The Parsons Peebles Monarchs ran out comfortable winners by 58-32 against a Peterborough team which was expected to provide a much greater threat at Armadale tonight.
Alex Harkess said “That was a much better night on a tricky track. I’m happy with the way all of our riders got stuck in with great displays by Ricky Wells, Erik Riss and especially Josh Pickering, very much improved.”
This returned Monarchs to second spot in the table and is a big boost to their chances of making the end-of-season Playoffs (for the top four), especially as rivals Redcar were beaten at home tonight by table-topping Sheffield.
If was Sheffield who burst the Monarchs’ home record last week on an unlucky night for the Armadale side, so tonight’s fixture was viewed as a difficult one. Rain during the afternoon made the track heavy and grippy and not everyone’s cup of tea, but it was the Monarchs who showed much more heart for the fray.
All of the home men could take something from the evening but Ricky Wells was especially good with a series of dominant first corners. His recent form is quite excellent, and he only lost his maximum in heat 15 when Chris Harris got clear.
Erik Riss wasn’t gating so well but he showed great determination as he attacked the track;. Guest Ludvig Lindgren also was in bold mood and lost only to Harris.
Reserve Josh Pickering looked more comfortable than he has for a while and finished with 10+3, his highest score of the season. Both Max Clegg and Theo Pijper won races, and while Mitchell Davey struggled his persistence brought him a couple of early points.
Chris Harris had done well guesting for Sheffield last week and he again impressed, recording three victories, but he came off spectacularly in his second ride and lost out when he came out as a TR, led home by Wells and Pickering in heat 11.
Of the other Panthers, Starke and late arrival Holder won races but were not consistently convincing.
Monarchs now head for a very tough away fixture at Glasgow on Saturday evening.
Unfortunately Tom Bacon, who led heat 2 but fell on the last corner, pulled out of the meeting with a shoulder injury after one further race.
After the resounding victory over Peterborough on Friday night we make the short trip along the m8 to Ashfield to take on the Glasgow Tigers in SGB Championship action.
The Tigers have been nigh on invincible around their home patch so far this season with only Ipswich leaving with as much as a point. The Monarchs will also need to erase the memories of our visit earlier in the season when we were roundly beaten 57-34 with 14 of those points coming from Mark Riss at reserve saving us from a real humiliation.
The Tigers as always are built around a strong spearhead and in Aaron Summers, Richard Lawson and Richie Worrall they have one of the most fearsome heat leader sets in the league. The top 3 are backed by the always improving Nike Lunna and Dan Bewley and with Tom Perry and Jack Smith providing a solid effort form reserve it is easy to see why the Tigers are one of the forerunners for the league and cup this season.
One big note of approval that has to go to Glasgow and a sign of how well the team was built is that they are the only team in either of the top 2 divisions in the UK that have not made a team change so far this season (although the Monarchs would be a second if not for Mark’s injury).
For the Parsons Peebles Monarchs we once again utilise Ludvig Lindgren in place of Sam who it has been reported has come through his operation well and is on the road to recovery now and we will hope it is a quick recovery period as he is such an integral part of our line-up in the pits as well as on track.
The rest of the team is as programmed and they will be looking to build on that performance from last night. Ricky Wells appears to have found the mechanical gremlins that were plaguing him and is back to form, Theo had perhaps his best match since returning to the Blue and Gold and Max Clegg was back to the form we all hope for as well.
Main man for the Monarchs could well come at reserve in the form of Josh Pickering. Josh was another who had probably his best meeting for the Monarchs against the Panthers recording a paid 13 score with only a lift at the start of heat 12 costing him his chance at a maiden maximum on British soil.
Pickering found the going a little tough at Ashfield on our last visit but will be looking to make things right this time and a big score from reserve could well go a long way to helping the Monarchs on their way.
It could be said though that the fans heading to Ashfield tonight from a Monarchs persuasion are going more in hope than expectation but this team has surprised as before (most notably at Ipswich) and with Glasgow having not had a home meeting since the 16th of July if the Monarchs can catch the Tigers cold early in the meeting and get off to a decent start then who knows what could happen.