PLYMOUTH Devils have made something of a hellish start to their 2013 speedway campaign. They have won just one of their six competitive matches so far, but they make the long trek north to face Edinburgh Monarchs at Armadale tonight with an extremely good looking team on paper – one which Monarchs will not take lightly.
Devils team manager Lee Trigger hasn’t given anyone the bullet yet and admits his side have been in spluttering mode so far, but insisted: “It’s very early days and I firmly believe once our guys gel together, we will make the end of season play-offs. However, Edinburgh are very strong at home and don’t drop many points.”
Monarchs made one change to their line-up this week when they jettisoned German reserve Marcel Helfer and replaced him with former Glasgow Tigers rider Mitchell Davey. The 23-year-old is in the process of re-booting his UK career after spending 2012 back home in Australia to rebuild his confidence, which was dented in the wake of two bad crashes at Glasgow and then Berwick, the team he joined in 2011.
Davey, right, said: “It was a deliberate decision not to ride in Britain last season. I broke my collarbone at Glasgow, but returned to the saddle before the doctors told me to and things didn’t go too well for me as a consequence.
“I joined Berwick for half a year two seasons ago, but also had a serious accident with them when I went over the third bend fence and fractured a vertebrae. I was on a real downer after that, my confidence was pretty low.” “But staying home in Australia simply refuelled my hunger for speedway. I managed to practise on quite a few small tracks over the summer, and that’s where I had struggled in the years previously.
“I always had better results on bigger type circuits, but working out my style and finding racing lines on small tracks last year has been good for me and I want to now build on that with Edinburgh.”
But even although Armadale is considered a tight track, Davey doesn’t think he is jumping in at the deep end. “Armadale is considered something of a tricky circuit but once you get the hang of it – it becomes quite easy and it’s then down to you as to how you attack it.
“When I rode for Glasgow I think I won just one race at Armadale, so I know I can do it. I have been racing in the second half at Armadale this year and I feel I’m getting better and better.”
Occupying one of the reserve berths is not the easiest mantle to carry in any team, but Davey is not fazed by the challenge he faces. “I try not to think about what is expected of me, I just go out and try to do my very best. If it doesn’t happen it’s disappointing, but you have to make sure it doesn’t eat away at you and just concentrate on the next race.”
Davey isn’t stepping into the Monarchs team completely cold, having spent the last month racing for Redcar Bears as injury cover for crocked former Monarch Max Dilger.
“My spell at Redcar has helped me a lot,” added Davey. “It helped me build up my speed and also my confidence. The Premier League is a very competitive division and it’s harder to make an impact than it once used to be.
“I’m looking forward to tonight, I know what I’m capable of and if I achieve my personal goals I’ll be very happy. I would like to increase my average, but it’s also important to have minimal last places because every point counts towards the team winning.”
The main threat to Monarchs’ heat leaders could well come from Plymouth racer Ty Proctor, who dropped just two points for Plymouth in their recent KO Cup clashes against Newcastle Diamonds. He is certainly on a hot streak right now.