Ricky leads the way in style Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Solid win in the end

REPORT Saturday 28th April 2018, 1:16am

by Mike Hunter

The Staggs Bar Monarchs came through a match which was tight for much of the evening to win 51-39 in the end against Berwick Bandits. With the scores level at heat 5 and just a two-point lead after heat 11, it was by no means easy.

Alex Harkess said “It was a much better match than last week on a good track, and most of our side performed well enough. There are still a few things to work on. I was delighted to see Ricky Wells gating so well.”

They were under the watchful eye of Sam Masters, Monarchs’ former captain and double league winner. He will have been impressed. The mainstay of the home side was Ricky Wells who made five perfect starts, had to fight off some strong early challenges, but finished with a full maximum. He has struggled to find his best Armadale form so far but this was an immaculate display.

Monarchs also had very sound performances from Mark Riss (10+1) and Josh Pickering (11+1), plus a very entertaining display by their guest Thomas Jorgensen. The Dane was excluded from his first ride after very nearly pulling off a brilliant double overtake on the opening lap, but he recovered to take a race win and finally ensure victory by backing Ricky Wells to a fine 5-1 after a brilliant double spearhead move on the first bend of heat 13. Thomas will be welcome back any time.

There would be no complaints either about the efforts of Matt Williamson (5+1, gating well) or Joel Andersson (3+1), both fighting hard either to hold their positions or to improve them. Bags of effort from these two.

Funnily enough the least productive Monarch on this occasion was the one of the new boys who has shown the most promise thus far - Max Ruml. He was fighting hard and not off the pace, but could only manage a single point. With the match won he was left in heat 14 to give him a chance to prove himself, only for a bike problem to rule him out.

Kevin Doolan was top Bandit with a vintage display, very nearly getting past Wells on the first lap of heat 15. The Aussie included two wins and two paid wins in his paid 16. Summers, Jakobsen and Howe all had their moments without being consistently productive, and Gappmaier tried very hard.

John Lindman struggled on his first Armadale appearance, and Jye Etheridge unfortunately picked up an injury in heat 2 which after one more ride ruled him out of the meeting. His presence later on could well have made a difference.

This was the first of two difficult calls for the referee. Heat 2, after a good start, Etheridge locked up in mid-turn round the first corner and slowed almost to walking pace. Therefore with Pickering coming much more quickly out of the corner, though still close to the inside line, he could not avoid running into Etheridge. Referee’s decision – correct.

In heat 4, the Bandits had gated in front but Thomas Jorgensen immediately tried to sort that out. He swept round Gappmaier on the third corner, then cut back under Jakobsen coming down the straight. He was almost a full length ahead going into the first bend of the next lap – but just clipped Jakobsen’s front wheel and brought him down. Referee’s decision – correct.

Overall an enjoyable night, riders getting round without difficulty, main event concluded in about 100 minutes. A good night at the speedway.