NEWS Sunday 17th December 2006, 11:00am
Monarchs' promoter John Campbell gives us his thinking behind the six men he and his fellow directors have selected so far.
So now we have six riders in place for 2007. We're giving the number seven spot some careful consideration. Maybe youth should be given a run there or maybe experience will be the way to go. We'll see.
Why, then, have we gone for the six signed so far? Winning competitions is all about riders increasing their starting averages. King's Lynn, unquestionably the top Premier League team in 2006, by far, increased their top five starting averages from 33 to 39.26. Maybe we have hindered our chances in the last two years by employing riders on high assessed averages with little chance of them being achieved over a full season. This season we've definitely gone the other way and, I feel, taken on riders that will up their starting averages over the season, even if only by a little.
Let's look at our signed six and in the order they put pen to paper on a contract.
First of all Daniele Tessari. We signed Daniele on an assessed five point average towards the end of the 2006 season. For many weeks that assessed average looked far in excess of his capabilities, despite his excellent performance in his debut match at Isle of Wight. However, by the time he rode his last match of the season it was clear for everyone to see that he has potential in abundance and we would have been very foolish not to have him back. I think we would be disappointed if he did not add at least two points to his average.
Next came Ronnie Correy. The Rocket and, as far as I can see, he'll start the 2007 campaign with the seventh highest average in the league. We needed an experienced head in our team, someone who all our young riders could turn to for advice. Someone that could add a bit of humour to the pits. He has little or no experience of Premier League tracks but he does have loads of experience at the very highest level and that will allow him to adapt very quickly to all tracks. He's a man on a mission in 2007 and could easily push his average above 9.00
Number three was William Lawson. He took on far too much in 2006. thirty four league matches for us, twenty league matches for Wolverhampton, college and a day job as a plumber. He didn't have the organisation in place to cope with such demands and it took him a long time to get back in the swing of things after he broke his arm. Despite all that he lifted his start of season average of 4.73 to 6.86. He be better equipped in 2007, he'll be better organised in 2007 and he'll be a year older. Maybe we can't expect a two point plus increase in his average in 2007 but then again, maybe we can.
Next up, Matthew Wethers. Finished the 2006 season on the injured list and had, before that, entered into a gruelling schedule by doubling up with Poole. The quiet man and sometimes you don't notice how good he is on the track. Some of his overtakes at Armadale are breathtaking. He's keen to get involved in a doubling up arrangement again, although there is nothing certain at the moment. In readiness, though, he will upgrade his equipment to Elite League standard and we'll gain the benefit of that. Another who substantially increased his average in 2006, from a starting point of 4.53 to 6.38. Surely he can't add that kind of increase again, but why not.
Number five was Henrik Moller. He spent 2006 doing well on the continent and flattering to deceive in the UK. Why was that. Well he was a busy man in 2007. Denmark, Sweden, Poland, World Under 21 Championship. He got tired and certainly by the end of the season his equipment got tired. He's another doing a substantial upgrade on machinery. The Danish League has collapsed, because he is now over 21 Poland no longer want him and he has no commitment, at the moment, to Sweden. Starting on 5.64 who would bet against him to add two points to his average.
The last man on the roster at the moment is Derek Sneddon. He was miles in front in being the top scoring reserve in the Premier League in 2006. He also had five, six or seven races in most matches, that, in itself, being a problem. All the additional races produced additional maintenance costs and when engines started blowing up he ran out of engines that were up to the job by the end of the season. He already knows that he needs to be better prepared for, perhaps, the same kind of schedule in 2007. Even if he does no more than 2006 he will add half a point to his average as he starts 2007 with a ten per cent reduction to his final 2006 average. If he doesn't make a hash of so many of his heat twos then a more substantial increase could be on the cards.
So why have we picked on these guys in 2007. It's obvious now that you've read through my individual analysis of what went on in 2006 and what I know will happen in the run up to 2007. Given luck, why shouldn't we see a ten point improvement in these guys? Wishful thinking no doubt but what if they managed five?