Horspath Hammers showed why they were champions last season as they flexed there muscles at Sandwell this afternoon.
The Hammers has a strong lineup 1-8 whilst Birmingham were missing Chris Timms due to holiday but welcomed back Scott Millward from injury and Myke Grimes made his debut from Coventry.
From heat one the Oxfordshire side took the edge as Lukasz Nowacki finished just ahead of Grimes with David Carmichael picking up third on a dry and dusty track which caught out many riders.
Heat two and three saw Horspath claim 7-2 heats as Nicky Evans and Scott Millward were found guilty by Mick Hack of moving at the tapes which gave the visitors a 20-8 lead. Heat five saw a casualty as Mark Winwood hit the kerb of the track as he went head over heels on the back straight and could not continue in the heat.
Heat 6-8 saw Horspath boss the track as 7-3’s came from Mark Carmichael, Jack Harrold and Lukasz Nowacki. Heat 6 saw Lewis Bates make a lunge on Millward to then team ride with Carmichael as Scott fell and was not happy with the decision by the referee. Just before the interval Nathan Groves battled well to get the first win of the afternoon for Birmingham as the interval score was 30-57.
Heat ten after the interval saw the injured Winwood made it two wins for the Monarchs as he got the best of Lewis Bates and Zac Payne as Scott picked up the point for fourth place. Though the scoreline looked slightly one sided there was still some good racing as heat eleven saw Nathan Groves put a good pass on former Monarch Harrold.
After the first couple of heats after the interval the visitors carried on where they left off as Boaler, Bates and Nowacki made sure Horspath passed the hundred barrier though. Monarchs carried on battling as Parrish, Ball and Nicky Evans all derserved more points than they got for their efforts.
Birmingham 64: Grimes 8+2, Parrish 10, Ball 6+2, Evans 6, Timms 6, Millward 7+2, Groves 14+1, Winwood 7
Horspath 112: D.Carmichael 12+1, Nowacki 18, M.Carmichael 16+3, Bates 16+1, Boaler 17+3, Harrold 16+1, Thaw 8+1, Payne 9+3
Referee: Mike Hack
In the combination Birmingham lost to a strong Hammers outfit with Richard Harrison getting a paid maximum as well as Simon Munden. Birmingham pairing of Lee Kemp and Danny Harper were top scorers for the home side.
Birmingham 48: Stevenson 5+3, Hancox 7+1, Kemp 11+1, Harper 11+2, Hexley 5+4, Hodgkinson 9
Horspath 82: Harrison 13+3, Richardson 13, Burgess 15, L.Clarke 8+3, Munden 14+2, W.Clarke 10, Horsley 9+1
Referee: Chris Parrish