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Edinburgh Monarchs v Belle Vue Aces

REPORT Friday 30th October 2009, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

Our team were exhausted physically, mentally and mechanically, and ran into a Belle Vue team apparently fresh, determined and at full strength.

The result was annihilation. Rarely can a team have suffered such a disintegration as we did on our final night of a long hard season.

It?s a catalogue of disaster. We started without Kevin Wolbert and with Rusty Harrison standing in for Michal Rajkowski. Ryan blew his motor when second in heat 1, Kalle Katajisto hit the fence in heat 2 and withdrew from the meeting.

Andrew Tully pulled up in each of his first two heats ? and withdrew from the meeting.

Another blown engine lay ahead for the desperately unlucky Fisher in the final race, and that was about it for our problems. We had next to nothing left to challenge the Aces.

On the other hand, Belle Vue were superb. Have they ridden this well throughout the season? It seems unlikely. General feeling was that we would run them close at Armadale, and they seemed to be keyed up to ensure that this did not happen. It certainly did not.

On a very wet track, Krzysztof Kasprzak made an extraordinary start. Fisher actually made the gate, but lifted going down the back straight as the Pole raced past. Monarchs were sharing the heat until Fisher?s engine went, and Kasprzak raced on to finish in an incredible 54.8.

Heat 2 was even worse as the ghastly pattern developed. Aaron fell on the first turn, and Kalle hit the fence at the end of the first lap. Both out, and we then watched the Aces? pair ride round for a 5-0.

Matthew Wethers put up a fight in heat 3 chasing Lemon, while Hougaard soared away in front. But it was another 1-5 with Andrew Tully pulling out.

Was it going to get better? Not in heat 4, in which it was Rusty Harrison chasing but falling on the final turn. 4-19.

We had beaten James Wright in heat 1, but not in heat 5 as Aces scored 5-1 again. Hougaard took the r/r and there was no let-up from them.

We didn?t even use any TRs though heat 6 was surely an obvious place. Admittedly, it wasn?t going to make much difference. Fisher and Harrison kept Derek Sneddon at the back in this one.

We made it to double figures in heat 7, the best race of the night. Off turn 2 Matthew shot up inside Hougaard and Lemon to go ahead. The young Dane fought back and passed Matthew in great style later in the heat.

Aaron Summers touched the tapes in heat 8 (Wright moved but didn?t touch them). We pulled Aaron out rather than put him off 15 metres, apparently to allow him an extra ride, though this should not have been something the rules permitted. We lost the rerun 5-1.

Matthew was battling again in heat 9, lying second, but he fell on the pits turn. Andrew Tully started the heat but pulled out of the meeting before the rerun in which Summers replaced him. Another 5-1 loss.

Ryan managed a second in heat 10, and that was as much as we could hope for by any of our riders at this stage. Rusty made a great effort to get round Mark Lemon but just failed.

Aaron was on his own in heat 11 (1-5) and again in heat 12 in which he found a little bit of speed to pass Derek Sneddon when Derek made a mistake.

The next target for us was 20 and we virtually ensured it when Ryan took his third second place in heat 13. Again only one rider, still no TR.

The last two heats were Belle Vue 5-1s again, as the horror show came to an end. Ryan rode through the tapes in heat 15 trying to get a race win at last, and going off 15 metres he tried hard and was rewarded with another blown engine.

Nobody should have to suffer a night like the one we had in this meeting.