Speedway: Monarchs signing can be next season’s Masters card

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Edinburgh MONARCHS speedway promoter Alex Harkess today admitted that the club’s new Australian 
capture, Sam Masters, was never on their radar, and his surprise signing came “out of absolutely nothing”.

Supporters have been bountiful in their praise over the enterprise Monarchs have shown in snapping up the 21-year-old ace who was dropped by Somerset Rebels in July, and feel he will almost certainly beef up Monarchs’ Premier League challenge next season, especially away from home.

Harkess said: “Sam was somebody who wanted to come to Edinburgh and he is at an age where he still has a long way to go in this sport. His last visit to Armadale in October, when he guested for Scunthorpe in the play-offs against us, was as good a performance as it got from a visiting rider all season.

“He should not have any fears about riding Armadale and hopefully he will score a lot of points for us on the road.”

It’s not a slight on Monarchs to suggest that Masters was not on their wish list simply because he seemed an ambitious target. “That is a fair point”, said Harkess,” And his signing came out of absolutely nothing, but no rider should be off the radar if you put your mind to it.

“It certainly was not planned, but he is happy to sign for us and we are equally happy to have him. We have never assembled a team yet that we didn’t consider capable of winning the league title.

“It has never been our intention to do anything else. It is always our ambition to win.”

With No 1 Craig Cook due to open talks with Monarchs director John Campbell, who returns from holiday this week, it’s conceivable, providing no hitches arise in securing a new deal with Cook, that Monarchs will have one of the strongest scoring duos in the league in 2013.

Masters is without question a big coup for a Monarchs camp revitalised after staving off closure a few weeks ago. “Only history will tell if we have made the correct decision in signing Sam,” added Harkess.” Depending on what he achieves come the end of 2013, the history books will then judge us. Sometimes you sign big names and they do nothing, while others come up trumps.”

Masters is currently back home in Australia and won the New South Wales crown at the weekend but he is delighted Monarchs have taken him on board because the hurt he felt when Somerset let him go is still raw.

The Rebelsreleased Masters when team-mate Claus Vissing returned from injury. However, Masters’ on-going World Under-21 Final campaign, which could have impinged on his domestic fixtures, was also a factor in their decision.

He recalls: “My Under-21 dates caused a problem for Somerset for most of the season. Perhaps I shouldn’t have qualified for the final in the first place! Somerset had wanted to win the league and didn’t want me to be part of it. They lost out in the end anyway.

“It wasn’t the best thing to have happened to me. I did the best job I could for Somerset over three years and enjoyed my time there. It was a pity it had to end the way it did.”

Masters added:” After spending the latter part of this year without a team I’m so pleased that Edinburgh have come in for me. I wrote on Facebook that I was looking for a new club next season but wasn’t sure if anybody would see.

“I’ll be back in the UK in plenty of time before the new season starts and I’m looking forward to racing for Edinburgh.”