Edinburgh have a history of success at Championship level, but recent seasons have not delivered results that their fans have come to expect. So can 2024 be the year that the Monarchs reign again?
The side assembled for the 2024 season has a very familiar look to it, with 4 riders retained from last year's squad. Both the Monarchs' fans and promotion will have breathed a sigh of relief when Josh Pickering u-turned on his decision to miss Championship racing this year. Pickering is one of the most entertaining riders in British Speedway and gives Edinburgh a strong leader at number 1.
The second rider to return is Kye Thomson. Thomson showed a lot of promise when he first arrived on UK shores, but 2023 saw his progress stagnate and his ability to overcome that this year will be key to the Monarchs' success. Edinburgh's other 2 returnees, Paco Castagna and Lasse Fredriksen, are both very capable riders on their day, but they will need to find a little more consistency to make the Monarchs real contenders for any silverware.
Ex-Monarch Justin Sedgmen returns to the side for 2024 and joins as second heat leader. Sedgmen seems a revived rider over the last 2 seasons and is a solid signing - he has an average away from home of well over 8 points, so returning to a track with a good home advantage should be a good move for both him and the club.
The Monarch's reserve berths are completed by Connor Coles and 16-year-old Max James. Coles showed a liking for the Armadale circuit as a visitor with Berwick in 2023 and proved last year with the Bandits that he can be a valuable performer at this level. James, like many newcomers to the Championship, will need time to find his feet, but he is a promising talent and the 2024 points limit reduction provides the right time for him to step up to this league.
The Monarchs have built a competitive team, but they will need riders such as Thomson, Castagna and Fredriksen to find more consistency in their performances to be real contenders for any silverware in 2024. Making the most of their home track advantage at Armadale will be essential.
MONARCHS LINE UP FOR 2024: