MATCH REPORT: Triple wins for Birmingham

The Birmingham Monarchs got their first league points on the board yesterday afternoon in a windy Perry Hall Park match.

Honours were even after 2 heats and it was first blood to the Birmingham side in heat 3 – a maximum from Johnson/Groves over Jake White and Jack Hibberd. After a race win in the fifth for Matt Smith the meeting started to turn, with 2 maximums and a 6-4 in the next 3 heats to move Birmingham ahead 42-28, after 7 heats. Another 7-3 in the 9th took the match into the interval, Ricki Johnson protecting Carl Winwood saw the Monarchs 54-36 up and in control.

Winwood races away as Gorves battles with East Park's Jamie Whetton

Winwood races away as Groves battles with East Park’s Jamie Whetton. Picture by Paul Devine

As is usual between the two sides, who finished first and second in the League last year, the racing is always likely to be forceful and tactical. Both teams trying to assist their team partners to gain an advantage, which enabled some racing that was right out the top drawer with passing galore.

East park took issue with some of the referring decisions on the day, which held up proceedings on a couple of occasions, as some of the racing was all out action and a couple of decisions needed disputing.

One hot point came in the 11th heat when Chris Timms of Birmingham and Jack Hibberd of East Park were involved in an after race altercation which saw both yellow carded for disorderly conduct.

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Hibberd (green helmet) and Timms (white helmet) clashed off the track. Picture by Paul Devine.


The Monarchs had hit the 100 point mark before the last race, which still ended with some controversy. Both Monarch Riders (Winwood and Groves) fell outside of Hibberd on the first lap, third bend and felt aggrieved ending with Groves being lapped.

For The Monarchs Matt Smith and Ricki Johnson impressed on their home debut with paid maximums, whilst 15 year Ewan Hancox featured in some thrilling passing to secure an 11 point haul. Zak White impressed for the Wolves as he top scored with 13 points.

Matt Smith 19+1(5), Andy James 6+1(4), Chris Timms 13+2(4), Ewan Hancox 11(5), Ricki Johnson 19+1(5), Nathan Groves 8+1(5), Carl Winwood 9(3), Mark Winwood 17+1(5).
Zak White 13+1(5), Jamie Ball 10+2(5), David Ball 10+1(5), Jamie Whetton 10+3(5), Jack Hibberd 9+1(5), Jake White 11(5), Will Cartwright 8(3), Sam Bishop 6(3).

The 2nd Division clash proved to be a much tighter affair than first thought. The Wolves had 5 of their 1st team taking part! That meant that the visitors needed a comfortable win on the day as they were giving away 25 penalty points for the 1st team riders.

The Monarchs led from heat one with a Bob Prince/Ieuan Payne 6-4, but it was the last time their noses were in front. A Cartwright/J White maximum next time out put East Park ahead 9-11.

Whilst the Wolves threatened to pull away in stages some inspired racing from Phil Widdas and Natalie Timms showed the fighting spirit in the home camp. Another young man to make his team debut for the Monarchs was 14 year old Newport youngster Ieuan Payne, who impressed on his way to top score with 14 points

Bob Prince 13+1(4), Ieuan Payne 14+1(5), Steve Hodgkinson 11+3(5), Emily Pitt 7(4), Phil Widdas 9(4), Natalie Timms 7(4)
Jamie Whetton 15(4), Sam Bishop 6(4), Will Cartwright 9(4), Jake White 12+1(5), Zak White 19+1(5), Josh Hill 8(4)

The Young Monarchs raced to their 2nd victory this season. Another superb effort with each youngster winning a race and scoring solidly. No one had a last place. Both Billy Winwood and Marc Phipps took impressive from the back wins over impressive Wolf Liam Cartwright.
The Young Wolves were hampered by a fall for Josh Whetton in his 3rd ride who had to withdraw.

Billy Winwood 13+1(4), Ryan Winwood 11+3(4), Marc Phipps 13+1(4), Connor Steel 10+2(4)
Josh Whetton 8(2), James Bishop 4(3), Liam Cartwright 13(4), Kyle Mattox 3(3), Leo Turner 3(2), Josh Dytor 2(2)