EDINBURGH MONARCHS’ belief that they had built a team this season to protect them at Armadale was blown out of the water last night when they crashed to a shock 48-42 League Cup speedway defeat at the hands of a handy Redcar Bears outfit.
The meeting was notable for two bad refereeing decisions which went against Monarchs, but this should not deflect from the fact that the Capital side were extremely poor and lacked any degree of fight when the chips were down.
The first flashpoint of the match happened in heat four when Bears skipper and former Monarch Aaron Summers crashed into the fence entering the third bend, claiming Monarchs star Craig Cook had left him nowhere to go.
To everyone’s astonishment the referee excluded Cook from the re-run, even though there was no contact between the pair going into the corner. Summers, instead of heading back to the pits, waited for Cook to come round and gestured that he was to blame. There was an altercation before Cook threw at punch at Summers, though neither rider was fined for their conduct.
The referee, however, admitted afterwards that he made the wrong decision in disqualifying Cook – but refused to change his mind. The second glaring mistake the official made happened in heat 12 when he excluded Monarchs reserve Charles Wright, despite the fact that the home rider had clearly been knocked off by rival Max Dilger on the fourth bend.
Monarchs co-promoter Alex Harkess said: “The referee had a bad night in my opinion, but having said that, we as a team did not provide enough race winners and suffered too many last places, and you cannot afford to do that at home, no matter who you are, it was a very disappointing result for us.”
The Bears, who used rider replacement for the missing Justin Sedgmen, to their credit got stuck when they sensed Monarchs were toiling, and they won the races that really mattered.
Some of the Monarchs big names were posted missing again, including captain Matthew Wethers, and No. 1 Andrew Tully, who won a paltry two races between them. This scoring from Monarchs alleged top ranked stars simply is not good enough and will have to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Monarchs real hero was Dutchman Theo Pijper, who amassed 14 points from his five rides and was beaten just once by Summers in heat nine, but Pijper got his revenge over the young Aussie in the final heat, keeping him at bay in a humdinger of a duel.
Said Summers: “If the race had been one lap longer I would have caught Theo, but it’s good to come back to Armadale and show I can still do it, I was pleased with my thirteen point score.”
On his bust-up with Cook, Summers added: “He didn’t leave me any room and when I went to shake his hand he was still crying about it.”
Teammate Ulrich Ostergaard gave Summers useful support and picked up ten points, and their pivotal 5-1 advantage against Tully and Cook in heat 13 sealed Monarchs fate.
Bears manager Jitendra Duffil commented: “We simply tried to keep our noses in front when we took the lead and this was a fantastic result for us. I think we can now pick up points almost anywhere on our travels.”
Monarchs: Pijper 14,Tully 9, Cook 6, Wright 5, Sneddon 4, Wethers 4, Dyer 0.
Redcar: Summers 13, Ostergaard 10, Kus 8, Jones 7, Dilger 5, Wilkinson 5.