Welcome once again to the Mythman 2017 season preview as we take a look at the movers and shakers in the SGB Championship. Last time out we looked at our very own Bandits side, but this time out its time to head north, taking a look at some of our fiercest and oldest rivals, the Edinburgh Monarchs and the Glasgow Tigers.
Destination Armadale, home of those pesky Monarchs, who in the last couple of seasons may have become less dominant, but you can never ever write them off and 2017 isn't looking like being any different.
Since joining the Monarchs Sam Masters has developed into a top tier rider on the cusp of great things. I must admit that I was a little surprised that he opted to return to this level but it wouldn't be a massive surprise to see him at the top of the averages during the season, given that he is capable of double figures almost everywhere, in any league.
Masters will be backed up ably by American Ricky Wells who makes the switch from Workington. A rider with a proven track record, not just at Armadale but he tends to be a tall scorer everywhere. Not since the days of Peter Carr will there be so many rolling starts in a season with Ricky Wells in the side! All joking aside though he is another rider capable of double figures everywhere which means the Monarchs will always be dangerous at the business end of the meetings.
Australian duo Mitchell Davey and Josh Pickering are the only other newcomers to the Monarchs line up and are arguably a couple of surprise inclusions. The signing of Davey in particular has caused a bit of controversy given that he slots into the number seven spot intended for young British riders. Josh Pickering comes highly rated and recommended but isn't a rider I know much about, however he will have to be given time to settle, especially with the tight confides of Armadale.
German brothers Erik and Mark Riss have both made steady progress since the Edinburgh management brought them in and this should be the season where Erik solidifies himself as a genuine heat leader at this level, and to be fair Mark should probably be pushing all the way for that spot too.
However where I feel the key to the Monarchs potential success lies is with Max Clegg. The current British Under-19 Champion has often been criticised in Monarchs press releases for under par performances and it was frankly a surprise to me that he was recalled. With that being said I do feel that he will need to hit the ground running and silence those critics this year and make the progress he is capable of if the Monarchs are to be up there challenging at the business end of the season.
A short trip up the M8 now and we head to the all singing, all dancing Ashfield Stadium and our good pals, the Glasgow Tigers. It would seem they have been landed with the favourites tag, but I'm just not so sure. Don't get me wrong, they are a good side, but i just feel that they are a little top heavy. Any side with a top three of Richard Lawson, Richie Worrall and Aaron Summers is going to be there or thereabouts near the end of any meeting, but if one of those guys has an off night, thats when the trouble could start.
Those guys wont have a lot of off nights between them, but even the best riders have a bad night every now and then. It would be safe to say that I don't know such an awful lot about Jack Smith, but if he is half as good as his dad, then he will be a hell of a rider. There will be very little pressure on him and he will be given the time he needs to settle which is the way it should be.
Tom Perry showed us plenty of excitement and provided us with some breathtaking entertainment during his brief spell as a Bandit last season and he will start this season as potentially one of the best reserves in the league. Now where the major pressure lies is with young Dan Bewley. Prior to his nasty injury at the back end of last season he was knocking in high scores, and the Glasgow promotion have moved heaven and earth to secure arguably the hottest commodity in British Speedway. He starts in the main body of the side which he will find tougher than i think some peole realise, especially coming back off that injury and still being relatively inexperienced.
While Bewley will be expected to hit the ground running, I feel it's Nike Lunna who really is the key man. The Glasgow management have placed a lot of faith in him and is certainly a tenacious rider, but he has been a little injury prone in recent seasons and he will have to say out of trouble if he is to make further progress in 2017. Should he do that though, there is no reason why he cant be knocking on the door of a heat leader spot near the end of the season. it promises to be another exciting season at Ashfield.
As always if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman then you can always email me Mythman666@hotmail.com. I'm always happy to hear from fellow speedway fans and mull it all over. Next time out I take a look at the Ipswich and Newcastle sides and how I see their seasons panning out. Mystic Mythman if you will!
Until next time...and there will be a next time.
Right I'll hae'tae gan