Edinburgh Monarchs v Sheffield Tigers

REPORT Friday 8th May 2009, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

We wanted a big lead to take down to Sheffield at the end of the month, and we successfully grabbed a 28-point advantage on a track spoilt by terrible weather.

The second Friday in May, and it was a cold day, and the centre green was awash with gigantic puddles. Our track staff has no equal in saving meetings from the weather, but no-one could have left the circuit in good racing condition. There was a fair bit of passing but much of it was through Sheffield riders toiling.

Had Thomas' machinery worked we would have won by a few more, but he spent the whole night pulling out of heats with what was apparently a cut-out problem.

Once again Josh Auty went well and showed how easily a quality rider can master Armadale. Only in his last couple of rides did his gating handicap him.

We were off to a strong start with Fisher winning heat 1 easily, and Aaron Summers working his way through from the back to take second place.

Auty shot from the gate to take an easy heat 2 win and this time it was Sean Stoddart who had to work for a point, passing Chris Mills who was overshooting the corners.

Thomas was away well in heat 3, with Andrew shooting off the second bend to go ahead. After a lap though, the dreaded spluttering started and Thomas was out of the heat.

We doubled our lead to 8 with an easy 5-1 in heat 4.

Thomas switched to a Wethers bike for the first running of heat 5 in which Parsons led for a couple of laps. He then spun round, with Andrew Tully laying down quickly to avoid hitting him. Unfortunately Ashworth laid down in third but his bike ran on and clattered Tully pretty hard.

Parsons was excluded, Ashworth failed to beat the 2 minutes and Jonasson switched back to his own bike, being passed by Auty but dribbling home for the point.

Heat 6 certainly looked like a home 5-1, and it was. Fisher and Summers over Hawkins with Mills falling. Ryan passed Aaron during the heat and didn't have a smooth ride, recording a time of over a minute!

Rajkowski led heat 7 but he was going too slow, and Wethers was struggling to hold back Paul Cooper. Eventually Wethers moved ahead and Cooper grabbed second. Hall fell on the last turn trying to pass Rajkowski.

Heat 8 was a good race with no passing. Summers held off a strong challenge from Auty, and some way back Parsons did the same with Stoddart.

Auty did win heat 9 though, keeping a few metres ahead of Andrew Tully aftera good start. Jonasson again pulled out which made it a heat advantage to Sheffield.

Fisher took his third win in heat 10 but Hall had a much better heat, keeping in front of Summers who dropped his first point.

Parsons was showing signs of improved form and he led all the way in heat 11. Rajkowski was in second and threatened to pass; had he let Matthew Wethers through he almost certainly would have. However that didn't happen and the Tigers' no. 2 took the race win. It was the third and last one for the visitors.

With Auty and Hall in heat 12 and Jonasson struggling, we brought in Rajkowski and he responded by leading all the way. Thomas Jonasson held third but ended a miserable night by being passed by Auty and pulling out.

Sheffield tried to bring Mills in for Ashworth in heat 13 but this was disallowed as Sheffield's no. 1 had only had two heats. So the Tigers went with just one rider and it was a very easy 5-1 for Fisher and Wethers.

Even Auty could do nothing about Rajkowski and Tully in heay 14, in fact the Tigers' star reserve only grabbed third off the last corner.

Tully and Fisher raced away with heat 15 to build our lead up to 28 which should surely be sufficient.