NEWS: Birmingham’s seniors in final glory and Elite League beckons?

Senior Birmingham Monarchs riders had one last chance to gain glory at the weekend as they travelled to Cookson Park in Sheffield for the TLI Veterans Championships.

Eurovets champions Bob Prince and Steve Hodgkinson, along with Paul Timms, made the trip in the hope of adding more silverware this season. The meeting concept was a slightly different formula to ones usually used giving riders the power to select grids and semi finals for those that qualified.

31 riders made the trip from all across the UK ranging from Scotland to Eastbourne. To qualify each age category had to finish in the top 4 of their semi final, more points gained would result in a better gate pick.

In the 1st semi final both Timms (16) and Prince (15) qualified comfortably to reach the knockout stages. Timms a model of consistency whilst Prince recovered well from a 2nd race exclusion for causing a rider to fall. In the 2nd semi Hodgkinson will rue a fall in his 4th race, whilst leading. 14 points scored meant a lower pick in the knockout stage. In the first knockout heat for the 50’s Timms won with Prince in 2nd as both qualified for the final.

In the 2nd knockout heat a close battle could have seen any of the 4 riders moving on to the final. Hodgkinson however missed the cut coming in 3rd. In the 50’s final again it was Timms who lead from start to finish under constant pressure from Prince to take the title. Prince however wasn’t to be denied as he won the 60’s title, winning both knockout race and final.

This week the club will hear if they have been successful in returning back to the Elite League. Club secretary Natalie Timms confirmed this weekend that an application has been sent to British Cycling.

Birmingham were last in the Elite League in 2013. Photo by Ray Andrews.

Birmingham were last in the Elite League in 2013. Photo by Ray Andrews.

The club last rode in the highest tier of the sport two seasons ago however the club is in in a much more secure place and rider asset base than two seasons ago. British Cycling place great emphasis on the structure and facilities of clubs applying so it’s expected club officials will be looking for sponsorship and available grants in the coming months.

Junior club coach Steve Hodgkinson has confirmed the club will continue with training nights through the winter. He added “we have had an influx of young riders in the past 2 months and now our racing season has finished I want to keep their interest going. We will linking up with the Birmingham BMX club to provide training on a Tuesday night. 6-8PM .

This will be under floodlights and we will run a winter tournament with trophies for newcomers so plenty of chances for youngsters to come and have a go!”

Contact Phil Widdas 07723 404006