MATCH REPORT: Monarchs storm to first indoor title
The Birmingham Monarchs were crowned indoor team champions at Coventry on Sunday in the British Cycling Indoor Championships, with the awards presented by Coventry and Grand Prix series motor speedway rider Chris Harris.
Having safely negotiated through the semi final they faced an impressive Wednesfield side, a solid Ipswich outfit and surprise packets Leicester in the Final.
It was a perfect start in heat 1 for Ricki Johnson, with the Wednesfield rider excluded, however the Aces hit back strongly to take the lead after the first block of four races.
Birmingham took advantage of the next block of four from the favoured grid 1 and won each heat to open up a 3 point lead at the halfway stage. All impressive winners for the Monarchs.
Ipswich took advantage of grid 1s in the next block of heats to play catch up, taking 2 wins. But with Johnson winning heat 11, the damage to Birmingham was limited.
Crucially, with four heats remaining after heat 12, the Monarch’s lead had been extended on 38 points, 5 ahead of Ipswich on 33, but 8 ahead of Wednesfield who were on 30 points but still with grid 1s to come in the last 4 heats.
The Monarchs faced the tough grid 4s in the final block of four races. The Aces did all they could do by winning three of them, however with the Monarchs taking second places, the title was sealed with one race to go.
Ricki Johnson completed his maximum in style by blasting to an easy victory in the final heat, to scenes of jubilation from the Birmingham riders and supporters. Johnson given the bumps on his return to the pits.
Birmingham Scorers – Ricki Johnson 16, Matt Smith 13, Chris Timms 11, Scott Millward 11, Nathan Groves DNR.
Birmingham 51, Wednesfield 44, Ipswich 41, Leicester 22.
Monarchs riders also finished on the podium in the individual competitions. Ricki Johnson came 3rd in the senior open event, Paul Timms came 3rd in the over 40s competition.
Ewan Hancox made an impressive indoor debut coming 5th on 15 points in the U16 Final. Steve Hodgkinson came 6th in the over 40s final whilst Chris Timms, Matt Smith and Scott Millward all made the open final.