The Parsons Peebles Monarchs had to work hard tonight to maintain their early advantage over Berwick Bandits, eventually running out 53-39 winners to consolidate their table-topping position.
Monarchs' guest Justin Sedgmen admitted that he had hoped to do better, though he still managed 8+1. "It was a bit frustrating really I've certainly had better nights round here. All I did was change a spark plug for my last ride and things worked better – such a small thing. Still at least Monarchs won so all's well."
Of course Monarchs rode without Sam Masters and Ricky Wells, with guests Rory Schlein and Justin Sedgmen stepping in – it felt like old times. Rory started with two wins to push Monarchs ahead in the early stages, but Justin admitted he had some bike issues and took until heat 12 to land his only race victory.
Erik Riss was the star of the show again but frustratingly missed out on a maximum in heat 15 for the second home match running.
Theo Pijper was also in solid form, gating very well, and there were enough points throughout the home side to ensure a reasonably comfortable win.
For the Bandits, Kevin Doolan and David Howe both won two races, guest Aaron Summers won one and reserve Jye Etheridge also took the chequered flag, in heat 2. Jye was quite lively, also taking 4 through a tactical ride in heat 12 after he had crashed spectacularly three races earlier, lifting and piling into the fourth bend fence. Max Clegg was quite fortunate to avoid being caught up in this.
Heat 1 was an interesting race, Theo Pijper gating before Rory Schlein moved ahead, leaving Theo to deal with a strong challenge from Aaron Summers, which he did in his familiar relaxed style. That was definitely the start the team was looking for.
Further 4-2 advantages in heats 4 and 6 gave Monarchs a cushion. In the latter heat Theo Pijper had held second but a slight mistake saw Kevin Doolan slip past him. The remainder of the opening ten heats were shared which meant that Berwick could not use a TR until Monarchs took a 4-2 in heat 11.
Erik Riss throughout looked completely dominant, either making the start, dominating the first corner or in the one heat it was required of him, coming from the back. This was required in heat 6 when even the German star could not get off the unproductive gate 1.
Monarchs conceded a 5-3 in heat 12 to the TR, but clinched victory in heat 13 when Erik Riss easily took his fourth victory, and Rory Schlein passed Kevin Doolan for third. Unfortunately Doolan completely misjudged his attempt to repass on the final turn, ramming Rory's back wheel and bringing him down awkwardly. Fortunately no serious damage was done.
Monarchs finally recorded their second 5-1 in heat 14 through Max Clegg and Josh Pickering. Both had been gating poorly, as had Mitchell Davey, but with Howe on gate 1 they were able to take advantage and hit the first turn in front. Once Clegg is away, that's that, but for Josh Pickering it was an encouraging ride as he held off Howe for the paid win.
And so to heat 15. Having missed his maximum last time through a fall, Erik was out early preparing his gate on the outside. The other riders eventually appeared but when the plaintive cry of "Less than thirty seconds!" went up, it was Erik who was still back from the tapes messing about. The red lights came on and Erik was put back 15 metres, which he may not have agreed with but which seemed to me a justified decision.
It certainly made a better race as Erik came storming up, rounded Howe, moved into second and started eating up the ground to race leader Doolan. He just ran out of time to catch him, and that elusive maximum will have to wait at least another week (he did get one on Berwick's last visit!)
Team Manager: Alex Harkess
|1. Rory Schlein||3||3||2||1||9||0|
|2. Theo Pijper||2*||1||3||1*||1*||8||3|
|3. Justin Sedgmen||1*||2||2||3||8||1|
|4. Max Clegg||2||1*||1*||3||7||2|
|5. Erik Riss||3||3||3||3||2||14||0|
|6. Josh Pickering||2||0||1||2*||5||1|
|7. Mitchell Davey||1*||1||0||0||2||1|
Team Manager: Gary Flint
|1. Aaron Summers||1||3||2||2||8||0|
|2. Joe Jacobs||0||0||1*||1||1|
|3. Daniel Gappmaier||0||2||0||1*||3||1|
|4. David Howe||3||1*||3||1||0||8||1|
|5. Kevin Doolan||2||2||3||X||3||10||0|
|6. Jye Etheridge||3||0||2||X||F||4||9||0|
|7. Rob Shuttleworth||0||0|
It’s top against bottom this week as the Parsons Peebles Monarchs welcome the Berwick Bandits back to Armadale in SGB Championship action.
The Bandits are having a woeful season on track and have only managed to gather 10 points from their 21 league matches so far with only 1 of these coming away from their home Shielfield Park. This is not fair reward for the work the new promotion have put in down in the Borders with a better prepared race track and real enthusiasm about the place it is a shame that their season has went as it has so far.
It has to be said though that the main reason for the Bandits plight is no doubt down to the dreaded injuries that can seem to blight a team’s season from time to time. That has certainly been the case this season as only Kevin Doolan and Daniel Gappmaier remain from the named 1-7 at the start of the season and Gappmaier has had a spell on the sidelines this season as well.
Berwick will not have given this season up yet and they will be looking to restore some pride over the remainder of their season starting this Friday at Armadale.
After a few weeks respite it appears its back to a guest at number 1 for a visiting team to Armadale. In this instance it cannot be helped though as an accumulation of knocks has led to Nick Morris having to sit out. This is a great shame for the Armadale faithful as Morris is undoubtedly one of the most skilled visitors to our shale and as he takes the form of a pantomime villain some friendly booing is always enjoyable as well. A familiar foe this year replaces Morris in Glasgow skipper Aaron Summers remarkably this is Aaron’s 5th appearance at Armadale already this season and as always he will be a tough man to beat.
Recent signing Joe Jacobs slots in at number 2. Jacobs will feel rather aggrieved to have had to wait this long for his chance this year after a strong season last year at Ipswich and Belle Vue in the then Elite League Jacobs was looking to take the next steps in his career. The former Glasgow man was to be a victim of his own success though as the reduction in points limit saw him miss out altogether. The recent injury to Lewis Bridger which is yet to be fully diagnosed meant a team space came up at Berwick and Jacobs will be looking to shine and show what everyone has been missing so far.
One of the rare bright spots in the Bandits season has been the progression of Austrian Daniel Gappmaier (I’m sure he was Dany the last time the Bandits visited) Gappmaier has made good on his season starting reserve berth and is currently averaging over a point and a half above his starting figure. Perhaps more suited to the faster wider tracks Gappmaier has shown his potential on the smaller circuits as well though and was a heat winner in a guest appearance for the Monarchs earlier in the season.
There cannot be a much more experienced duo in British speedway than the next pair of riders in the Bandits septet starting at number 4 with David Howe. Howe appeared to be lost to the sport having had a succession of seasons being spoiled by injury a life as a long distance lorry driver seemed preferable to the likeable Leicester born racer. However a succession of run outs in testimonials and individuals persuaded the former British under 21 champ that at 35 he was not done yet and his return has been a success with an average of just shy of 7 a tremendous achievement after his time out. Howe certainly has Armadale pedigree as well, that under 21 win came at the Dale in 2000 and he also took victory in the Scottish Open back in 2005.
Next after Howe in the line-up is the one man who can claim to have as much experience if not even more so it’s Kevin Doolan. Doolan was the recent recipient of a well deserved and well represented testimonial and there cannot be many more popular and universally respected riders than the former Kings Lynn man. Remarkably Doolan has now been riding on these shores since 1999 but he can still mix it with the best of them. An exciting and skilful rider he also has a few tricks up his sleeve when he visits Armadale and no one will be taken him for granted this week either. The Victoria born man was the top scorer for the Bandits back in April when they last visited the Dale and few would be surprised if he repeated that feat this week.
Moving to reserve and the senior berth is filled by a former Monarch in Jye Etheridge. Etheridge is starting to show the form that convinced the Monarchs to bring him to these shores at the beginning of last season. That move did not exactly work out for either party but there are no hard feelings and Jye is a common face in the pits helping out one Monarch or another when commitments allow. The young Aussie will be making his return after a heavy knock the other week and he will be looking to bounce straight back into his pre injury form which seen him record double digit returns on more than one occasion.
A second guest in the Bandits line-up bookends the team as Lee Payne is forced to miss out due to injury and in his place comes Workington’s Rob Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth is making a name for himself at Championship level this year and has been a steady performer at the tail of the Comet’s line-up. He was due at Armadale last week for the Caledonian Riders Championship and will be hoping for better weather this week (as we all are).
So that’s our visitors but they are not the only ones forced into changes this week as the World Cup takes its toll on our line-up. Both Sam and Ricky will be in Leszno representing Australia and the USA respectively in the run off looking to help their team to a world cup final place on Saturday. Due to the rules governing the world cup we are entitled to guests for both and what a pair of guests we have picked. How does a pair of former league winning Monarchs returning to the Blue and Gold for the night sound? That’s exactly what we have as current Ipswich duo Rory Schlein and Justin Sedgmen step in. Of course it is never ideal when you are filling your team with guests but I don’t think there are many who will be unhappy with the chance to see either back in the Monarchs fold even if it is just for the night.
With this in mind and due to his excellent recent form a small reshuffle has also taken place with Erik moving to number 5 and being given the captaincy for the evening. The form that our young German has been in recently none of this should faze him and we will look for him to lead from the front this week.
So after a 2 week gap it’s back to action for the Parsons Peebles Monarchs and while on paper we should be favourites to secure all 3 points with the Bandits having riders with the track craft and guile of the likes of Summers, Doolan and Howe another exciting night is in store. As always there is only one place to see it and that’s trackside! Unfortunately once again this week due to work commitments it is a ‘wish I was there’ rather than ‘see you there’ from me but rest assured my eyes will be on the updates at all times cheering on our boys on as they look to get back to a 4 point gap at the top of the SGB Championship.
Friday 7th July 2017, 9:13pm
Parsons Peebles Monarchs deafeated Berwick by 53 to 39 at Armadale on Friday night. Erik Riss scored 14 and Kevin Doolan 10 for the visitors.
Wednesday 5th July 2017, 12:00pm
After a 2 week break its back to SGB Championship action for the Parsons Peebles Monarchs as they welcome the Berwick Bandits to Armadale this Friday