Speedway fans return to terraces as Edinburgh Monarchs return to the track - Liam Rudden
As any Edinburgh Monarchs' fan will tell you, sunny weather is often 'Friday averse' during the speedway season.
Take last week; after a glorious end to the lockdown period, followed predictably by a rainy few days just as pubs reopened their outdoor areas, the weather settled a bit allowing Edinburgh Speedway to run the first two meetings of the year - both National Development League matches which saw the Armadale Devils make their track return after a break of 15 years.
Then came last week and the first chance to see the 2021 'What The Fork' Monarchs in action, albeit in an inter-league Club friendly with riders from senior an junior teams shared out to form Sam's Monarchs and Richie's Devils - Sam being the senior team's No 1 Sam Masters, Richie being Richie Worrall, another Edinburgh star attraction. However, with rain coming down all day Thursday, by lunchtime Friday it was just a matter of time before the 'rain off' message dropped.
The Saturday was no better. Just as team, management and travelling fans completed a 305 mile trip to Leicester where the Monarchs were due to kick off their league campaign, an announcement came over the Tannoy, the match was off, again defeated by the rain. Must have been gutting, a long journey home beckoned for them all.
The positive to be taken from all this is that the 2021 Monarchs track debut reverted to last night's home clash with Redcar. There is always a real buzz when a new team make their debut on their home shale and if you want to know how that went, read Neil McGlade's match report on the sports pages.
The first two Devils’ matches saw John McGillivray and myself back in The Tower overlooking the Armadale track, hosting the action for viewers watching the Club’s global streaming service. For Development League matches, which give young riders the opportunity to learn their track craft, the quality of racing displayed in both was far higher than I’d expected with respectable heat times.
One Devil already providing constant excitement with some outrageous passing and the odd tumble is George Rothery, a real crowd-pleaser, while the 'Stellar' Devils Captain, Nathan Greaves is also pulling in the points, great news as he also features in the senior team.
The other welcome news is that for the first time since 2019, fans are allowed back in the stadium. Having presented a couple of 'behind-closed-doors' matches in 2020 as well as the two in the last few weeks, I know John will agree when I say there's something very strange about having silent terraces.
Consequently, it’s safe to say that we are looking forward to being back on the big screen in the stadium, greeting the crowds as they return to normal levels in the coming weeks and to seeing the sun return as Summer arrives – nothing beats the excitement of a tightly fought speedway match played out before home and away supporters as the sun beats down on Armadale where the sunsets are spectacular.
And if you are still unsure about venturing out into crowds, never fear, Edinburgh Speedway now stream every match with live commentary, so whatever way you choose to enjoy your speedway, an exciting season lies ahead.
See you from The Tower.