Lasse Fredriksen heads Max Clegg Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Very comfortable win in the end

NEWS Friday 22nd April 2022, 11:06pm

by Mike Hunter

On a sunny but ridiculously cold evening at Armadale, the What the Fork Monarchs (eventually) won pretty comfortably by 58-32 against a depleted Newcastle side, to go through to the quarter final on a 107-73 aggregate.

Not only were Newcastle without their no. 1 Bradley Wilson-Dean, but Paul Starke was a late withdrawal with food poisoning. William Lawson answered the late call to guest. So in the circumstances the Diamonds were doing well to trail by just 26-34 at heat 10, but Monarchs pulled away thereafter.

Team manager Alex Harkess said "We didn't get going until we turned on to the second page of the programme but in the end there were some things to be pleased about. James Sarjeant was very good, and I was very happy to see some points for Jacob Hook – Sam Masters was working with him, changing things on the bike, and in his last two rides he got a good third followed by a paid win. He's definitely showing promise.

"Our middle pair is improving, Paco Castagna seems to take a while to get going but he won his last two heats."

Although the opposition was not strong they still had some riders who are not easy to beat at Armadale. It was no great sur[rise that Sam Masters and Josh Pickering scored maximums, but they were joined by James Sarjeant who showed a lot of determination to stay unbeaten also.

Lasse Fredriksen didn't gate as well as last week but he did start with a good third place ahead of Max Clegg. Sarjeant showed his mettle by making up a lot of ground to pass Lee Complin in an interesting heat 2, and Kye Thomson got his best start of the season to win heat 3 as Castagna got himself well tailed off.

A 5-1 in heat 4 suggested that the match would follow the expected pattern, but in fact half a dozen drawn heats followed as the visitors stuck to their guns. Matthew Wethers had a race win in heat 5, and he might have had another but for an impressive heat 8 ride by Sarjeant to hold him off. Heat 7 was a notable battle, Pickering just catching Clegg on the line after a race-long battle.

From heat 11 onwards though, Monarchs hit a higher gear and closed out the match with a 24-4 advantage over the final 5 races. Heat 14 was the best ride yet by Jacob Hook who held off Max Clegg for one of the maximum advantages along with Kye Thomson.

Wethers, Clegg and Complin all plugged away and were good value for their points, but Newcastle surely have to sort out their team problems soon. No doubt they are trying to do that.

Next Friday's Armadale fare will be a different kettle of fish.