Rory Schlein rode brilliantly to pick up his fourth Scottish Open Championship title at tonight’s meeting sponsored by Harrison’s of Peebles. He thus equalled Peter Carr’s Armadale record and it’s debatable if there has ever been a more deserving winner in the 60 previous stagings of the championship.
The winner said afterwards “I made a ‘mare of a start in the final! I looked at gate 4 and thought ‘I can’t miss it!’ But I did, it didn’t seem to bite as well. It made for an interesting final!
“All the lads were committed down the back straight and that’s what opened the door for me. Four times! I’ve equalled a guy I really looked up to. I grew up watching the videos of this meeting and I know how prestigious it is.”
Rory dominated the first corners in each of his five qualifying heats, and so made the final with the full 15 points. He was joined by Ricky Wells and the excellent Mark Riss both with 13, and coming through from the semi-final was Richie Worrall who defeated former home hero Sam Masters. Erik Riss didn’t leave the start in the semi.
But in the final, it did seem briefly that Rory would come unstuck. He thought gate 4 was best but he didn’t get away well at all, and was pretty much last as everyone sorted themselves out round the opening bends. Down the back straight, all four were in with a shout but it was Worrall who took over before the end of the first lap. However with magical move part one Schlein cut through into second place as the first lap was completed, and (magical move part two) a superb tight inside turn on the pits corner of lap two took him inside Worrall and to the front.
Mark Riss fell before the end of lap two but mercifully moved quickly to clear the track and allow Rory to complete the heat. He was extremely happy after the race, a totally deserved winner and of course that meant he had equalled Peter Carr’s four Scottish Opens at Armadale. Rory’s dad Lyndon had ordered the meeting DVD from Australia before we got to the post-meeting celebration.
Earlier on, it hadn’t been the best Scottish Open we have ever seen. The weather was a problem and the track had been made ready on the assumption that the forecast rainfall would arrive. It didn’t and the level of incident was not as high as we hoped for. There were some highlights – Sam Masters put Ricky Wells under strong pressure in heat 2, Erik Riss won his first two heats and looked very powerful at that stage, and some of the lesser lights had their moments. Full marks to Jordie Stewart for getting a race win, and to that great enthusiast Rafal Konopka for getting to the track for two heats.
The story with the likeable Pole was that he was only called up at 4:30 to replace Matt Williamson who had a traffic problem. Rafal knew he would be pretty late but he never turns a ride down, and after not quite getting out for heat 11 (in spite of the referee’s generous time allowance) he finally got on track for heat 14. He fell after three-quarters of a lap and was excluded. He managed the full four laps in heat 17 and picked up a point and we can only thank him for his enthusiastic efforts.
In the end the meeting will be remembered for Rory’s superb performance. He has already hinted that he has his fifth Scottish Open in his sights.
|1. Richie Worrall||2||2||3||2||2||11|
|2. Marius Hillebrand||0||0||0||1||R||1|
|3. Erik Riss||3||3||2||2||2||12|
|4. Tobias Thomsen||1||1||0||1||0||3|
|5. Sam Masters||2||3||3||1||2||11|
|6. Ricky Wells||3||2||2||3||3||13|
|7. Joel Andersson||1||0||2||1||1||5|
|8. Rafal Konopka||FD||1||1|
|9. Paul Starke||2||1||1||2||2||8|
|10. Mark Riss||3||1||3||3||3||13|
|11. Max Ruml||1||2||FD||2||1||6|
|12. Josh Pickering||0||3||1||0||1||5|
|13. Jordan Stewart||0||0||1||3||0||4|
|14. Rory Schlein||3||3||3||3||3||15|
|15. Kevin Doolan||1||1||2||FD||4|
|16. Ben Barker||2||2||1||0||3||8|
|R. Reserve 1||0|
|R. Reserve 2||0|
It’s a Friday night off from team action for the Staggs Bar Monarchs this week but that is not to say there is not a feast of speedway ahead as Armadale hosts the always popular Harrisons Scottish Open.
As always an exciting and eclectic field has been put together with it being almost impossible to pick a pre meeting winner (although I’m sure all reading this will have a favourite).
In saying that there are some names that stand out as obvious contenders including the returning Sam Masters, 3 time winner Rory Schlein, the always immaculate Richie Worrall and of course the home heat leaders of Ricky Wells and Erik Riss. With dark horses galore in the likes of our very own Josh Pickering and Mark Riss alongside the likes of Ben Barker, Kevin Doolan and Paul Starke this means every heat is sure to be competitive.
‘The Open’ has many a time seen the introduction of foreign stars to this shore with the likes of Nicolai Klindt, Patrick Hougaard and Freddie Lindgren being in the line-up long before they were household names. This year is no different as we welcome German Marius Hilebrand and Dane Tobias Thomsen into the fold.
Thomsen is probably the more advanced of the two and has seen Armadale before doing a second half towards the end of last season. Berwick fans may also remember the name as he appeared in their stars of tomorrow meeting in 2016 coming 4th in the final.
Hilebrand hails from the same region of Germany as our very own Riss brothers and at only 18 this will be his first step onto foreign shores to race and it will be interesting to see how he competes.
Slightly more experienced on these shores but making his Armadale debut is Redcar’s Jordan Stewart. Stewart has made a promising start to his UK career and will be looking to take a few scalps to build confidence in this field.
Filling out the line-up and looking to mix it up alongside continuing their Armadale educations will be the remaining 2018 Monarchs Joel Andersson, Max Ruml and Matt Williamson and all will be looking to build on flashes of promise they have shown so far in a less pressurised environment.
So another interesting line-up with any one of many capable of being atop the podium after 22 heats of action, who will come out on top? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to get yourself to Armadale to enjoy the action.
See You There!
Friday 11th May 2018, 9:08pm
Rory Schlein came out victorious after an exciting final tonight to take his 4th Scottish Open. Second was the Monarchs Ricky Wells with Richie Worrall rounding out the podium.
Wednesday 9th May 2018, 1:00pm
Harrisons Ford Retail Centre of Peebles once again come to Armadale on Friday as backers of the 2018 Scottish Open Championship, with a 16-rider field contesting the title.
Tuesday 8th May 2018, 6:00pm
The line up for this Friday's 2018 Harrisons Scottish Open Championship is nearing completion with just one spot left to fill.