Title Partner:  What The Fork

Introducing The What The Fork Monarchs of 2021

NEWS Friday 5th March 2021, 8:00pm

by Mike Hunter

What the Fork Monarchs announced their team for the 2021 season in a live online session on Friday night, and it will be:

Sam Masters (captain), Richie Worrall, Josh Pickering, Nathan Greaves, Kye Thomson, William Lawson, Joe Lawlor.

The two newcomers in comparison with the proposed 2020 side are Nathan Greaves and Joe Lawlor.

23 year-old Greaves from Sheffield has ridden Armadale ten times previously with a fair record. He said yesterday about his new home circuit:

"I think it's one of those tracks which is a bit challenging if you've never been before. But I have ridden it quite a few times now and I think it's a brilliant track if you are riding it every week, you can get quite a bit of home track advantage. Of course at the end of the day you have to ride them all.

"I'm hoping that I can get dialled in and maybe get some help off the riders there, and then score as many points as possible obviously."

Nathan's past record at Armadale includes 16 points scored in three 2017 visits with Ipswich, and a second place in the 2018 Caledonian Riders' Championship.

He did have a non-scoring visit with Glasgow in 2018 but explained "I came back too early from a crash I had at Glasgow, I shouldn't have been riding really. That was my fault."

"I don't want to start saying I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that, and then it doesn't happen, but I will say definitely it is a big fresh start for me. I made a lot of changes and big decisions at the end of 2019, then unfortunately we didn't get a 2020 season as we all sat waiting to go again.

"But I don't want to be a rider who switches between National League and Championship, I want to be in the Championship if not the Premiership. I've been there before and I've scored some good points so it's time to move up, and I want to stay there.

"I've had a few races with William Lawson, and I've spent a couple of years with Sam at Wolves and I'm hoping he will help me get dialled in round Edinburgh.

"I've known Joe Lawlor and his dad since riding as mascots at Belle Vue and I think he has talent and natural ability.

"I'm sure the team is going to be good because Edinburgh are always challenging for a top four spot. I'm looking forward to it."

Lawlor is 20, from Manchester, and is quite a bit less experienced than Greaves. He has ridden twice before at Armadale and last year topped the averages of National League club Stoke.

Although he struggled on the track previously Joe said "Once I've had a few spins round there I should be fine. It suits my style but it has been the conditions which have thrown me when I've been before. I didn't have the experience to ride in those conditions. But I improved a lot towards the end of 2019 and gained a lot more experience.

"I'm only going to get better. My bikes are in better shape than they've ever been. I've kept myself ready to race and I knew I would get a chance. I want to be busy, people forget how little racing I've done, even in 2019 at Stoke I only joined them after the season started. I've got some improving to do, I don't want to stay at reserve, I want to be a top rider!

"I'm just 20 and I haven't really been noticed so far but it is up to me to get out there and let people see what I can do. I'm no. 1 at Leicester in the National League this year, and captain, but don't worry I'll remember which side I'm on when the Monarchs race Leicester!"

The new no. 7, who has known fellow newcomer Nathan Grieves since they were mascots at Belle Vue, revealed some previous connections to Monarchs when he added "I raced against Kye Thomson at Sheffield in the Top Gun meeting so I know Kye, and also know Richie Worrall. I have a laugh with him.

"I also have assistance from a former Monarch Ian Westwell, he does a lot and he's a good help to me. He'll love it coming up to Armadale.

"And although people probably don't remember it I am close friends with Kevin Wolbert because he stayed at our house for about a year and I was at quite a lot of meetings with him. So I know the Edinburgh faces. Maybe Kevin will advise me on setups and even send me some bikes!"

The club had earlier stated a preference for continuing with the chosen 2020 team but this became impossible due to new rules regarding team makeup set at the annual BSPL Conference and visa complications, with the result that James Sarjeant and Lasse Fredriksen will not now be in the side. Whilst welcoming the new riders everyone regrets that other riders have to move on after missing out last season.

Armadale Devils

The Club's National Development League side, the Armadale Stellar Devils, also unveiled their side tonight. You can read more on the complete line-up here.

Opening Fixtures

It was confirmed that it is intended for the speedway season at Armadale Stadium to open on Friday May 7th with Stellar Devils versus Berwick Bullets, followed by Stellar Devils versus Newcastle Gems on Friday May 14th.

What The Fork Monarchs intend to commence their season on Friday 21st May versus Birmingham Brummies.

New Youth Development Initiative

A new "cradle-to-Scottish Champion" youth rider development initiative is in the works. Plans will include a pathway for children of all ages to become involved in speedway racing. This will include the development of a mini speedway track at Armadale Stadium.

If you are interested in assisting with the development or operation of this initiative, please contact the Club at info@edinburghmonarchs.co.uk

Auction

Following their success last year, Monarchs 100 will host a second online auction of speedway memorabilia. If you would like to donate an item to the auction please email info@edinburghmonarchs.co.uk. Full details will be announced shortly and all funds raised at the auction will go towards the implementation of the new Youth Speedway Development initiative and construction of the mini speedway track.

Gold Members

The Club would like to thank all Gold Members for their continued support in these unprecedented times. All members will be contacted directly in the near future to be offered a range of options for their membership, such as rolling it forward to 2021.

The Club has been contacted by some 2020 Gold Members who wish for the Club to retain their 2020 membership fee and to say that they will pay to renew again in 2021. The Club wishes to thank these members for their generosity.