Harrisons Scottish Open Championship
Friday 31st March 2017, 7:15pm
Individual
Armadale Stadium

The 2017 season at Armadale got off to a highly entertaining start with a very competitive Harrison’s Scottish Open Championship, won by Justin Sedgmen in an exciting final.

As the riders lined up for the final, it must have been very difficult for Monarchs fans to decide who they were cheering for with two current Monarchs and two former Monarchs in the heat, all very popular guys.

Winner Justin Sedgmen, a two-time league winner with the Monarchs, said “It’s awesome to be here and awesome to win here. I actually won the Jack Young Cup at Gillman Speedway in Adelaide during the summer so to add the Jack Young Memorial Trophy as well is pretty cool.”

Alex Harkess added “It was a brilliant night. I can’t think that any other club could present an event like that any better. There was so much good racing and then real tension when the riders were lining up for the semi-final and final.”

It did seem that Erik Riss, after a great performance, might be the man to take the Trophy, but he was caught first by Sedgmen and also by Ricky Wells. Erik’s wide line was quick but the shorter route proved to be the more profitable one in the final.

The unlucky Riss has probably never ridden better at Armadale, but he had the misfortune to blow two engines during the evening. It means he goes to his first match for Leicester tomorrow without the engines he would like to be using. However he certainly impressed everyone with his determined and skilful riding.

There was so much to enthuse over, and new boy Josh Pickering has already impressed the Armadale support. He won heat 14 but perhaps even more impressively, he should have won the opening race. After a brilliant first corner cutback he was away, leading Pijper, Lawson and Summers and he held a lead of several lengths going into the last lap.

Inexperience on the track caught him out though, and an overslide followed by a tumble when he tried to correct it meant he finished pointless from what was a sensational debut ride. It didn’t stop him pulling a few wheelies and waving to the crowd who are going to enjoy watching him race.

The early heats were all interesting. Erik Riss pulled back several lengths on Ludvig Lindgren to win heat two at the last gasp, Sam Masters dived inside Ricky Wells in a tough move to win heat 3 and Mark Riss was impressive in his heat 4 win.

Trophy holder Masters wasn’t quite at his best though, losing to Lindgren in heat 5 and then coming last in heat 11. He recovered to make the semi.

Erik Riss had another win from the back when he passed Sedgmen in heat 6, and at that point Sedgy didn’t seem to be going particularly well. He certainly picked up his game later on.

Masters and Erik Riss were neck and neck into the third turn in heat 16, but the unbeaten Riss came off and suffered an exclusion, which was the cause of some debate. A tough decision to make.

That meant there were no fewer than 6 riders on 9 going into the final four heats, with Masters a point behind. By winning their last rides, Sedgmen, Schlein and Wells qualified direct for the final on 12, with Masters, Erik Riss, Lawson and Lindgren contesting the semi from which only the winner went through. At the first attempt Lindgren fell, then Riss won the rerun with Sam Masters trying a very wide line and dropping to the rear.

The final seemed to be going Riss’s way, but Sedgmen had other ideas and took a great victory which he happily celebrated, a great start to the season for Justin in his first Armadale meeting since 2015.

It’s finally here! After a long cold winter speedway is back as we launch our 21st season at Armadale with the Harrison’s Scottish Open Championship.

I can almost sense it, the roar of the bikes, the smell of methanol in the air; it’s good to be back. What a meeting we have to come back to as well. The Scottish Open is a favourite in the calendar of many and it is a pleasure to see it re-introduced.

The Open had perhaps fallen out of favour a little previously due to the inconsistent nature of getting riders to commit but this year what a line-up the promotion team have constructed. Realistically I can see anything up to 12 or 13 potential winners with all 16 being capable of playing the spoiler role.

Number 1 in the riding order is Sheffield and Somerset star Josh Grajczonek. Graj is now well and truly established as one of the top men in the second tier of British Speedway going into his 10th season on these shores. Someone who originally struggled round the tight confines of Armadale Josh is now an excellent visitor and will be hoping that this is 3rd time lucky as he makes this a hat trick of Open appearances having scored 9 and 7 points in his previous efforts.

It will be a baptism of fire for number 2 in the line-up our Aussie newcomer Josh Pickering. Josh has impressed everyone with his keenness and attitude since arriving on these shores and appears to be no slouch on the bike either. Everyone in attendance at last week’s practice session will have been impressed with his natural looking ability and style and he certainly knows where the throttle is. This will be a good way for Josh to get some racing experience round his home track before the league season starts next week.

Third in the field is Glasgow star Richard Lawson. Lawson would be first to admit he has an inconsistent record at Armadale but he appears to have turned the corner recording 2 double digits scores round the Dale last season. He appears to have started the season well having romped to victory in the BEN fund Bonanza at Ashfield a few weeks ago and while in a field of this class he may not be seen as one of the favourites he certainly is a dark horse and no one would be surprised to see him on the podium at the end of the night.

Completing the quadrumvirate that will take to the track to launch our season is another man coming east from Glasgow in Aaron Summers. Another track expert at Armadale and with Ricky Wells now in Monarchs colours many would say Aaron will take over the mantle as the most difficult visitor for our top men to overcome. Spud was a beaten semi finalist in the last running of the Open back in 2014 and he will no doubt be looking to go one step further at least this year.

Fifth in the line-up is ever popular Swede Ludvig Lindgren. Few will forget Lindgren’s guest appearance for the Monarchs last year as he raced to not one but two maximums in a double header against Plymouth and Redcar. If Lindgren shows that kind of form again tomorrow night then he is another that will take some stopping.

Moving onto number 6 in the riding order and the second of the Parsons Peebles Monarchs that will be taking part it’s our German wunderkind Erik Riss. This will be a big season for Erik as he focuses mostly on speedway after securing his second world longtrack championship last season. The youngster is ready though and anyone watching must have been impressed as he raced to 5 points in the best pairs competition in Torun last weekend with no less than Chris Holder among the scalps he claimed.

Lucky number seven is Berwick’s captain Kevin Doolan. Doolan who celebrates a testimonial this season is another ever popular rider who classes Armadale as one of his favourite tracks and the experienced Aussie will be in the mix come tomorrow night another who would be classed as a dark horse for the title.

Number 8 is the only replacement to the initially announced field and remarkably it is the man with the most Armadale experience in the line-up it’s Mathew Wethers. Matty is currently unattached and will be looking to put his name in the shop window with a strong performance to make promoters sit up and take notice. Matty will equal the James Grieves record of 9 open appearances in the Armadale era and was a finalist as recently as 2011

Many people’s favourite to lift the title rides in at number 9 it’s Monarchs captain and number 1 Sam Masters. Sam is of course the reigning champion and will not be looking to give up his title without a battle. Sam is coming into the season after a successful winter in Australia where he was crowned Australian Champion for the first time. Sam appears to have carried this form into the season with strong performances in his meetings so far.

If there has been one name that has generated buzz for someone who will be the main danger to Sam retaining the Jack Young Trophy it comes at number 10 with returning hero Justin Sedgmen. Sedgy will be making his first appearance at the Dale since the 2015 playoff final second leg and he is keen to impress. With a winter of worry behind him in regards a team space in the UK now being resolved with Justin lining up for Belle Vue he will be relaxed and out to take the trophy home with him.

Eleventh in the line-up is another Parsons Peebles Monarch Max Clegg. Max is well and truly renowned as an Armadale specialist and is another who will be looking to take some notable scalps and get his season kick-started with a strong showing. Max has said this is the biggest season so far in his career and a confidence boosting showing on Friday will go a long way towards him making it the success his talent deserves.

Completing what will be a tasty heat 3 in at number 12 in the draw is the Monarchs other newcomer this year Ricky Wells. Wells is a man that many Monarchs fans have wanted to see in the Blue and Gold for many years and that wish is now reality. The American appears to be in midseason form already having reached the final in the BEN Fund and Cumberland Classic individuals as well as a second place in Berwick’s season opening individual. There won’t be many that would bet against him adding to that tomorrow night.

Hoping it won’t be unlucky for him is number 13 in the line-up Mark Riss. Mark is now well settled with Edinburgh having joined mid season last year and is looking to kick on and make a mockery of his 4.00 starting average this season. Another who will be looking to tomorrow night to bed in and get some track time Mark will be hoping to emulate the improvement younger brother Erik made in his second season when he added 1.5 points to his average.

Another name creating buzz before the event tomorrow night is 3 time former winner and 2003 league winning legend Rory Schlein. The Roo Boy will go into tomorrow night looking to equal the record of four open wins currently held by Peter Carr and this is well within his reach. Rory will be a more regular visitor this season as he settles back in to life in the second tier having joined a powerful looking Ipswich line-up.

The penultimate man in the line-up and final Parsons Peebles Monarch is the retuning Mitchell Davey. Mitchell is hoping to make a triumphant return to this level after a horrific leg break back in 2013 and all at the Monarchs are delighted to see him make this step with us. Mitchell is ready for the challenge ahead and is another who may just surprise tomorrow night.

Completing the line-up is experienced Dane Ulrich Ostergaard. Ostergaard is another popular visitor to Armadale and is known for upping his game when the big occasion awaits. Ulrich finished on the podium of the last running of the Open in 2014 and as a former PLRC Champion cannot be discounted from repeating the feat this year.

So an exciting line-up for what is sure to be 22 heats of enthralling action at Armadale tomorrow night. I know I can’t wait and I hope to see you all there.

Almost There

Friday 31st March 2017, 2:32pm

It's not long now until the start of the 2017 season at Armadale Speedway and everything is in place for an exciting start to the season.

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Warm Up for Some

Thursday 30th March 2017, 11:13pm

With less than twenty four hours to go until the Armadale Speedway season starts with the staging of the Harrisons Scottish Open Championship some of Friday's contestants have been in action on Thursday evening.

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It All Starts Now

Wednesday 29th March 2017, 6:48pm

The 21st season of racing starts at Armadale this week with the Harrison’s Scottish Open Championship with many believing this is the most competitive field in the competition in years.

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Wethers Rides In

Tuesday 28th March 2017, 10:00am

With the Harrisons Scottish Open Championship now just 3 days away we have been forced into a late change to the line-up.

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Open Draw Complete

Monday 27th March 2017, 10:14am

The tapes fly up on the 21st consecutive season of racing at Armadale this Friday with the 2017 Harrisons Scottish Open Championship.

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Excellent Line Up Complete

Thursday 23rd March 2017, 10:00am

We can now announce the final two riders left to complete the field for this year’s Harrisons Scottish Open Championship and with no offence to anyone announced so far these names may elicit the biggest response.

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New-Man For The Open

Wednesday 22nd March 2017, 10:00am

3 Riders left to announce to complete the field for this year’s Harrisons Scottish Open Championship and we are delighted to announce that Kyle Newman will be joining the line-up.

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Will 13 Be Unlucky For Everyone Else

Tuesday 21st March 2017, 10:00am

Four riders left to announce to complete the line-up of the reintroduced Harrisons Scottish Open Championship and that man is another of the 2017 Monarchs - it's Erik Riss!

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Scrabbleman On Board

Monday 20th March 2017, 10:00am

We now have only a handful of rider’s left to announce for our season opening Harrisons Scottish Open Championship and we are now in position to announce rider number 12.

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Up To Eleven

Sunday 19th March 2017, 10:00am

Heading into the home stretch in completing the line-up for the much anticipated Harrisons Scottish Open Championship and it’s time to announce rider number 11!

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Lawson At The Double

Saturday 18th March 2017, 10:00am

Another day another rider unveil as we are now less than two weeks away till the tapes go up on our season launching Harrison’s Scottish Open Championship and that rider is Glasgow star Richard Lawson!

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Stadium Work Continues

Friday 17th March 2017, 8:27pm

Less than a fortnight to go now to the start of the new season and there is still work to be done at the stadium before the gates open on another year.

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Max On Cloud 9

Friday 17th March 2017, 10:00am

We are now over halfway through unveiling the riders that will battle it out for the Harrisons Scottish Open Championship with tapes due to fly in just 2 weeks time.

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Scottish Open Update

Thursday 16th March 2017, 8:18pm

Interest in the 2017 Harrisons Scottish Open Championship coming up as our opening meeting at the end of the month is bubbling up nicely.

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Eight Down Eight To Go

Thursday 16th March 2017, 10:00am

We are now at the halfway point of announcing the men that will chase the Jack Young Trophy in this year’s Harrisons Scottish Open Championship and that man is Peterborough captain combative Dane Ulrich Ostergaard!

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Riss Looking To Make His Mark

Wednesday 15th March 2017, 10:00am

As we head towards single figures of riders left to announce for the season launching Harrisons Scottish Open Championship we can now announce the 7th competitor and 4th member of this year’s Monarchs to take part - it’s our German reserve Mark Riss!

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Pick-ering Number Six

Tuesday 14th March 2017, 10:00am

With spaces fast filling up for the 2017 Harrisons Scottish Open Championship we can announce a third member of this year’s Monarchs septet in the line-up and it’s exciting newcomer Josh Pickering!

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High Five

Monday 13th March 2017, 10:00am

With the clock ticking down till the tapes go up on the Harrisons Scottish Open Championship we can now announce rider number 5 from the field.

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Ricky A Bonanza Finalist

Sunday 12th March 2017, 7:15pm

Ricky Wells recovered from a first-ride tapes offence to win four heats and qualify for the final of the Ben Fund Bonanza, finishing fourth in a meeting won by Glasgow's Richard Lawson.

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Davey To The Four

Sunday 12th March 2017, 10:00am

We carry on our unveiling of the participants in this year’s Harrison’s Scottish Open Championship with the announcement of another one of our own, this time it’s Mitchell Davey!

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Summers Makes Three

Saturday 11th March 2017, 10:00am

Less than 3 weeks to go now till the tapes go up on the Harrison’s Scottish Open Championship and we can now announce rider number 3 from the field.

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Ricky Rides In

Friday 10th March 2017, 10:00am

Three weeks tonight until we hear the roar of bikes at Armadale once again with our season opening Harrisons Scottish Open Championship and we can now announce the second rider who will take to the shale.

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Roo Boy Returns

Thursday 9th March 2017, 10:00am

It is just over three weeks until the launch of the 2017 season at Armadale Stadium with the return of the Harrisons Scottish Open Championship and we are delighted to announce the first rider to the field.

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Open Coming Soon

Tuesday 7th March 2017, 9:26pm

We are now just over three weeks away from the Harrisons Scottish Open Championship on 31st March which sees our prestigious individual meeting return to our calendar.

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Coming Soon: Season 2017

Friday 3rd March 2017, 7:30pm

The countdown is on to the start of the 2017 speedway season at Armadale Stadium.

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Harrisons Back the Scottish Open

Wednesday 25th January 2017, 6:00pm

We are pleased to welcome Harrisons, the Ford dealer of Peebles, as the sponsor of our first meeting of the 2017 season, on Friday 31st March, the Scottish Open Championship.

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Justin Sedgmen
Mike Hunter speaks to Justin Sedgmen after his victory in the Harrisons Scottish Open Championship.
Harrisons Scottish Open Championship 2017
Erik Riss storms from the gate in the Final of the Harrisons Scottish Open Championship. Can the others catch up?