REPORT Friday 20th July 2007, 10:00pm
For a team with four home debutants, things couldn?t have gone much better than they did for the Scotwaste Monarchs against Mildenhall.
With Daniele Tessari still missing, the team is not really a solid one but the great thing about this match was the good feeling both in the pits and on the terraces.
Derek Sneddon has already made his mark as the new captain, getting the team really working together. The crowd was a healthy one and the reception for the side was warm, getting things off to a good start.
And to be honest, Mildenhall were a good team to race against because apart from Legault, they reached no great heights with Fry and King disappointing, and Suchanek not the threat he might have been from reserve.
George Stancl took his first win as a full-time Monarch in heat 1 with Derek Sneddon holding on to third.
Remarkably, we then took a maximum advantage from heat 2! No great surprise that Matthew won the heat, but what a great effort from Aaron Summers, fighting to keep a tight line and taking the paid win. His main challenge came from Mark Baseby who showed more fight than Suchanek.
Kai Laukkanen gated in heat 3 but the visiting pair tangled up on the first bend. King came down and was excluded. Kyle Legault then gated in the rerun, and although Laukkanen made an excellent effort to pass inside and out, he eventually had to settle for second.
Young Kalle Katajisto was riding his new bike for the first time, and the front wheel shot up at the tapes and threw him off the side. Undaunted, he climbed on again for four laps of practise while Matthew easily headed Suchanek and Fry.
Kai took his first win as a Monarch in heat 5, passing Madsen on the first lap, and thereafter all eyes were on Andrew as he tried to pull off an outside pass on the Fen Tiger pair. At times he seemed set to pass both but Tacey managed to block him each time.
Paul Fry was struggling and again Baseby was the man to take up the chase on Stancl and Sneddon in heat 6. Eventually Baseby fell, as he had in heat 2, but he was impressive for a newcomer.
We had two heats lined up as Katakisto/Summers, and although Matthew took the ride from the young Finn, it was still an obvious TR chance. Legault duly took the six points and we were now 5 ahead after a 2-7.
Tacey led the way in heat 8, but Derek pulled off one of his best passes with an outside move on the pits corner.
Kai and Andrew took a 5-1 from Fry and Baseby in heat 9, and that was just about it as far as the match points were concerned.
However we then had some controversy in heat 10 as Derek was unexpectedly excluded on 2 minutes. He had dismounted for a prod at the track and must have been too close to the limit, but it seemed an unnecessary decision when all riders were at the tapes and there was no real holdup.
Matthew Wethers came in, when perhaps the ride might have been better used by Aaron Summers. From the tapes, George Stancl lifted, and ran Kyle Legault into the fence at the first corner.
George should probably have been excluded but he got away with it, perhaps as payback for the Sneddon exclusion.
Legault took his third win in the rerun. Matthew would have been much better going into the next heat, in which we left the youngsters Aaron and Kalle and gifted a 1-5 to the Fen Tigers? opening pair.
However, Matthew was at his best in heat 12 when we at last halted Legault?s winning run. The Canadian took the lead but the amazing Wethers passed him on the outside, to be followed by Laukkanen coming through as well with an inside pass. Legault seemed unsettled by Wethers? overtake.
So we were back to an 11-point lead, and George Stancl won heat 13 with Kalle having his steadiest ride.
Matthew took his fourth win in heat 14 to bring his score to paid 17, and that just left the excellent Legault to take another win in heat 15, chased home by Laukkanen.
We don?t have a powerhouse team, but we do have an interesting one, and Ronnie Correy will be pleased to know that the team spirit is excellent. In many ways this match deserves to be remembered as a memorable one in our history.