Workington Comets v Edinburgh Monarchs

REPORT Saturday 20th June 2009, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

  Edinburgh Monarchs

Ryan Fisher?s brilliant performance ensured that Workington never reached a position where they felt they had a chance to overcome our first leg lead.

He won his first five heats and any time things seemed to be slipping away from us, there he was to put things right.

Our only other consistent rider was Andrew Tully who followed 5 second places (one a paid win) with a victory in heat 15. That was our first race winner who wasn?t Fisher.

However there were occasional contributions from Matthew Wethers, Aaron Summers and the Raj and it easily added up to enough to take us through.

Exactly as at Sheffield in the previous round we started with a 5-1, with a little bit of luck. Fisher was away from the start but Doolan held second until losing a chain after a couple of laps. That gavce the Raj a paid win ahead of their guest Sedgmen.

Craig Cook again showed what a great prospect he is by winning heat 2, although Aaron came from the back to pass Sedgmen and press Cook. Sean was nowhere.

The scores were levelled when Adrian Rymel won heat 3, but Andrew Tully made the first of several passes by taking Lawson for second spot, on the inside entering lap two.

The important thing was to keep picking up points, and it looked like another second place when Matthew was tailing Andre Compton in heat 4. However he hit a problem spot on the fourth corner (which gave several riders trouble) and this allowed Sedgmen to pass.

That was a bit of a shock, and there followed some track work, including watering. This didn?t do the home team much good as Rymel lifted on the first corner of heat 5 and Fisher and Tully raced away for a 5-1. 15-15 and things were looking better.

We lost 4-2s over the next two races. Aaron ran into the tapes in heat 6 and at the same moment, Matthew seized an engine. Sean Stoddart replaced Aaron, Matthew jumped on Rajkowski?s bike and managed a steady second.

Andrew took another second in heat 7 and we were edging towards an aggregate winning position.

We were fortunate in heat 8 to take an advantage. Fisher gated but was actually passed leaving the second bend by Sedgmen. He gave chase but whether he would have passed, we didn?t find out as their guest pulled up.

Just two points down, but after a 5-1 by Rymel and Lawson over Wethers, and a 4-2 from Doolan and Sedgmen (now on Doolan?s spare bike) split by Tully, we were 8 down and still not able to relax.

Could Ryan keep his winning run going? Yes he could and Matthew went with him in heat 11 as they led Compton. Matthew lost second eventually but a 4-2 was another step forward. With finishers we were now guaranteed an aggregate draw.

Neither Rajkowski nor Summers had done a great deal but they managed to team up behind Rymel in heat 12 which ensured that we made the semis.

Relieved of that pressure, we rode a great first corner in heat 13 which put Fisher and Wethers clear. Compton chased, Doolan was tailed off and suddenly we were just 2 points down.

Cook came to Comets? rescue by winning heat 14 though Tully came through fast past Lawson and gave him a run for it.

So we needed a 5-1 for a draw in the last race, and Ryan needed a win for an 18-point maximum which would have been an incredible achievement.

At the first attempt, Compton jumped the start. Next time, he clamped Fisher to the line and concentrated on him, thereby giving Andrew Tully a chance to race away for a memorable race win.

A shared race and in the end we were through easily.