THE head coach of Fife Revolutions has said they were “taught a lesson” in their opening top division cycle speedway match.

But Craig Masson believes that the manner in which his team competed against Astley and Tyldesley last Sunday will provide encouragement that they can challenge some of the sport’s best riders.

The English team, boasting former British and world champions within their ranks, travelled to the ExxonMobil ‘Fastbowl’, located at Queen Anne High School, on Sunday for the first British Cycling North and Scotland Division One match of the season.

It was the first encounter that the Revolutions, formed in 2016, had played at that level and they went down to a 112-67 defeat.

The visitors, who have won Division One previously, won all but two of the 18 heats, with Harry Langdale and John Hutton picking up notable successes for the Revolutions.

Fife were also hit by three late call-offs, which meant a league debut for Callan Cuthbert, who, having only taken up the sport at the beginning of the year, picked up four points from his two rides, which included one second place.

“We were taught a lesson,” Masson said.

“A&T brought up a strong team, including former British and world champions. It was good that they showed us that much respect, and showed us the levels we need to reach to compete at that level.

“You need your best riders available to be able to compete. We had three call-offs but it gives others the opportunity and helps them to progress.

“Even though A&T were faster out of the gate, and won most of the heats, we were not that far behind them.

“More training sessions, and matches at that level, will make us better.”

The first league match of the season came eight days after the Revolutions hosted a prestigious international competition (pictured).

World and British champions were among the cream of riders that offered West Fifers a taste of the sport at its highest level when competitors from England, Wales and Ireland joined their counterparts from Scotland to take part in the ‘Home International’ competition, held at Queen Anne High School.

The custom-built track, which was opened in 2016, for the Fife Revolutions cycle speedway team was the venue for the prestigious event, which was supported by Babcock International and Scottish Cycling.

It had been due to take place in 2020 but was cancelled due to COVID-19, however, the delay didn’t dampen the enthusiasm as around 300 spectators came along throughout the day to watch four races.

Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville opened the event, which Scottish Cycling president, Kathy Gilchrist, also attended and helped present medals, and they watched some high-calibre wheel-to-wheel action.

A total of 10 riders from the Revolutions represented Scotland on the day, which opened with a women’s regional pairs match.

A North and Scotland team, which included Sheffield’s former world champion, Laura Watson, and Astley and Tyldesley’s British under-16 champion, Emily Burgess, took the top honours with 36 points, ahead of South and South Wales (34), Midlands (28), and South and South East (22).

A junior match between Scotland and England was up next, with Fife’s Kayden Davidson top-scoring for the hosts as England claimed a 118-61 victory, before going on to win the veterans’ and senior races.

In the veterans’ category, they finished top with 68, ahead of Wales (41), Ireland (37) and Scotland (33), and in the seniors’, they finished with 67, above Wales (52), Scotland (37) and Ireland (23).

Masson was enthused by the event’s success, which also saw the track record broken three times, with Ben Clark, in the seniors’ match, setting the new standard with a lap of 40.7 seconds.

“To get all the messages afterwards and compliments about what we’d done, how well the event was run and how good the track was, has been amazing for us,” said Craig, who also highlighted the work of referees Bob Prince, Mike Hack and Dave Dart, as well as Graham Kennedy and Gavin Kennedy, who prepared the track for the competition.

“It’s just really pleasing to hear all that. You had riders coming up from as far down as Exeter and Poole to take part in that event, and they’ve all gone away having had a great time, making comments about how welcomed they felt, and how good the racing was, and the track was as well. We’re delighted.

“For us, we had 10 Fife riders representing Scotland across the four matches, that’s phenomenal, and it shows you how much effort we’re putting in to develop our riders that they can then progress onto the international stage.

“It was a success for the club, for speedway north of the border.”

Ms Somerville added: “I was very grateful to be given the opportunity to open the Home International at Dunfermline’s Fastbowl on Saturday.

“It was an honour to open the track back in 2016 and it’s fantastic to see it now recognised as among the best in the UK.

“Everyone involved in pulling this event together deserves a lot of credit and a special well done to all the riders and volunteers. I’m delighted to hear that there’s been such great feedback and hopefully more competitions can be brought to Dunfermline in future.”