Workington Comets v Edinburgh Monarchs

REPORT Saturday 25th April 2009, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

The track was damp and most of the heats were decided from the gate, so the main interest lay in the score as we took a match point from Workington.

We were still in with an outside change of a draw or a win going into the last heat, but against Doolan and Topinka it was a fairly tall order to gain a race advantage.

We had four of the first five race winners, and earned the match point mainly through the fightback in heats 11 and 12 which cut the deficit to two points at that stage.

Ryan took the win in heat 1 ahead of Doolan with a smooth ride, but Aaron trailed on a track on which he has a shocking record.

Michal Rajkowski was an easy winner of heat 2 but again we also had the pointless rider with Sean at the back.

The home pair gated in heat 3, the first of four poor starts by Richard Hall, but our guest did manage to pass John Branney with his wide entry and cutback on the top bend. Aaron was rider replacement in this but stopped at the start.

Matthew Wethers looked excellent winning heat 4, another shared heat.

Ryan made another excellent start in heat 5 and was never under much threat from Topinka, but Aaron on Matthew?s bike again trailed.

Doolan beat Wethers in heat 6 and this time Rajkowski?s gating let him down and he was at the back.

We should have shared heat 7 behind Compton but Hall fell on the final turn with no-one else near while holding second place. Rajkowski took second between the Comets.

We left Sean in heat 8 and he almost made it count, staying ahead of Branney for a couple of laps, though it was no great surprise when Branney sailed past. At least Aaron got going at last with a fine first corner sweep to the front.

Having had all of the first 8 last places, we then relegated Comets to the back in each of the next six!

Topinka and Doolan won the next two, then Ryan made it three wins out of three by heading Compton in heat 11 with Aaron picking up the point. Aaron had got going now but it was too late to make a great impact.

Great effort by Rajkowski to sweep ahead in heat 12 and hold off Topinka, though this also served to highlight how poor overtaking chances were. With Hall third we were now just two down.

Heat 13 could have been a problem especially when Doolan and Compton gated. However Doolan swept wide and took Compton right off his line and into the muck, allowing the two Monarchs through for a shared heat.

Heat 14 was now important. Both teams were using their strongest rider replacements and it was Compton who forced his way ahead from Wethers. Lawson held third but Rajkowski swepot round him late in the race. It looked a good pass but after the heat it was noticed that Lawson?s steel show was adrift.

So we needed a 5-1 to win, a 4-2 to draw and a finisher to take a point. Doolan was away with Fisher second and Topinka third so it was clear early on that a point was our limit. Ryan was having to go wide to ride the dirt and Topinka tried a tight line to catch up ? then reared wildly out of the turn and across Ryan?s path just where Ryan would have expected to move into second again.

It happens, but the referees should be prepared to stop heats in these situations. Ryan had to pull right back and he lost a second place.

However we had a point. We were inclined to think that had two full teams been in action we might have done even better.