already hectic schedule was complicated further by the postponement of last night’s meeting with Ipswich Witches. Persistent rain resulted in the Armadale track becoming impossible to race on.

Glasgow, however, who have had a horrendous season so far, are naturally keen for the ties to go ahead to give their coffers a much needed boost, so there will be no respite for the Capital die.

Monarchs Dutch star Theo Pijper, who guested for the Tigers last weekend and scored seven points, said: “It’s certainly going to be a heavy schedule for us, especially now that our match against Ipswich has been rearranged for Tuesday.

“But the Scottish Cup still means a lot and the Edinburgh supporters like nothing better to see us winning at Ashfield – it doesn’t matter what the competition is.”

Glasgow have had to stand in the shadows and watch with some envy as Monarchs season has truly lifted off. In saying that, the Tigers may feel they have a good chance of winning their first-leg tie after they snatched a 45-45 draw against fellow basement stragglers Sheffield Tigers last Sunday, which ended a 20-match losing streak stretching back all the way to May.

It was Joey Ringwood, their tail-end star, who grabbed most of the headlines when he romped to a 13-point haul which included four wins in the space of just eight heats.

Ringwood could well pose a problem for his Monarchs opposite numbers, but could not explain his sudden improvement in form.

He said: “I’m getting better now and I’m starting to make a few starts. At Ashfield most of it is off the start. Some riders’ are so good from the gate that you just have to try and beat them into the first corner. It makes the job so much easier.

“I was so pleased to score 13 points, but I don’t know what to put it down to. I have had a new engine for about three weeks now and it seems to be working well for me.”

Ringwood admitted that everybody in the Glasgow camp seemed a lot better after snapping their long losing streak, adding: “Theo was a really good guest and he helped us all out. There are just a few meetings left for us now and then I’ll be going home and hopefully come back in 2014 to do it all again.”

Monarchs have drafted in Tommy Fenwick to ride at No. 6, but haven’t as yet found a replacement for the No. 7 spot. Monarchs co-boss John Campbell said: “ I think our team will still be good enough to win.”

New date for Witches tie

Edinburgh Monarchs bosses are to restage last night’s washed-out clash against Ipswich Witches at Armadale on Tuesday night with the usual 7.30pm start time.

And chairman Alex Harkess is urging supporters to turn out in force for a fixture which could decide if the Capital side finish in the top two in the Premier League to give them choice of opponents when the play-off groups begin later this month.

Said Harkess: “We want to get the match out of the road before the cut-off date for the play-offs which is a week on Sunday.”