It was a bit of a ‘Summer Holiday’ feel at Armadale last night. The sun shone brightly and the sky was blue-except for Glasgow Tigers, who despite recent changes to their team are riding under a black cloud and seemingly ill equipped for the rigours of life in the Premier speedway League.
Despite making Monarchs work hard for their 48-42 win at Ashfield on Sunday, the Tigers succumbed mighty easily this time as Monarchs ran out easy 62-30 winners in a match which was certainly no classic.
Monarchs grabbed all three points in a canter and while some may gloat at the wide margin of their success, for Scottish speedway to thrive then both Monarchs and Tigers need to be strong and competitive if they are to stop southern sides plundering the major silverware.
For Monarchs Hungarian star Jozsef Tabaka the meeting was a personal triumph as he waltzed his way to a 15-point maximum. Tabaka was pretty steady throughout, and said minutes after taking the chequered flag in heat 15: “I felt so good, the track was in excellent condition and the while team rode pretty well. I managed not to do anything silly in any of my races, and was delighted with how I rode.”
As the scoreline suggests this was one of Monarchs more relaxing home wins in the wake of recent last race deciders. The Tigers top duo of Joe Screen and James Grieves simply did not look interested at timesand never really posed anty serious threat to the Monarchs heat leaders.
With a healthy lead of 31-19 at the halfway mark, Glasgow were struggling to keep the fixture reasonably close. And it was only thanks to Henning Bager, who top scored with ten points, that a whitewash was avoided. With Screen and Grieves amassing just nine points between them, it was left to lesser members of their squad to plough on regardless, and this they did to a slight extent.
Tigers co-boss Alan Dick said: “This was another disappointing performance from us round Armadale. We have failed to pick up any points awy from home so far this season, and it’s getting very difficult for us.”
Asked if further changes could be imminent, Dick replied: “We are always looking around for new riders, but unfortunately they are thin on the ground, so for the moment we must go with the side we have got.”
Monarchs No.1 Craig Cook took a rare fall in the first heat, but aside from that setback the Cumbrian was unbeaten in his other four rides. “I just ran out of track a little in that heat,” he said,” But I was pleased to recover for the rest of the meeting and it was an awesome result for the whole team.”
Claus Vissing scored eight, but the Dane continues to get himself out of the position on the boards in certain races, as he did in heat seven when he and Max Fricke were on a 5-1.
Vissing explained: “Sometimes it’s my racer’s head and I don’t always think on occasions. I know I shouldn’t be going round the outside all the time, but I just seem to drift out there.
“But at least everyone in the team had a good night and to win the meeting so comfortably was pleasing for a change.”
Teammate Max Fricke was as always in the thick of the action and his ten point haul from five starts delighted him. “I rode pretty well,” he said. “The track was really good which allowed good opportunities to pass, to get another double figure score was really good.” His tail-end partner Mitchell Davey who returned from injury last weekend, didn’t fare particularly well despite picking up second place behind Fricke in the second heat.
Said Davey: “I think it’s just a confidence thing with me at the moment. I got myself into some reasonable positions but lost ground whicjh I couldn’t regain. My wrist is still not fully 100 per cent right, but I’m getting there, and it’s getting stronger as each day passes.”
Tigers gave Screen a tactical ride as early as heat five to try and stem the Monarchs points tide, but he was shot down by Theo Pijper and Tabaka which proved to be a big setback after Tigers took the gamble of putting Screen out for double points, only to see him having to settle for a third place behind his Monarchs tormentors.
Bager was then handed a tactical outiing two races later, but failed to beat Fricke. Pijper, who has been carrying a rib injury for a couple of weeks now, looked a bit frail at the start of the match, but the Dutchman managed to win his last race with some grit and determination to hoist his points tally to eight.
“I didn’t feel that good to begin with,” said Pijper. “But I got my act together later on and to beat Bager who was riding pretty well, was a good scalp for me to take.
“Full credit must go to our whole team for pulling off such a big win.”
So Monarchs continue to push hard for their spot in the end-of-season play-offs, but face what could a tight struggle at Rye House Rockets tonight, although the Capital outfit do have a decent record down there.
Monarchs: Tabaka 15, Cook 11, Fricke 10, Sneddon 8, Pijper 8, Vissing 8, Davey 2.
Glasgow: Bager 10, Raun 6, Grieves 5, Screen 4, Compton 2, Jacobs 2, Ringwood 1.