MATCH REPORT: Temperatures rise at Hearsall Common

Coventry went down 73-105 to their West Midlands rivals, Birmingham, in a feisty encounter that boiled over at times.

Coventry sportingly delayed the fixture by 30 minutes to allow Ricki Johnson to arrive at the track after an accident on the A45 and the visitors were merciless in the opening half, with the hosts only able to secure one shared heat in the first 9 races. The only silver lining for the home side being that Coventry were able to limit the Monarchs to just one maximum heat advantage.

Coventry riders kept themselves entertained during the delay. Photos by Mark Phillips.

Bobby McMillan was involved in an alarming crash with Chris Timms on the final bend of heat 7, with the Australian taking flight after hitting Timms up the inside, leaving the Aussie unable to finish the race.

Birmingham carried on from heat 10 with another three 6-4s, with tempers rising at the end of heat 12, after McMillan heavy handedly responded to Groves disrespectfully throwing 16 year old Phillips’s bike after they had become tangled on the final bend.

Temperatures remained high in heat 13, with Smith reacting badly to Grimes keeping him behind for a shared heat, both riders verbally exchanging views after the race. Referee Josh Marsh maturely calmed the situation after a brief chat with both managers to bring the heat down to a more respectable level.

The racing was close throughout the match. Photos by Mark Phillips.

Birmingham extended their lead in 14, with Winwood completing a maximum from reserve, followed by Timms ahead of Coventry youngsters and perpetual triers Hambidge and Morris. Coventry had something to cheer about in 15 with Rycharski and McLaughlin taking their only heat advantage, McLaughlin executing a well crafted pass on fellow Eurovet Steve Hodgkinson to secure their only 6-4.

Birmingham responded with their third and final 7-3 before two shared heats concluded the match, leaving the Monarchs a well earned 100+ score, finishing 73-105.

It was a difficult day for Coventry’s second string, with Birmingham having just too much fire power with a side that would hold their own in the Elite League. Rycharski, Grimes and McMillan were able to offer some resistance for the home side, whilst Coventry’s youngsters battled hard.

Timms was only beaten once in the final heat, with Winwood securing his three ride maximum. Both were well supported by all of the Monarchs though, with the team causing points damage in all but 5 races. However, the racing was still close throughout, despite the scoreline.

Bobby McMIllan 13, Mason Phillips 8, Dominik Rycharski 14, Matt Hambidge 7+1, Dan Drewett 5, Myke Grimes 17, Ollie Morris 5, Joe McLaughlin 4

Scott Millward 15+1, Matt Smith 14+2, Ricki Johnson 13, Nathan Groves 13+1, Chris Timms 18+1, Ewan Hancox 13, Steve Hodgkinson 7+1, Mark Winwood 12