CLUB NEWS: Monarchs fall at final hurdle

The Birmingham Monarchs were beaten in the first semi final of the day at Horspath, Oxford, on Sunday, as the journey to the final was ended by Ipswich Eagles, by 94-83 in the British Team KO Cup Final.

Birmingham were missing one of their senior riders, so the task was already likely to prove a very tough one against a solid Ipswich side, who could afford to rest one of their senior riders before the final.

Scott Millward took 2nd in heat one, as the Eagles took a lead they never relinquished. Birmingham provided winners in the next 2 heats, although a maximum was on the cards before Ricki Johnson suffered a dropped chain resulting in a drawn heat.

Heat 4 saw the Eagles take a maximum over veteran pairing Timms and James and took a 6-4 in the next, with Millward again taking 2nd place.

Chris Timms won heat 6, and although Monarchs took their first heat advantage of the day in heat 8 through Winwood/Johnson, an Eagles maximum in the 9th saw them go into the break in a dominant position.

Birmingham, however, remained defiant and a couple of races could have seen a much different picture.

Chris Timms was beaten for the first time in heat 10, whilst Johnson won his 1st race in heat 11. Heat 12 started a turn, with only one Eagle rider in the race due to a tape infringement, with Millward protecting James for a maximum advantage (55-64).

Heat 13 became a real flash point of the match. As expected the racing was great throughout and no more so than heat 13. Timms was providing plenty of action and battling ability, however what appeared to most of the crowd and riders as an obvious ‘deliberate ram’ from eagles rider Jamie Chittock on Timms on the 3rd lap, the race was allowed to continue with Timms still lay on the track.

The exclusion of Timms was perhaps unexpected, Chittock argued there was a slight gap, however, the decision was not a popular one amongst the Birmingham contingent.

If the decision had gone Birmingham’s way there would have been 4 points in it, however, despite Hancox winning the race, the Eagles took a heat advantage, which made the scores now at 59-69.

Monarch riders won heats 14 and 15 through Winwood and Johnson respectively, crucially the Eagles sharing both heats. Millward was deemed guilty of moving at the start in the 16th and with the Eagles taking a maximum their progression to the final was confirmed.

The Monarchs finished the day on a high with a Timms/Johnson maximum in the last heat, and in the second half of the meeting, had outscored Ipswich by a point, as all 8 riders gave 100% effort throughout.

Sutton based rider Mark Winwood top scored with 4 wins and 17 points, whilst Timms was worth more than 15 points.

Ipswich lost to Wednesfield later in the day in the final.

Birmingham scorers: Mark Winwood 17 (5), Chris Timms 15 (5), Ricki Johnson 14+1 (5), Scott Millward 12+1 (5), Ewan Hancox 9(5), Andy James 8 (5), Paul Timms 5 (3), Steve Hodgkinson 3 (3)

Birmingham training continues on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm, for anyone to join in, with free use of bikes and equipment!

Photo by Andy Whitehouse, more at: