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The opening heat under way Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Comfortable four points for Tigers

REPORT Friday 29th April 2022, 11:29pm

by Mike Hunter

The What the Fork Monarchs did not manage to rise to the occasion tonight in the first instalment of the Scottish Speedway derbies, and went down 39-51 against a very good Glasgow team who clearly have honours in their sights this season. They attacked the track to much greater effect than the home riders did.

Monarchs' team manager Alex Harkess said "We just weren't good enough, we can't have any complaints. We weren't getting into good positions early in the races. Tigers rode very well and deserved their victory."

For once the top two of Sam Masters and Josh Pickering did not dominate and at the moment, Monarchs don't have enough points lower down the order to compensate for that. Captain Sam hadn't dropped a point this season at Armadale, yet tonight he didn't win a race until heat 15.

Tigers had so many riders going well that on more than one occasion when Sam was battling to pass the man in front, he was under serious threat from the opponent behind him!

In Josh's case, a first ride win wasn't followed up as he struggled to find the outside line drive.

In fact Paco Castagna was the only Monarch to win two heats, but as we've seen before with Paco this year, it does seem to take him a couple of rides to get going. Those race wins earned him the Monarch of the Match prize.

Neither Lasse Fredriksen nor Jacob Hook scored big points but they show spirit and are capable of holding positions. In Jacob's case he earned an excellent point from the back against Hume in heat 12.

James Sarjeant had another good meeting with a solid score, and he pulled off a good overtake in the second heat when he went under Danyon Hume on the third bend. Danyon then fell and that turned a 1-5 into a 3-3.

In the end there were too few such consolations. All of the Glasgow riders earned wins or paid wins and you have to say there were some really impressive displays. Craig Cook won his first three and looked in great form, and both Tom Brennan and Benjamin Basso looked, at times anyway, the really outstanding prospects we know they are.

Ostergaard dropped just one point, Connor Bailey won two heats but perhaps the Tiger most worth watching was Danyon Hume, who after that first ride fall then proceeded to beat Sam Masters and Josh Pickering in successive races.

Monarchs kept it level up to heat 4, which was an impressive 5-1 from Pickering and Sarjeant against Brennan. That was as good as it got though Tigers built a 14 point lead over the next six races, including three 5-1s. Monarchs at least plugged away and took three race victories and two advantages in the final four heats.

They face a daunting return at Ashfield on Sunday but will certainly give it their best shot.