Speedway: Morris the prince aiming to become a king at Monarchs

EDINBURGH MONARCHS' decision to re-sign teenager Ashley Morris for their 2011 campaign underlines the widely held belief that the 16-year-old speedway rookie is loaded with potential which Monarchs fans glimpsed on occasions during his three month spell at reserve at Armadale last season.

Morris, a former British Under-21 champion, decided to stick with Monarchs after they gave him his first break at Premier League level in 2010.

He said: "Monarchs gave me a good opportunity in the Premier League when no other club came forward.

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"So as soon as they asked me back I said yes straight away."

Morris will continue to also race for Dudley Heathens and this dual role offers up certain benefits.

"Even when I had a poor meeting for Monarchs", said Morris, "I was able to go back and turn out for Dudley and this helped rebuild my confidence.

"And racing in the National League allowed me to iron out some of my other weaknesses."

Morris acknowledges that his starting technique is one area that needs polishing but he will be working hard to gain a degree of improvement on this, especially as reserve riders' could hold the key to a club's fortunes in the championship race.

He says: "Last season I felt once I got out of the gate and into the first bend I had the speed, but at Premier League level you cannot give your opponents the starts I gave them and expect to win races.

"My reactions at the starting tapes are good enough, it's how you work the bike into that important first corner which counts and that depends on how much throttle you have."

Morris added: "Monarchs placed no pressure on me when I joined them, but they will expect me to buckle down next season and I must start scoring consistently at least.

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"I want to build on the experience I've had so far because I want to have a big career in speedway and it's good for me already to be riding in the Premier League at my age."

There is no doubt that Morris is ambitious and he has already acquired some new machinery for 2011. "I've sold all my equipment from last season even although I felt it was good enough. But I wanted some better stuff and I have been able to buy new gear from an Elite League rider."

Top flight side Wolverhampton Wolves own Morris and it was on the advice of their promoter Chris Van Straaten that Monarchs took the risk of giving the youngster a run-out.

Said Morris: "Monarchs watched me a couple of times before agreeing to sign me up and hopefully when I get to a good enough standard in the Premier League, I would like to start guesting for Wolves as they are my local team.

"But that depends on how I do for Monarchs. When I knew I would be riding at Premier level I went in not really expecting anything. I worked out a few things for myself and learned a lot and I want to take this with me into next season.

"Before I linked up with Monarchs I had made a slow start to the season and lost a lot of my confidence. I regained my confidence and I'll be better prepared for my 2011 programme.

"Myself and my mechanics have goals and one of them is for me to be pushing for a top five spot in the Monarchs team by the end of next year.

"But the Premier League is a very competitive division, a lot of the riders' show you an elbow or give you a nudge going in to the first bend.

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"They certainly have more aggression than their National League counterparts."

Morris thinks 2011 will be a big year for him and confessed many people are expecting him to be a dominating performer in the National League at least.

He said: "Even though I'll be racing in two different leagues you just have to keep the same mindset. I know how I can ride and as long as I do that there is no reason why I cannot score points for Monarchs and Dudley.

"I'm aware there are big expectations on my shoulders for the National League and I just hope I live up to them.

"With regards to Monarchs, I'm looking forward to going back because I was accepted into their team a lot more easily than I expected.

"The atmosphere in the pits was great and if I had any problems, or needed help with my bike, one of the guys would always give me a hand."

Monarchs boss Alex Harkess commented: "Ashley was always in our plans for next season and we are delighted to have him back on board again.

"He is a lovely lad, I'm sure he will improve and do a good job for us."