Rye House Rockets managed just three race wins as they were comprehensively beaten 52-40 by Edinburgh Monarchs on Saturday night (August 8). The visitors went back to the top of the Premier League table as a result of their victory, with Craig Cook and Justin Sedgmen proving unstoppable, although the hosts did soldier on through adversity with a fighting spirit. This was shown by first by skipper Edward Kennett, who took a heavy tumble in the opening heat, injuring his side as he went under the third bend safety fence at full pelt, and then Luke Bowen, who took a spectacular and horrific tumble in Heat 7. Both riders dusted themselves down and carried on, but Kennett was obviously the worse for wear as he won just one of his next four races, and asked not to be used in the nominated Heat 15.
Anders Mellgren top scored for the Rockets with 11+1, while Kasper Lykke again showed signs that he is getting back to full race fitness with one win and two second places in his nine point tally. Robin Aspegren (six points) and Danny Maasen blew hot and cold, with the German going totally off the boil after his encouraging second place in Heat 2. A 5-1 in Heat 3 from Mellgren and Lykke gave Rockets their only lead of the night, 10-8, and thereafter they were always playing catch up.
Cook was in incredible form for the Monarchs, featuring in the stand out race of the meeting in Heat 5. Exceeding the two minute time allowance, he started the race on a 15 metre handicap, first reeling in Lykke and then Mellgren in spectacular style to finish second behind Sedgmen. Monarchs had their fair share of tape touches, but the hosts were unable to take advantage, with the last throw of the dice coming in Heat 12.
Trailing by 10 points, Mellgren donned the tactical ride colours for double points, but Kevin Wolberg got the better start and led to the chequered flag, with the Rocket coming home second. There was some joy for the home fans in the penultimate heat with a 5-1 from Lykke and Bowen after Robert Branford fell on the last lap, but Monarchs rounded off an excellent night's work for them with a maximum from Sedgmen and Cook in the final race.
Kennett said: "Obviously it's disappointing to lose again at home. I took a bit of a tumble in Heat 1. Me and Cook were battling going into the corner quite fast, and I was on the outside. "The track was a little bit greasy and I lost my leg – there was no contact there it was just one of those things, and I went straight through the fence. "But I caught something on the way through and did a bit of damage to my side of my body so I haven't been feeling that great all night.
"I managed to get as many points as I could but I didn't feel comfortable out there. "I didn't want to let the team down, and I didn't want to let the fans down. "It wasn't nice riding like that [with a painful side] it was difficult going into the corners. It was tough but I just got on with it. "I said to John [Sampford] if he could leave me out of Heat 15 as I'd done all my programmed rides. It was just a shame we lost. "Fair play to Edinburgh they came here and did the job."
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Kennett said: "We've just got to keep plugging away and forget this meeting. "I do believe if we all fire at the same time I think we're unbeatable – I think we proved that last week. I was missing but we had Robert [Lambert] here and he did a fantastic job." Bowen, who was busy repairing his battered bike after the meeting, said of his alarming crash: "I was just trying to get a bit of speed with the wheels spinning and caught a bit of dirt and it just launched me off the bike, I wasn't ready for it. "I never let anything like that affect me. You just get on the bike, I laughed it off - it just hurt my pride. "I was struggling with the track, there wasn't as much dirt on it as last week.
"I was caught out a bit with the set-up [for the bike] but I'm not going to make excuses they are a decent team. We weren't all firing tonight it was just one of those things. "We've just got to get our heads down. The play offs are out of the window but we've still got the cup semi-final and hopefully get into the final - we're all firing for that. "To be out of it for three months I've come back pretty well considering everyone's got a head start on me. "I don't feel too out of sorts. I still managed five points."
Rockets co-promoter Len Silver said: "We were beaten by the better team – it's as simple as that. They showed us tonight why they are top of the league. "They caught us on a bad night and they had a good night."