Heat 8 5-1 on the way Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Great win for backs-to-the-wall Monarchs

REPORT Friday 20th May 2022, 11:42pm

by Mike Hunter

The WTF Monarchs pulled off one of their more remarkable results for some time by defeating Redcar Bears 48-41, in spite of the loss of key man James Sarjeant in a very unfortunate heat 2 incident.

Selected as Monarch of the Match by supporters was Jacob Hook whose two paid wins went a long way towards giving his team that winning advantage. "Two paid wins in heats where I made starts," said the young Aussie, "if I can make a few more of these then I can start to score some points for the team and for myself. To come from five points down and win against a strong team like Redcar was very good, everyone did their job."

After starting with a 4-2 in the opening heat, James Sarjeant contributing a point, the first bend of the second race was a disaster. The Monarchs' pair were away well but Hook didn't get his bike turned quickly enough and ran into the side of Sarjeant. That was no. 7 Sarjeant out of the match, and with Hook excluded the heat result was 0-5.

Erik Riss and Lewis Kerr won the next two races with a third from Morley making the score 9-14, and at that point few would have believed that the Monarchs could possibly prevail. It was a match that had been expected to be close anyway, and with Lasse Fredriksen away the home reserves were scheduled to take 11 rides!

However the picture gradually changed and for probably the first time this season, all the remaining riders threw off their shackles and produced the goods! The biggest transformation came from the Thomson – Castagna pairing which hadn't clicked so far this season, but which recorded 5-1 victories in heats 5 and 9. Heat 5 involved Thomson rounding Bears' guest Jake Allen with Castagna slipping through on the inside on the next bend.

It was a maximum in heat 8 which gave Monarchs the lead for the first time since heat 1, and this time it was Jacob Hook who backed up Kye Thomson with a fine steady ride. The lead was extended to 5 with the heat 9 advantage but Redcar had reduced that to just 1 again by heat 12, courtesy of Erik Riss who beat both Masters and Thomson with some really dynamic gating.

So Monarchs led 36-35 going in to heat 13. Captain Masters gated but Josh Pickering was initially quite a bit back. He soon rounded up Jake Allen but that wasn't enough for Josh, thundering hell-for-leather after Kerr even though there was precious little room to work.

On the last lap he scraped the fence on the pits turn and built up such momentum that he was round Kerr as well, hanging on round the final turn. A Pickering special.

Monarchs were now in the driving seat and not about to let go. Castagna took his score into double figures with a good win in heat 14 but he was backed up by that man Hook again who didn't give the Bears a glimpse of a chance.

The victory was secured and Bears would have needed a last heat 5-1 for a point. Kerr did win it with his second victory of the night but Masters ensured there was no way through for the previously unbeaten Riss.

Monarchs' best performance of the season in adversity. For Redcar, in truth, other than Riss and Kerr they were a little disappointing though they were of course missing Charles Wright and Jordan Jenkins. Total vindication for the club policy of hiring two ambulances, without which the match would have been seriously delayed or abandoned.