Speedway: Sam Masters wins Scottish Open

Sam Masters receives the Scottish Open trophy from David MacFarlane. Pic: Ron MacNeill
Sam Masters receives the Scottish Open trophy from David MacFarlane. Pic: Ron MacNeill
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Edinburgh Monarchs Aussie ace Sam Masters dethroned his team-mate and defending champion Craig Cook to lift the Scottish Open speedway title at Armadale.

However, Masters – who was easily the most consistent rider in the qualifying heats losing just once to Newcastle’s Stuart Robson – was made to sweat for his first-ever triumph when the Grand Final had to be rerun after Max Fricke ran into the back wheel of Cook at the first time of asking after the youngster lost momentum in the home straight when Masters thundered underneath on the fourth turn.

Fricke was disqualified and his hopes glory of were dashed in the most unfortunate of circumstances.

When the tapes rose for a second time, Masters, who had gated like lightning all evening, once more powered his way to the first turn breathing fresh air. And when Redcar’s Ulrich Ostergaard fell off, it was a straight two man battle between Cook and Masters for the crown.

Masters, though, was always in control last night and when Cook made a wobble on the fourth bend, he realised at that moment his reign as champion was over.

Masters has been working hard to sort out his gating woes and his endeavours paid off handsomely and no one could begrudge that he deserved to be anointed as Cook’s successor.

Masters had an even bigger smile than normal as he held aloft the MSSC Jack Young trophy, but admitted: “Before the start, I did not even think about winning the meeting. Craig has been in such good form at home that I didn’t honestly think I would get near him. But it’s great to win this title especially in front of all the Monarchs fans. I’m stoked”

Cook, who faced the ignominy of having to win the semi-final to make the Grand Final, never looked that comfortable and when he was disqualified in heat 16 for touching the tapes, it summed up his night.

He said: “I’m gutted to have lost my title to be honest, but I couldn’t have lost to a nicer guy. Sam made some great gates and fully deserved to win.”

Ostergaard, who finished in third spot, said: “I enjoyed myself and I always enjoy riding at Armadale and getting a podium place was cool.”

Fricke could only reflect on his bad luck and commented: “We all rode hard in the Final and I made a mistake when I was on the outside of Sam. What happened after that is just a bit of a blur really.”

Although the 16-man field wasn’t the strongest compared to some years, the racing was pretty tasty and produced some lively duels. Jozsef Tabaka, who made his Lothian Arena return after breaking his leg in October, scored four points.

Result: 1. Sam Masters, 2. Craig Cook, 3. Ulrich Ostergaard, 4. Max Fricke.