Monarchs rue what might have been after Lions loss
Despite a wafer-thin 45-44 Premier League speedway defeat at Leicester Lions yesterday, Edinburgh Monarchs picked up their first away point of the season. They were, however, desperately unlucky not to have won the match, having led by six points after just four heats.
Moreover, it was a cruel slice of misfortune involving German reserve rider Marcel Helfer which cost the Capital speedway side a golden chance of smashing Leicester’s unbeaten home record.
Leicester had fought back to lead 40-38 after heat 13, but in the very next race Monarchs were left deflated. Helfer had stormed into the lead after passing Lions top scorer Jan Graversen, only to recoil in shock when his chain came off.
Instead of clinching a 4-2 advantage, Monarchs lost a 3-2 one instead. This put the home team in front 43-40 and although Monarchs best rider Craig Cook and Theo Pijper grabbed a 4-2 in the last race, it wasn’t enough to prevent their agonising single point reverse.
Helfer said: “I felt so good when I got out in front because the track was not that easy to ride, and to see my chain snap off which cost the team points, was very disappointing and very annoying.”
Cook continues to be an absolute beacon at No. 1. The Englishman bagged 14 points from his five outings and was beaten just once when he was headed by Lions ace Lasse Bjerre in the fifth race.
Monarchs were without Joszef Tabaka, who was racing in Poland, and boy did they miss the experienced Hungarian. His guest replacement James Sarjeant, despite plenty of effort, failed to score.
Tabaka, who won his first race on his return debut for Monarchs on Friday, would have undoubtedly picked up a few points, which would have swung the meeting pendulum in Monarchs favour.
Monarchs director Mike Hunter said: “It was a stinking bit of luck suffered by Marcel and we just do not seem to be getting any breaks at the moment. It was a very undeserved defeat.
“The annoying thing is, as a team, we did not do anything that special which makes it so amazing that Leicester are unbeaten round their own track. We should have lifted all three points, but I suppose one point is a big step forward, which will give the team a lot of confidence for the difficult matches still to come.”
Aside from Cook, partner Derek Sneddon played a good supporting role and picked up seven points from four rides.
Graversen, who took six rides, was Leicester’s undoubted hero, putting some of his more recognised teammates in the shade with a match winning 14-point haul. Kauko Nieminen was next best with nine points.
Surprisingly, former Armadale favourite Magnus Karlsson could only muster three points for the Lions, and on such a day when the Swede was toiling, Monarchs can only reflect on their failure to cash in.
Leicester: Graversen 14, Nieminen 9, Bjerre 7, Makinen 5, Eklof 4, Blackbird 3, Karlsson 3
Monarchs: Cook 14, Pijper 7, Sneddon 7, Wethers 6, Tully 6, Helfer 4, Sarjeant 0
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West