Edinburgh Monarchs overcame an injury blow to Claus Vissing and staged a remarkable second-half fightback to gain a deserved point against defending speedway champions Scunthorpe Scorpions in yesterday’s eventful Premier League encounter at the Eddie Wright Raceway.
The Scorpions edged home 49-45 and were mightily relieved that the Capital side took so long to get going after suffering four fallers, all in scoring positions, in the first six races.
Vissing took a tumble in his first outing and then came to grief in his next ride in heat six. The Danish ace picked up some grip on the fourth bend, causing him to lift before coming down heavily on the track.
He withdrew from the meeting with a shoulder injury, but Monarchs director Mike Hunter said: “It doesn’t appear to be serious and Claus thinks he will be fit to face Glasgow Tigers at Armadale on Friday.”
Vissing’s misfortune certainly knocked Monarchs out of their stride and they trailed their hosts by 17 points after heat ten, but this sparked Monarchs into life over the last five heats as they hit back in amazing style.
Monarchs’ No. 1 rider Craig Cook, who scored 18 points from five unbeaten starts, led the way in heat 11 when he picked up six points after winning a tactical outing and with team-mate Jozsef Tabaka replacing skipper Derek Sneddon, and finishing third, Monarchs gained a precious 7-2 advantage.
Tabaka was in great form at reserve and combined with Theo Pijper for a 5-1 in the next race, with the former finishing off his mini purple patch by extracting another 5-1 with partner Max Fricke in the penultimate race, leaving Monarchs requiring maximum points in the top scorers finale to pull off an overall draw.
However, while Cook took the chequered flag in great style, Theo Pijper was unable to get past Scorpions duo David Howe and Thomas Jorgensen.
Cook was more than satisfied with the final outcome given the circumstances of a very shaky first half display. He said: “To be honest we were a bit unfortunate not to have been eight points up after the first few races, but we had a few mishaps.
“When we went 17 points behind we looked down and out to be truthful, but we pulled it back to get a match point and we can only be happy with that.
“The fallers we had at the start of the meeting screwed us up really, but these things happen in speedway.”
On his own personal display, Cook added: “[I’m] delighted obviously. The track was dusty and slick, but the starting positions had some grip to them, which is unusual for Scunthorpe and I enjoyed myself.
“The team showed how much ability they had to come back after a poor start and things are starting to come together nicely for us.”
The only Monarch who seemed to toil was Sneddon, who will have been greatly disappointed at only scoring a single point.
Scunthorpe: Jorgensen 10, Howe 9, Auty 9, Birks 8, Blackbird 7, Palm-Toft 4, Douglas 2.
Monarchs: Cook 18, Tabaka 12, Pijper 8, Fricke 4, Helfer 2, Sneddon 1, Vissing 0.