REPORT Tuesday 31st May 2022, 9:51pm
Another heat 15 master class by Sam Masters and Josh Pickering meant the What the Fork Monarchs became only the second team to gain as much as a point on the road from 'The Coliseum' going down 48-42 at thePlymouth Gladiators on Tuesday night.
It looked like a long night was in store as the home men exerted the pressure from the off, heat advantages in each of the first 3 races meant the Monarchs were staring at a 8 point deficit and a tough night looked in store.
This is a Monarch's team with an ingrained spirit though and led by Masters who only dropped points in the first heat on his way to a paid 17 haul they clawed their way back in leaving team boss John Campbell to say 'Very proud of the boys. Exceeded expectations and if it wasn't for some track work orchestrated by Ben Barker before heat 12 then we might have got even closer.
'It was great that Sam and Josh got the 5-1 that we needed in heat 15 to get a well deserved Championship point.
'A special mention to Jacob Hook for sticking in after four pointless rides and getting his reward.
'We move onto Poole tomorrow looking for more points.'
As mentioned by Campbell it really was a night of 2 halves for the Monarch's young Aussie Hook with points scoring positions in his first pair of rides taken away by machinery gremlins and a fall. Hook stuck to his task though and 5 points over his last 4 were crucial in giving Masters, Pickering and fellow heat leader Kye Thomson the back up they needed.
After their slow start the Monarch's actually pulled themselves level after back to back heat maximums in heats 6 and 7 but with the home men repeating the trick in heats 8 and 9 the 8 point home advantage was restored.
Track grading after heat 10 then again after a heat 11 interval worked to home main man Barker's advantage as he jetted away for a heat 12 win and a home maximum in heat 14 by Michael Palm Toft and the very impressive Ben Morley meant that the best the Monarchs could do was salvage a point with a last heat max of their own.
Pickering and Masters duly delivered team riding expertly to hold off the spirited challenges of Barker and Palm Toft.
So, a point it was to be for the Monarchs one that most in attendance would say was the least they deserved.
Plymouth Gladiators 48: Harris 3+2, Bowtell 9, Barker 12, Palm Toft 7+2, Anderson 5+1, McGurk 2+1, Morley 10+2
What the Fork Monarchs 42: Masters 16+1, Fredriksen r/r, Thomson 8+1, Castagna 3, Pickering 9+1, Hook 5+1, Trigger 1