Familiar faces are back at Monarchs
Erik, Mark, Ricky and Josh return to capital
The Edinburgh Monarchs announced their first signings of the 2018 season – and it’s four familiar faces.
German brothers Erik and Mark Riss have put pen to paper for next season and they will be joined by Ricky Wells and Josh Pickering.
All four riders were part of the roster last season.
All four returnees were announced in front of an excited fan base at the club’s video night last week.
Aussie Pickering took a while to get going for the club last term but improved throughout the season and showed enough potential to earn a new deal.
And the youngster admits he’s challenging himself to get better in year two at the Armadale Stadium.
He said: “It’s a massive learning curve but I have learnt a lot about speedway and also myself. I’m aiming to get out of the gate better next season.
“I know this is an important part of racing because it is not always the quickest rider who wins.
“I did have a few offers from other teams but I always wanted to come back to Edinburgh because I felt very welcome there and part of a team.
“We were treated with respect and my partner Brooke felt the same way.”
He added: “Although the chance to double up hasn’t come my way yet I’d grab it with both hands if it did.”
Pickering has been in action in his native Australia over the winter and claimed an impressive second place in the New South Wales Championship at the weekend.
He finished behind fellow SGB Championship rider Rohan Tungate but pipped Jack Holder to the silver medal position.
Veteran American rider Wells admitted he also jumped at the chance to return to West Lothian and is targeting the number one spot that has been vacated by Masters.
He said: “Last season was good. A great season for the club. We reached the semi- finals of the Play-Offs and just lost by a couple of points. Overall I was very happy last year and I haven’t been at a better Championship club.”
He added: “I didn’t really want to go anywhere else if I’m honest. It’s great to be back and to be fixed up for the first week in December is great as well because it will help me get organised.
“I hadn’t actually realised I’d put a point on my average and I see no reason why I can’t do that again next season. I want to ride at number one but whoever fills the other six spots in the team should also be looking and say they want to be number one.
“It’s good to have that rivalry in the team and we had a bit of that last year with me and Sam.
“I’m looking forward to it. The main goal is to maintain or increase my average and do a true number one’s job.”
Erik , the younger of the Riss brothers, has been a pleasant surprise for the Monarchs and will be returning for a fourth season, having had roots in long track before making the move to speedway prior to the 2015 season.
Mark, who is a year older, has taken to British speedway and is set for his second full season with the Armadale-based club having originally joined in June 2016.
With three roster spots still to fill, the Monarchs are actively pursuing targets.
I always wanted to come back to Edinburgh because I felt very welcome and part of the team
Returning Ricky Wells is back for the Monarchs