REPORT Wednesday 28th July 2010, 10:00pm
Surely no-one in the Monarchs? camp could have predicted the final score of our first leg KO Cup tie at King?s Lynn.
King?s Lynn virtually never lose at home, and our only success in the modern era was a worthy draw in 2008. On this occasion though, we ripped up the predictions and gave the Stars such a hammering that promoter Buster Chapman promised changes to his side.
There was drizzle before the match, and the surface was damp, but it would be pushing it to say that it was a wet track. There was bad news on Darren Mallett who is apparently ill and was replaced by junior Star Adam Lowe.
At the first attempt to run heat 1, Ryan Fisher was maybe slightly lucky that there was an ?all 4 back? decision after he had clipped the home guest Schramm round the first turn.
Next time he was doubly unlucky, first because Schramm was allowed to get away with a flier, and secondly because Schramm suddenly spun round right in front of him on the first bend of lap two. With virtually no time to sum up the situation, Ryan got the bike on the floor with Tobias following suit, though there were still some thuds as machinery, men and fence came together.
The great news was no serious damage to the riders. The machines were not so lucky. Full praise was given to our boys for their actions, first by presenter Mike Bennett and then by Schramm himself. ?Fair play to the boys behind for getting their bikes down,? said a rider who can dish out the tough stuff but never complains when anyone else does it to him.
After a lengthy delay the riders were out again, Busch borrowing a bike from Kevin and Ryan on his second machine. We took a 4-2 with Kozza Smith between our men.
There was more drama before heat 2 with Chris Mills having machine problems. Joe Haines brought a bike out, but instead of jumping on it, Haines had a discussion and was promptly put back 15 metres.
He made up absolutely no ground as our guest Carl Wilkinson and Cal McDade (admirably steady on his NL circuit) took a 5-1.
So far so good, and even better in heat 3 when Matthew made an excellent start and led all the way from Tomas Topinka. Kevin took third without looking comfortable.
It was turning into a fairy tale from our point of view, and Wilkinson and Andrew Tully made it even better with a 5-1 over the floundering Haines and Mills in heat 4. It was 21-9 and surely even at this stage the aggregate victory in the tie was looking very much on?
Tobias was on a Wethers machine for heat 5 but couldn?t pick up a point as Ryan took his second win ahead of Topinka, fairly easily.
There had been no further news on the battered Schramm since heat 1, but there he was ready to race in heat 6. However it was Smith who made the start this time, with Tully piling on the pressure and Schramm in third. Schramm?s problems continued though as he spun off again, on his own this time, and again Cal McDade?s steadiness gained a deserved point even though Schramm remounted.
Matthew wethers again gated in heat 7 for a win, and though Wolbert looked sluggish he eventually got the better of Lowe.
Heat 8 was shared ? Busch was replaced by McDade and Wilkinson took a win over Smith and Mills, keeping up his unbeaten run from reserve. It was now 31-17.
Finally home captain Topinka made the gate in heat 9 to lead Wilkinson and Tully and take the home race winners tally to two.
There were some further drops of rain and we were keen to see the meeting pressing ahead. Referee Phil Griffin duly obliged by keeping the two minutes ratting on.
Kevin Wolbert now changed machines and looked much more impressive as he pressed race leader Schramm in heat 10. Would you believe it, Schramm came off again and we took a 4-2. It was all going our way.
Heat 11 was an excellent race. Mills had been expected to be a tough opponent and he finally made a start in this one, with Fisher closing in for a challenge. He finally squeezed past on the last lap with an amazing move, squeezing between Mills and the fence leaving the second bend.
An equally excellent second bend move, this time on lap one, saw Wolbert take the lead and soar away with heat 12 from Topinka.
We were 18 up, and then banged in a couple more 5-1s! Tully and Fisher team rode perfectly in front of heat 13, and in heat 14 it was a double overtake as Wilkinson (lap two) and Wethers (lap four) passed Wortmann in style.
It was now 55-29, and the Stars did get a consolation in heat 15. It seemed Fisher made the gate but he went too far out and let the home men through. Challenging back, he ground to a halt at the end of lap one.
That was a minor blip in an almost perfect show, and even for the pessimists amongst us it must surely mean we go through to the semi after the second leg a week on Friday.