Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Sam Masters||3||3||3||2*||2||13||1|
|2. William Lawson||1||1||2||0||4||0|
|3. Josh Pickering||1||FD||2*||3||6||1|
|4. Ricky Wells||3||2||3||2*||10||1|
|5. Cameron Heeps||3||3||3||3||1*||13||1|
|6. Matt Marson||1*||0||0||1||1|
|7. Connor Coles||2||0||XO||0||3||5||0|
Team Manager: Gary Flint
|1. Aaron Summers||2||3||2||2||0||3||12||0|
|2. Jye Etheridge||0||1||3||1*||5||1|
|3. Kevin Doolan||2||2||1*||2||0||7||1|
|4. Dani Gappmaier||0||1*||1||2||1|
|5. Nikolai Busk Jacobsen||2||2||1||1||6||0|
|6. Coty Garcia||3||1*||1||R||1*||6||2|
|7. Leon Flint||0||0||0||0||0|
The revised Staggs Bar Monarchs' team started with an ultimately solid win over Berwick tonight by 52-38, inspired by the return of Sam Masters but with excellent contributions throughout the side.
Cameron Heeps in fact matched Masters' contribution of 13+1 and said afterwards "It was a good all-round team performance and nice to get a good win. It was a bit of a shame for Sam and I to lose our maximums in heat 15 but dropping one point to the opposition isn't bad. I felt like the pressure was off me a bit tonight with Sam coming in, he's really good rider."
There's no argument that the Armadale mood was probably the best it's been all season and Sam Masters wasted no time returning to winning ways in the blue and gold. Fiercely determined to the first corner in most heats, he also pulled off a brilliant move to go round tactical sub Aaron Summers in the opening lap of heat 10.
There was only a 2-point gap at heat 8, and still only 6 points with three heats remaining, but two 5-1s at that point ensured that Monarchs took all the points. Masters and Heeps powered clear for a heat 13 5-1 and then Connor Coles joined Ricky Wells for a maximum advantage in the penultimate heat, captain Wells allowing the youngster to take his first Monarchs' race win.
Amongst other highlights Heeps started with an excellent win from the back in heat 4, bursting inside Coty Garcia who started the meeting as though he was going to be a real force.
William Lawson was another one doing some overtaking, chasing and passing Garcia in heat 8 after Connor Coles had been controversially excluded in the first running. From an admittedly distant viewpoint it seemed that Coles passed Jye Etheridge going into the third turn, and stayed on the inside line, but was blamed when Etheridge came down.
Ricky Wells was smooth and quick all night, while Josh Pickering after a couple of dodgy heats to start with (including a heat 5 fall) came good in his last two outings. As always Josh joined in the overtaking by weaving his way past both Bandits in heat 9. Aussie Matt Marson just managed a single point but took the opportunity to come out along with Lawson for some post-match practise after his home debut for the team.
Aaron Summers was top Bandit, Garcia and Etheridge their other race winners, but the visitors gradually slipped out of contention.
Monarchs have been aware of a lack of heat winners but with 11 tonight to Bandits' 4, no complaints in that department after the return of Sam to Armadale.
Well it may have cooled down slightly off track in the last24 hours but the action on track is sure to be hotly contested as the Staggs Bar Monarchs host the Berwick Bandits in SGB Championship action on Friday night.
In previous years the Bandits would have been expected to be swept aside with some comfort but this is a different Bandits side and you only have to look at recent results between the two to see another tough task lies ahead.
The Bandits last two visits have seen a 1 point defeat and a 6 point victory and with tonight's line-up featuring 5 of the 7 that were involved on each of those occasions the Staggs Bar Monarchs will need to be at their very best.
The Bandits as has been the case for the last few years are full of experience at the top end with Aaron Summers and Kevin Doolan leading the way at number 1 and 3. The duo are perhaps not among the strongest of heat leader duos in the division when compared to the likes of Cook, Lawson, Nicholls, etc but with their Armadale pedigree they are more than capable of a double digit return on any visit. Backing up the Aussie duo will be Nikolaj Busk-Jakobsen the Dane enjoying a tremendous year as he inches close to the top of the Bandits averages.
Elsewhere there is further Armadale experience in the line-up with 2 former Monarchs Jye Etheridge and Coty Garcia sure to be among the action. Incident seems to follow the former around but on his day he is more than a capable performer and if he pops out the starts then he is tough to beat. The same can be said for Garcia, a key man as the senior reserve, Garcia has had mixed results at Armadale this year with a close to match winning 13 point performance in the Championship Shield match being followed up by a 1 point performance as a guest for Newcastle in the recent KO cup encounter.
Dany Gappmaier is the complete enigma in the Bandits line-up with home performances that make him look like one of the top men in the league being matched with away performances that leave a lot to be desired, this backed up by the stats which show a 9.38 home average and 3.79 away.
Completing the line-up is local youngster Leon Flint, Flint is making great strides in his debut year at this level having added close to a point onto his starting average, as expected the majority of these points have been gained around Shielfield rather than on the road but having visited Armadale once already improvement can be expected.
So a tough looking Bandits line up for the new look Monarchs to contend with. Last week's torrential downpours meant a delay for the Armadale faithful to see Sam return to the fold with tonight being the night for that.
Willie Lawson will partner Sam in heat 1 meaning a strong 3 and 4 partnership of Josh and Ricky that will look to outscore their Bandits counterparts healthily. Cameron continues at 5 after another strong Ipswich performance on Thursday night, while at reserve Connor will be hoping that his efforts will translate into points while young Matt Marson will look to continue his education at this level.
So a red hot night expected on track while the temperature stays strong off it, both teams are in search of points with the Monarchs knowing that any more home slip ups will probably spell the end of any playoff hopes while the Bandits know that their strong home form will count for nothing if that can't be matched with some away points also.
Can the Staggs Bar Monarchs fend off the battling Bandits; there is only place to be to find out as always that is trackside.
See you there!
Wednesday 24th July 2019, 7:00pm
Speedway's Championship is still in its early stages but if they are to put in a challenge later in the season, both the Staggs Bar Monarchs and the Berwick Bandits need to make a move soon. That will ensure a hard-fought encounter when the teams meet at Armadale this Friday.