Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Thrilling win for Stellar Monarchs in classic

REPORT Saturday 8th June 2024, 1:00am

by Mike Hunter

  Edinburgh Monarchs

The Stellar Monarchs made it home for their first win in the Championship this season in a really enthralling match. They took the lead in heat 3, were never behind but never more than 4 points ahead, and held their nerve in two titanic heats 13 and 15 against the mighty Masters-Nicholls duo to take the points with a 46-44 win.

Last heat hero was Josh Pickering with an incredible last to first burst, but full credit also to Justin Sedgmen who made the start in that finale and prevented Sam Masters and Scott Nicholls getting ahead for what might have been a match-winning 5-1.

Team manager Alex Harkess doesn't necessarily enjoy these close ones. "A bit too tight for my liking, though it was always going to be tight. I was certainly happy with the determination the team showed, throughout the side from 1 to 7. Paco Castagna kept his excellent form going, Kye Thomson and Lasse Fredriksen won heats when it mattered, and Sedgy certainly played a full part in that last race, an incredible ride by Josh.

There were numerous excellent races throughout the night. Oxford guest Jacob Hook won heat 2 from the back in the first of several tussles with Connor Coles, Scott Nicholls showed his quality has not diminished as he swept majestically around Sedgmen in heat 4, Pickering brilliantly slipped inside Nicholls to win heat 6 then Sedgmen and Heeps had a four lap battle with Sedgy making no mistakes to win heat 7 narrowly.

It was remarkable that Heeps didn't win any heats as he is clearly on good form and pressured the race leaders in all of his rides.

Anyway, a win for Kye Thomson in heat 12 meant that Monarchs arrived at heat 13 four ahead. Would it be enough with the Cheetahs' top two in two of the remaining heats?

Masters kept his unbeaten run going by racing away with heat 13 while the other three had an incredible tussle for the other places. Sedgmen clung on to second in spite of all Nicholls' crafty moves, several times appearing to be edging ahead. Pickering meanwhile was battling from the rear but could never find the space to squeeze past. An Oxford 4-2 means Monarchs now just two ahead.

Captain Castagna crucially won heat 14 from Heeps though Coles could not add the point in spite of a good start. So Monarchs led by two into the last heat.

Sedgmen crucially made the start with Pickering last away and still at the back as they hit bend three. He went between the Cheetahs and into second behind Nicholls entering lap two, and just as Masters pushed Sedgmen to the back, Picko pulled off an incredible wide overtake of Nicholls at the end of lap two.

He remembered also to move out a lap later to prevent Scott duplicating the move and as Justin came to a halt having done his bit, Josh roared home to the delight of the Monarchs' support.