On Friday 31st March 2017 the Scottish Open Championship returned to the speedway calendar.
The 2017 speedway season at Armadale got off to a highly entertaining start with a very competitive Harrison’s Scottish Open Championship, won by Justin Sedgmen in an exciting final.
As the riders lined up for the final, it must have been very difficult for Monarchs fans to decide who they were cheering for with two current Monarchs and two former Monarchs in the heat, all very popular guys.
Winner Justin Sedgmen, a two-time league winner with the Monarchs, said "It’s awesome to be here and awesome to win here. I actually won the Jack Young Cup at Gillman Speedway in Adelaide during the summer so to add the Jack Young Memorial Trophy as well is pretty cool."
Alex Harkess added "It was a brilliant night. I can’t think that any other club could present an event like that any better. There was so much good racing and then real tension when the riders were lining up for the semi-final and final."
It did seem that Erik Riss, after a great performance, might be the man to take the Trophy, but he was caught first by Sedgmen and also by Ricky Wells. Erik’s wide line was quick but the shorter route proved to be the more profitable one in the final.
The unlucky Riss has probably never ridden better at Armadale, but he had the misfortune to blow two engines during the evening. It means he goes to his first match for Leicester tomorrow without the engines he would like to be using. However he certainly impressed everyone with his determined and skilful riding.
There was so much to enthuse over, and new boy Josh Pickering has already impressed the Armadale support. He won heat 14 but perhaps even more impressively, he should have won the opening race. After a brilliant first corner cutback he was away, leading Pijper, Lawson and Summers and he held a lead of several lengths going into the last lap.
Inexperience on the track caught him out though, and an overslide followed by a tumble when he tried to correct it meant he finished pointless from what was a sensational debut ride. It didn’t stop him pulling a few wheelies and waving to the crowd who are going to enjoy watching him race.
The early heats were all interesting. Erik Riss pulled back several lengths on Ludvig Lindgren to win heat two at the last gasp, Sam Masters dived inside Ricky Wells in a tough move to win heat 3 and Mark Riss was impressive in his heat 4 win.
Trophy holder Masters wasn’t quite at his best though, losing to Lindgren in heat 5 and then coming last in heat 11. He recovered to make the semi.
Erik Riss had another win from the back when he passed Sedgmen in heat 6, and at that point Sedgy didn’t seem to be going particularly well. He certainly picked up his game later on.
Masters and Erik Riss were neck and neck into the third turn in heat 16, but the unbeaten Riss came off and suffered an exclusion, which was the cause of some debate. A tough decision to make.
That meant there were no fewer than 6 riders on 9 going into the final four heats, with Masters a point behind. By winning their last rides, Sedgmen, Schlein and Wells qualified direct for the final on 12, with Masters, Erik Riss, Lawson and Lindgren contesting the semi from which only the winner went through. At the first attempt Lindgren fell, then Riss won the rerun with Sam Masters trying a very wide line and dropping to the rear.
The final seemed to be going Riss’s way, but Sedgmen had other ideas and took a great victory which he happily celebrated, a great start to the season for Justin in his first Armadale meeting since 2015.
We look forward to welcoming Justin back to Armadale to defend his Harrisons Scottish Open title next year.
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