REPORT Saturday 23rd June 2018, 1:23am
Tonight there were old friends on the track and around the stadium, the sun shone and everyone was able to bask in their own personal memories of the 70 years which span the Edinburgh Monarchs history.
Alex Harkess said "It was a relaxing night and it was great to see so many familiar faces all over the place. There was a good atmosphere and it felt like a big occasion. We are back to the serious stuff next week of course."
The winners of the Four Team event were the team labelled "1950 Monarchs" and sponsored by the John Somerville collection, namely Sam Masters, Mark Riss, Mason Campton and Josh Pickering. Winner of the Grand Final Individual race was a determined Sam Masters, though he didn't have to face in the final Rory Schlein who passed him in heat 16 in the team event in one of the races of the night.
It wasn't really about winners and losers though it was more about all the good times we've enjoyed and hopefully will continue to enjoy. In truth we've seen better racing and the first real race to remember was heat 14 when Josh Pickering's race-long chase on Matthew Wethers bore fruit with a brilliant last bend outside overtake.
Two heats later, with the four team number ones (Schlein, Masters, Cook, Wells) meeting, Sam Masters led most of the way until Rory Schlein repeated the move which earlier in the season brought him the Scottish Open title, a great tight turn and inside pass.
The 'big guns' all performed well, Craig Cook starting with two wins but he failed to finish his last two, coming a cropper on the last bend of heat 11 when trying to pass Mark Riss. Scott Nicholls dropped just one point in the team event and again said how much he liked the track (it really is his cup of tea) and Richie Worrall too was very much to the fore as always at Armadale. He was runner-up in the Top scorers' race.
Mark Riss won two heats and as ever there was excitement when Josh Pickering was on the track. If the other Monarchs' tail-enders were looking to impress with their progress, they didn't really.
Norwegian Lasse Fredriksen found the track tricky but certainly improved a great deal after a tough first ride, and considering he had done almost no riding for eight years, William Lawson certainly wasn't disgraced and might well have been awarded second in heat 4, stopped at the end of lap 3 but then rerun.
The Golden Doubles which were allowed kept the scores close but no-one was particularly concerned who won the event. Therev will be much more concern about the score next week when Berwick Bandits come along in the KO Cup quarter finals.
1950 Monarchs 30: Sam Masters 9, Josh Pickering 8, Mark Riss 7, Mason Campton 6.
1983 Monarchs 26: Richie Worrall 12, Rory Schlein 9, Max Ruml 4, Lasse Fredriksen 1.
2018 Monarchs 24: Ricky Wells 11, Paul Starke 7, Matthew Wethers 4, Joel Andersson 2.
1966 Monarchs 23: Scott Nicholls 14, Craig Cook 6, William Lawson 2, Coty Garcia 1.
Top Scorers Heat: Masters, Worrall, Nicholls, Wells