Speedway: Monarchs ignite dreams by thrashing joint leaders
After steamrolling their way to an incredible 64-29 speedway win over joint leaders Newcastle Diamonds at Armadale on Saturday, Edinburgh Monarchs No. 1 Craig Cook today declared: “I think we can go on and win the Premier League crown now.”
After picking up a total of 11 points last week, Monarchs are now in seventh spot in the league and just one place shy of the play-off zone with matches in hand over their rivals, most of whom will have done a double take at the margin of their triumph against a Newcastle side who saw their run of securing a point from all their away matches so far come to a shuddering halt.
Monarchs, like Mo Farah, are beginning to pace themselves beautifully to pull off a sprint finish in the battle for glory, and few, if any, of their other challengers, will fancy a trip to Armadale now. And in what was almost a carbon copy of their success against Somerset Rebels on Friday, it was impossible to keep Cook and reserve ace Joszef Tabaka out of the headlines – which in no way lessens the contribution of their team-mates whose solid scoring efforts have restored the Lothian Arena to a fortress once again.
Tabaka raced to an impressive 12-point maximum and the Hungarian star has surely sealed his place in the team until the end of the season, any decision other than to extend his contract which runs out on Sunday would be madness if Monarchs are serious about winning a fourth title.
Tabaka was simply brilliant and his breathtaking victory in heat 7 when he reeled in Diamonds duo Mark Lemon and Christian Henry will not be erased from the memory banks any time soon, and was easily the pick of his four race victories.
“It was a very close race,” said Tabaka,” But the Newcastle riders were very fair and did not try to push me off course, I found the perfect racing line to beat them. I was very happy to score a maximum, I was on a new engine and it was perfect for me, everything was good.”
For Cook it was just another day at the office as he posted his third 15-point full house in as many days and never looked in danger of being headed by any of his Newcastle rivals.
Cook said: “I don’t really know why this is happening, it’s down to hard work and getting everything right. I have struggled getting out of the starts at Armadale, but now I’m getting my bike into the first corner ahead of everyone else.”
Casting his own personal achievements to one side, Cook said Monarchs’ have been transformed by the introduction of Tabaka at reserve.
“Jozsef is absolutely awesome and you cannot ask for anything more, and Marcel (Helfer) is also coming on in leaps and bounds, he just needs to sort out his gating.
“If we carry on with this form, we can win the league. Nobody will want to come to Armadale after this result, because we didn’t just beat Newcastle, we annihilated them, and they are the best team in the league, but we cannot get too cocksure, however we are pretty strong at home now.”
Newcastle can thank Stuart Robson for saving some of their blushes, his 13-point was a beacon amid the gloom of some despairing scoring from his team-mates. The Tynesiders won just two heat advantages and team manager George English admitted: “The victory for Monarchs was not unexpected but the margin of their win was. I think we were in the wrong place at the wrong time and it was probably the worst performance I’ve seen from a Newcastle team at Armadale, it was very disappointing.”
English added: “I don’t think any other team will win at Armadale, but we must move on, and we will.”
Despite the one sided nature of the contest, some of the racing was pretty keen and Andrew Tully’s battles against Robson in the 11th and 13th heats were tasty exchanges.
And although Theo Pijper also scored 12 points, the Dutchman’s total was from five rides, denying him any maximum.
Some people doubted co-promoter John Campbell’s assertion that Monarchs would prove themselves at a time it matters most. Start believing must be the message now as the Capital outfit set their sights on gold in a championship race which now looks very interesting indeed.
Monarchs: Cook 15, Tabaka 12, Pijper 12, Wethers 7, Sneddon 7, Tully 7, Helfer 4.
Newcastle:Robson 13, Henry 5, Campton 3, Nedermark 3, Lindgren 3, Lemon 2, Starke 0.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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