Thomson sweeps round Sedgmen to win heat 3 Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Home win on an over-eventful night

REPORT Saturday 28th May 2022, 0:19am

by Mike Hunter

The What the Fork Monarchs came out on top by 52-36 against Birmingham in a bruising encounter which was notable mainly for the wrong reasons.

Or you could say that Monarchs finished with 5 fit riders to the Brummies 4! It was that kind of night with too many incidents and not enough good racing, and definitely not the best night for the British Speedway Network to pay their first visit to Armadale. The first half of the match was littered with crashes and delays, though things did settle down for a relatively smooth run from heat 9 onwards.

Paco Castagna had a solid night but felt hard done by when heat 5 was pulled back for no apparent reason. He said "This week was a tough meeting, it was unfortunate that we lost Lasse when James is already injured. I don't know what will happen now with the team. But I think the team is getting in the groove now. I felt I should have had double figures but my second heat was stopped after I had made the gate, it made no sense. I think Hooky was good tonight as well."

Monarchs established an early lead of 13-4 after three heats, and were annoyed that they didn't extend it in heat 5 after Thomson and Castagna had made the start, only for the heat to be stopped. Nobody could see why, and at the second attempt the Brummies took a 4-2.

Tom Brennan showed his quality by taking a win over Sam Masters, and the scoring was pretty level over the next few heats. Heat 11 was the best heat of the night with a fine overtake by Pickering on Sedgmen in spite of Justin's best efforts to hold him off.

There were still only six points in it with three races to go, but that was extended with a couple of powerful 5-1s by the maestros Masters and Pickering, really strong on the opening laps of heats 13 and 15. They are becoming one of the legendary Armadale spearheads to rival some of the great duos of the past.

To try to summarise the incidents: James Shanes and James Pearson were in a 3-man sandwich with Monarchs' guest Greg Blair in heat 2. Pearson and his bike somersaulted into the fence and the young Aussie was ruled out of the meeting. Greg Blair later revealed that the crash had damaged his machine which caused him problems thereafter.

Ashley Morris came down in heat 3 whilst second and Justin Sedgmen also stopped in that heat. Heat 6 was a disaster for the unlucky Lasse Fredriksen, who had started with a paid win and looked set for another one, when James Shanes crashed into him from behind. The Norwegian now has a shoulder injury, and we await further news on that.

Heat 8 was the next problem with Nielsen, Shanes and Blair all coming down at the second bend after Hook had made the start. The upshot of this one was that Shanes' helmet was ruled unsafe, and the Brummies reserve did not wish to wear a borrowed one and thus also withdrew from the meeting. Although Nielsen rode on, he was also due for a checkup after the match.

So adding to the missing riders Sarjeant and Vissing pre-meeting, are Fredriksen for the Monarchs, Pearson for the Brummies, and also possibly Nielsen. And Shanes needs a new helmet. We wish them all well.