Report: Scunthorpe Scorpions secure record-breaking victory at Edinburgh
Scunthorpe Scorpions recorded their largest-ever away league victory in 29 seasons of action in the second tier of British Speedway at Edinburgh Monarchs.
The Scorpions’ 54-36 demolition of the Scottish side at the Armadale Stadium surpassed their previous record for away victories in the Cab Direct Championship, which were 16-point wins (53-37) at Sheffield in 2018 and Glasgow in 2019.
Edinburgh were missing both of their top two – Josh Pickering and Craig Cook – through injury, but Monarchs had highly capable guests in the shape of Richie Worrall and Leon Flint, while Paco Castagna was on World Championship duty and covered by rider replacement. Scorpions were at full strength.
Despite the final scoreline, it was Monarchs that took the lead with a 5-1 in Heat 1, but Connor Mountain and Nathan Ablitt immediately levelled the scores with a 5-1 in Heat 2. Scorpions took the lead with a further maximum in Heat 4, this time from Michael Palm Toft and Mountain, with the latter winning a battle for second place with Flint.
Scorpions’ No 1 Ryan Douglas had finished a surprise last in Heat 1, but he bounced back with a classy victory in Heat 5, while Simon Lambert grabbed third place after a ding-dong battle with Kye Thomson.
Lambert – riding the outside line with some style – had taken the decisive advantage when Thomson cannoned into him on the final bend. Both came off, with Thomson excluded and left nursing a sore wrist for the rest of the evening.
Monarchs threw Worrall into Heat 7 as a tactical substitute, but it was Jake Allen that took the lead, while Worrall lost second place with an engine failure, as Scorpions extended their lead to eight points with a 4-2.
Edinburgh were not quite finished as they took successive 4-2s, including when Worrall pinched first place from Allen on the line in a photo finish in Heat 10.
Scorpions led 32-28, and then produced a grandstand finish, with five successive heat advantages, starting with a tapes-to-flag 5-1 from Lambert and Douglas in Heat 11.
Mountain had been riding like a man possessed and he won Heat 12 after a determined effort on the opening lap, with Ablitt taking third to finish his night on a hugely morale-boosting 4+2.
Scorpions clinched victory in Heat 13 after Douglas won an early battle with Worrall, while Palm Toft pinched third on the line from Flint. Mountain pushed inside Lasse Fredriksen in Heat 14 to join Allen for a 5-1, with both Scorpions in top form and dropping just one point apiece during the evening.
In the concluding Heat 15, Douglas again won a contest for first place with Worrall, while Lambert repassed Fredriksen in the battle for third, as Scorpions closed out with a 4-2 to set the new record.
Speaking post-meeting, Scunthorpe team manager Dave Peet said: “It was a fantastic performance from the lads tonight. I told them on the track walk that I was fed up saying to them ‘good effort, lads’ to them after losing close away meetings in the league, and it was time we finally got one over the line.
“With no disrespect to any of their riders, but Edinburgh were not at full strength tonight, and we had to take advantage and we did. You can only beat what’s put in front of you, but we did it in style and I think we rode well enough that we’d have beaten their usual seven riders tonight.
“Even when we conceded the 5-1 in Heat 1, I wasn’t too concerned, because you could see from the track walk that gates 1 and 3 were going to be the strongest early on. I was so pleased that Nathan Ablitt had a good night – he was more aggressive in the first turns. He’s been close to scoring good points for us and tonight he did it, and he can take a lot of confidence from that.
“Connor Mountain is only riding for us at the moment, which means he hasn’t had loads of meetings this season, but he’s getting sharper with each meeting. I offered him Heat 15 tonight because he had an outstanding meeting, but he wanted to finish his evening on a high.
“The confidence is returning to Jake Allen by the meeting this year. He was excellent tonight, and only beaten in one race right on the line. He produced a fabulous ride in Heat 7 when the tactical substitute was used against him. He had Richie Worrall beaten in that race, even before Worrall had an engine failure.
“Michael Palm Toft also had a good night and looked back up to speed, now he’s sorted out his machinery problems. Simon Lambert absolutely rode his socks off. He scored well enough, but he deserved even more points. He was riding the outside line so well.
“As for Ryan Douglas, he had a blip in Heat 1, but then Dougie was just Dougie and he showed Worrall the quickest way around here in Heat 13 and Heat 15. It was great to take our first points in the Cab Direct Championship, while we’re also in a nice position to take the bonus points off Plymouth, Berwick and Poole.
“Tonight’s performance is a great boost to the riders, the supporters and the whole club, and the perfect result heading into our opening home league match against Redcar at the Eddie Wright Raceway next Friday – we head into that on a real high.”
Report by Rob Peasley, photo by Ian Rispin
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