The opening heat on a thrilling night Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Great show by Monarchs in a big win

REPORT Friday 21st June 2024, 10:30pm

by Mike Hunter

  Edinburgh Monarchs

The Stellar Monarchs turned on the style tonight in a match which seemed likely to be tight in the early stages. Just six points in front at the heat 8 with Scunthorpe still retaining their tactical option as well as a very good reserve in Nathan Ablitt, Monarchs made light of it from that point on with some determined and exciting performances.

Satisfied team manager Alex Harkess said "It was a very, very good performance. Young Max was understandably rusty on his return but the other six all did well. The only last place any of our top five got was when Paco suffered a broken frame in his second ride."

Chosen as Monarch of the Match in the fans' vote, paid maximum man Justin Sedgmen added "We needed a good job from all of us and we got it. When you look down our side and the way we are riding, we should be winning with a bit to spare at home. Heats 13 and 15 were good with Josh, I'm gating better so I took gate 2 in heat 15 and let Josh come round the outside.

"The team is working well, I'm quite quiet and like to do my own thing but I will help where I can, and Paco does an excellent job of getting everyone fired up. We should have a good chance for the aggregate bonus next week but Scunthorpe are really dialled in at home, so it may be a different story!"

Monarchs' new pairings worked well from the off with Pickering and Thomson taking a 5-1 over Howarth in the opening heat. Danger man Ablitt won heat 2, a Scunthorpe advantage, but Castagna was back in the groove to win heat 3 with Fredriksen adding the point.

Sedgmen's fast gating brought him wins in heats 4 and 7 and when Thomson won heat 8, Monarchs were six ahead having had 6 heat winners. However it was expected that Scorpions would be right in contention over the next few heats, especially with Howarth taking a tac sub ride alongside Allen in heat 9. What a race this one was.

Allen sped off in front with Castagna at the rear initially, and Fredriksen battling to keep Howarth at the back. This he managed very well but Castagna pulled off a miraculous chase and pass on Allen for a crucial 4-2.

Pickering and Thomson then pushed Howarth back to third in his rider replacement ride in the next one, and it wasn't proving to be Kyle's night. It got worse when he suffered a 2-minute exclusion in heat 11, making Sedgy's third race win easier than it might have been. Mind you no-one was beating him out of the gate tonight.

Connor Coles produced his best ride of the night with a second in heat 12, as Fredriksen battled all race to overtake Ablitt and share another one.

It was virtually all over when the top two took a comfortable 5-1 in heat 13, and fast gate by Sedgmen and a cunning inside switch by Pickering setting it up.

Paco won a heat 14 rerun and the top two finished the job in the last one, completing an excellent performance. It was a much better match than the final score suggests.

We would like to think we have a decent chance of the aggregate bonus but everyone knows how good Scunthorpe are at home!