Birmingham had a rude awakening in the defence of their Midland League title. This was the Monarchs’ first team meeting of the season and the Aces fifth, as such the visitors were very much caught on the hop.
The Aces opened with two maximums and a 6-4 to dominate proceedings from the off (20-9). A lack of heat advantages saw the Monarchs fail to pull too much into that early lead and entered the interval down 18 (53-35).
The second half opened with another Aces maximum before Chris Jewkes was kept at the back in Heat 11 by captain Timms, which allowed young Ewan Hancox to race clear in 2nd place.
A Heard/Kemp 7-3 in heat 12 helped stretch that lead at now 72-46. Jewkes was again outdone by Timms in Heat 14, as he allowed his team partner Steve Hodgkinson to race clear.
From then on the Aces finished with a flurry to ramp the total above 100 and finish with another maximum this time after Ricki Johnson was caught on the line.
The Monarchs riders looked like a team short of match practice. Mark Winwood will probably never look so poor and fail to score less than double figures again for the rest of the season.
As is usual with meetings between these teams there was a smidgen of controversy, including one heat that needed 4 re-run for noise and movement yet no re-run when Mark Winwood caught his helmet on the tapes which clearly penalised him.
Matt Smith looked sharp with 3 heat wins. Right now the Aces look the team to beat this year and are clearly looking to win back the title this year.
Midland League Division One
Wednesfield Aces 107
Paul Heard 16+2, Lee Kemp 10, Mark Griffiths 14+1, Chris Jewkes 7+2, Lee Aris 15, Brandon Whetton 14+1, Scott Docherty 12+1, Ben Mould 19+1
Birmingham Monarchs 70
Matt Smith 14(5), Ricki Johnson 9(5), Mark Winwood 8(5), Nathan Groves 12(5), Chris Timms 11+2(5), Ewan Hancox 6(5), Andy James 5(3), Steve Hodgkinson 5(3)
There was more entertainment to come in the Second Division and Junior meetings.
The young (U14) Monarchs romped to victory, whilst it was a close encounter in the Second Division match, with the meeting going down to a last heat decider.
The Youngsters provided some of the excitement of the day with some real excellent battles and team riding skills from the Monarch kids. Ryan Winwood had a good day and was battling hard for his points.
Emily Pitt came a real cropper in her first race in the Second Division but gamely carried on to manage two second places.
Midland League Division Two
Wednesfield Aces 66(-5) = 61
Lee Kemp 12, Alex Aris 8, Brandon Whetton 18+2, Courtney Aris 3, Haydn Rowley 16, Glyn Rowley 7, Tipton 2
Birmingham Monarchs 61(-10) = 51
Carl Winwood 11+1(4), Natalie Timms 7(4), Emily Pitt 8(4), Steve Hodgkinson 11+2(5), Ewan Hancox 14+2(5), Mark Winwood 10+1(4)
Midland Junior League
Wednesfield Aces 33
Tyler Bould 14+1, Todd Rowley 6, Georgia Burt 7, Ryan 3, Megan Burt 3
Birmingham Monarchs 47
Billy Winwood 13+2, Marc Phipps 12+1, Ryan Winwood 13, Connor Steele 9+3