New signing Webster out to make a point

TIM WEBSTER today described his surprise move to Edinburgh Monarchs speedway outfit as a "big challenge," and quickly added: "But I like challenges."

The Birmingham-born rider makes his senior debut at reserve against Newcastle Diamonds tonight at Armadale in a Premier League fixture which has tricky written all over it.

Webster, 22, who lives in Cornwall and also rides for Stoke Potters in the National League, may have secretly expressed a desire to race for Monarchs, but confessed he was still taken aback when he finally received the call to help bolster the Capital side's ailing reserves berths.

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He said: "I'm very happy but also very surprised that Edinburgh asked me to join them, but I'll always do my best and try 110 per cent.

"Racing in the Premier League is a very big step up for me, but I like a challenge and I've been riding well for Stoke in the National League."

Webster, who has also enjoyed spells at Weymouth Wildcats and Newport Hornets, was sufficiently impressive to persuade Stoke to buy his contract outright from Newport and he says: "That was definitely a good move for me as I get on with everyone so well at Stoke and, so far, I'm enjoying my best season."

Webster is keen to place himself in the shop window admitting: "I'm keen to race in the Premier League on a permanent basis, but to do that you have got to score points and I know it's going to be hard. The gap between the Premier and National League is a big one, but my bikes are good, I have two complete machines and I keep them in top condition and change things regularly on them. I'm keen to show Edinburgh what I'm capable of and that's why I accepted their offer straight away."

Webster's commitment to Monarchs is wholehearted, involving a mammoth trek from his Cornwall home every week for home matches.

"It is a bit of a trail, but I'm also turning out for Stoke every week, but it's something I'm willing to do," he said.

A recent National League Pairs triumph with team-mate Simon Lambert, was evidence enough of Webster's pedigree and he is fully aware of Monarchs' desire to bring some stability and solid scoring to the tail-end positions.

"I don't want to put pressure on myself, equally, I know what I must score to keep my team place," he said.

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Webster added: "All the sides in the Premier League are pretty decent, there are no easy pickings. I wanted to join a team who were willing to give me a chance at senior level, and this is what Edinburgh are doing for me.

"I have never seen the Armadale track before so I'm not sure what to expect, but I'll just go out and try my best."

It could be a lively baptism for Webster as Newcastle, despite some major injury problems this season, remain dangerous opponents and are still regarded as one of Monarchs' bogey teams.

Despite starting off well, the Diamonds were left reeling when their talented Dane Rene Bach broke his leg in April and was ruled out for the whole season.

Aussie ace Mark Lemon is also on the casualty list after breaking his collarbone. He had been expected to return to action this month but caught an infection from the metalwork which was holding his collarbone in place, prompting Diamonds boss George English to say: "I can't believe the luck we are having, we all feel for Mark because he is desperate to get back on his bike." Glasgow Tigers' James Grieves will guest for him.

The Diamonds lost narrowly 47-44 at Ipswich Witches last week despite a hefty 17-point haul from No.??1 Stuart Robson. The Tynesiders snatched Robson from the Elite League on an outrageously low average and their faith in him has been well rewarded.

Monarchs chief John Campbell is keen to stress not to expect miracles from Webster, who is a reputed quick gater. It could prove a priceless attribute given that Monarchs are not renowned for getting out of the traps too quickly.

Campbell said: "Tim may be nervous when he comes out for his first race but I feel sure he can - and will - score points for us."

"I'm keen to show what I'm capable of and that's why I accepted their offer straight away" tim webster