|1. Ryan Fisher||2||2||2||3||2||X||11||0|
|2. Aaron Summers||1*||3||1*||3||0||8||2|
|3. Thomas H Jonasson r/r||0||0|
|4. Andrew Tully||2*||1*||1*||2||3||3||12||3|
|5. Matthew Wethers||2||3||0||5||0|
|6. Michal Rajkowski||2*||X||2||3||1*||1||9||2|
|7. Sean Stoddart||3||1*||2*||0||6||2|
|1. David Howe||3||3||2||1||2||11||0|
|2. Simon Lambert||0||0||1||1*||2||1|
|3. Carl Wilkinson||F||2||2||3||7||0|
|4. Viktor Bergstrom||1||X||1*||2||4||1|
|5. Magnus Karlsson||3||3||6||3||X||15||0|
|6. Jerran Hart||F||0||0||0||0||0|
|7. Byron Bekker||1||0||0||F||1||0|
If we thought that Scunthorpe would be fairly easy opposition, then that proved to be a mistake as the Scorpions kept alive their chances of a match point till the final heat.
This had much to do with the performances of Magnus Karlsson and David Howe, but also Wilijnson, Bergstrom and Lambert chipped in with points as they realised they might pick something up.
Our old friend Magnus was the best visitor of the season, his majestic riding almost leading to a full maximum.
Monarchs were below their best on a track with nothing much happening on the inside line. Fisher, Rajkowski and Wethers all crashed, and Matthew picked up a hand injury which forced him out of heat 13.
David Howe was quickly off the start to take heat 1, not allowing Fisher close enough to make a challenge.
Heat 2 was eventful. Michal Rajkowski was away well but slowed before reaching the first corner, losing many yards on the opposition. Sean Stoddart led as Rajkowski set out after the opposition. On the first bend of lap two, Hart fell, causing Bekker to swerve outwards and allowing Rajkowski to cut up the inside and into second place!
Bekker wasn't pleased and maybe the race should have been halted and rerun, probably with the same result.
Summers and Tully dealt with the opposition in typical style on the first corner, and though Wilkinson tried to mount a challenge, he fell on the pits bend.
Magnus Karlsson shot from gate 4 to easily win heat 4, and with Howe and Karlsson taking further wins in the next two heats, both beating Fisher, it certainly looked as though these two would dominate the match. This meant in turn that Monarchs had to cash in on the heats they were not in.
They didn't manage to do that in heat 7. This required two reruns, first Bergstrom falling and then Rajkowski, with Monarchs on a 5-1 each time. Finally Wethers beat Wilkinson to increase the lead to 9 points.
Summers and Stoddart took a comfortable 5-1 from heat 8, just in time to allow Magnus Karlsson a TR.
This was another eventful heat. First, Wethers lifted and shot through the tapes. It looked like a machine problem but he admitted later it was his own fault. He was replaced by Rajkowski who promptly headed Karlsson, with Tully also in the picture trying to come through on the inside.
After a couple of laps of fascinating dicing, Karlsson got round the outside of Rajkowski and quickly pulled clear for the six points.
Fisher won heat 10 but Summers trailed disappointingly, unable to find a passing line on the inside.
Heat 11 was also shared as Rajkowski finally lowered Howe's colours, but Wethers struggled at the back affected by his injured hand.
Heat 12 looked promising but the Scorpions were starting to sniff a possible point at least. Off the second bend Wilkinson did very well to come between Rajkowski and Tully to take and hold the lead.
Stoddart replaced Wethers in heat 13 which was the fourth win for Karlsson, though Fisher managed to get ahead of Howe to limit the damage. Monarchs now 8 up.
They could have made the points safe with a maximum in heat 14 but Bergstrom got between Tully and Rajkowski, and a 5-1 in the final heat would still have given Scunny a point.
Going into the first corner Karlsson and Fisher clashed, with Fisher falling. The American wasn't happy, and different views of the incident give different opinions. A stoppage would have been possible but the race was allowed to continue, with Tully challenging Karlsson fiercely.
It was a thrilling tussle, and going into the pits corner for the second time, Tully edged ahead. Karlsson moved out to try to find extra drive, lifted and fell.
Magnus was excluded, Tully easily beat the faded Howe in the rerun and Monarchs had the three points.
HERMISTON MONARCH OF THE MATCH: Andrew Tully.
This weekend we are again scheduled for back to back matches, this time against Scunthorpe, as we begin our defence of the Premier League. We won home and away against the Scorpions last year; can we do it again this year?
Last year's home match provided us with a huge 68-22 win while on the road we won at the Eddie Wright Raceway by 39-53.It has to be said though that, in both of these matches, the Scorpions had to field understrength sides by including two Conference League guests for both fixtures, one at number 4 and the other at reserve. It won't be so easy this time as a full strength outfit has been listed for both matches.
The Scorpions have undergone major surgery in their quest to become one of the top sides in the league. In fact these up and coming two matches are likely to be dress rehearsals for the semi-final ties in the Premier Trophy - .Scunthorpe can guarantee finishing second to King's Lynn in their Premier Trophy group if they can win their home match against Newport by more than six points.
The survivors from last year's side are Magnus Karlsson, Viktor Bergstrom, Carl Wilkinson and Byron Bekker. They have added David Howe, Simon Lambert and Jerran Hart to complete this year's line-up. Magnus Karlsson, no stranger to Edinburgh, has been in fine form this season and looks likely to beat his 9 (5) score from last year's league match. Carl Wilkinson, one of Speedway's great triers, will hope to beat his 5 (4) and likewise Byron Bekker his 1 ( 4) but this challenge might not be easy to meet. Viktor Bergstrom was missing from last year's match and has yet to experience the joys of Armadale so has no known form at the Dale.
The big signing for the Scorpions this year was David Howe who decided to drop into the Premier League this season from Elite League Wolverhampton. David knows our track well having won the Scottish Open Championship five years ago but he has not proved as potent a signing as might have been hoped with a number of disappointing scores particularly away from home. He should relish a return to a track he rides so well though and on his day can be well nigh unbeatable.
Simon Lambert has settled in well to his new surroundings after his move from King's Lynn but neither he nor Jerran Hart have been able to match their home form in away matches. We have to make sure that stays the case on Friday night.
Monarchs will be missing Thomas H Jonasson for the home match. He will be on his way to the Nordic final of the World Under-21 Championship in Norway so Rider Replacement will operate for him. Aaron Summers returns to the side however after his unsuccessful attempt also in the Under-21 Championships in the round at Mesno in the Czech Republic. The rest of the team will be on the usual lines for the last time at home for some time at least. Friday night's match sees most of the side complete their twelfth qualifying match for new averages which will see Michal Rajkowski move up to the main body of the team and Aaron return to reserve.
These averages will not kick in until the following Friday when we face Glasgow in the rearranged Premier Trophy match rained off last week. This means that we will be able to track our 'usual' side in the away fixture at Scunthorpe on Monday with Thomas H Jonasson returning from his Scandinavian adventure.
It will be very disappointing if we don't pick up all three points from Friday night's match but Monday will be a different kettle of fish. Scunthorpe have proved to be a very good home side apart from a big home defeat at the hands of King's Lynn and many will have seen just how good they are when watching the Premier League match recently televised by Sky when they beat Sheffield in a terrific match which showed just how good Premier League racing can be.
The Scorpions don't really have a weak link round their own patch although one or two of the team can be somewhat inconsistent. None more so than reserve, Jerran Hart, who has quickly learned how to make his knowledge of the Scunthorpe track pay dividends but who can just as easily run a couple of last places.
We don't go there without hope however. It's doubtful whether any other Premier League rider is more at home at Scunthorpe than Andrew Tully who rode for the team in their last year in the Conference League. Andrew was brilliant there last year. He scored an unbeaten 14+1 from his first five rides and might well have added another win to that total had he not suffered an engine failure in his last ride. Thomas scored 7+1 from four rides while Ryan dropped only one point in scoring 13+1 (5). Matthew got into the act too with two race wins in his 7+1 (4) score. This will be Michal Rajkowski's last match at reserve before the new averages come into force. It's obvious that we owe a lot to Michal for our fine start to the season. He has been a revelation since he joined us. What better way to celebrate his elevation to the main body of the team than another double figure score. With his tremendous gating ability and smooth riding there's no reason why he can't. If the whole team can produce their best form we could lay down the gauntlet to the rest of the league by coming away with at least three points. However we would be foolish to think that the Scunthorpe side will not give us one of our hardest examinations on the road to date. In reality to return home with even a point would be a good result.
May the better team win.
Line-ups: Edinburgh (home) Ryan Fisher, Aaron Summers, R/R for Thomas H Jonasson, Andrew Tully, Matthew Wethers, Michal Rajkowski and Sean Stoddart. (away) with Thomas at number 3.
Scunthorpe: (home and away) David Howe, Simon Lambert, Carl Wilkinson, Viktor Bergstrom, Magnus Karlsson and Jerran Hart.
Friday 22nd May 2009, 0:41am
It was by no means easy, but Monarchs finished 11 points clear of Scunthorpe to take all three points from their first Premier League match of the season.
Tuesday 19th May 2009, 8:30pm
To most supporters the Premier League is the real business of the Speedway season, and reigning champions the Scotwaste Monarchs open their defence by hosting the Scunthorpe Scorpions at Armadale this Friday.