The Birmingham Monarchs Cycle Speedway club again finished 2nd in Wednesfield on Thursday in the 3rd round of the Spring Cup to give hope of stealing the trophy in its first year of the new competition.
The Monarchs were strengthened by the inclusion of Great Barr based rider Nathan Groves whilst the Wednesfield A team had key riders missing. The Birmingham side opened strongly by taking 2 out of 3 heat advantages however suffered their first heartache in heat 7 as Ricki Johnson suffered a dropped chain whilst leading the race. What was looking like a 6-4 turned into a 7-3 maximum for East Park.
The East Park Wolves were the surprise packets of the meeting having been beaten well in both rounds so far but included 2 heat leaders for the first time in the series.
At the halfway stage Birmingham led by one point but crucially 5 points up on the series leaders. A solid drawn heat in the 13th was followed by the next heartache as Scott Millward got excluded for moving at the start however Groves rode a good race to secure 2nd place.
It was the Wolves who ramped up the pressure in the 2nd half storming into a 2 point lead which meant Birmingham needed heat advantages in the last 2 heats to steal back the lead.
Crucially the last heat of the match was against the Wolves, with a maximum heat needed to force a draw. Johnson took a superb victory making an inside pass of Ball on the 2nd lap whilst Hancox was pegged to the back.
The Wolves deserved victory on the night whilst Birmingham rode well to amass 61 points. With Wednesfield A finish last on 53 it now means the Monarchs are one point behind them overall.
Everything will now be on the final round at the Perry Hall Park track on Sunday (9th). The Monarchs are sweating on the availability of key riders for the crucial fixture.
Birmingham scorers – Ricki Johnson 19, Scott Millward 17, Nathan Groves 11+2, Ewan Hancox 8+1, P Timms 6+1.
Training every Tuesday and Thursday from 4th April with a British Cycling approved coach.
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