Wednesday July 14, 2021
RACE-RUSTY Birmingham fell to a 39-51 defeat at the hands of Scunthorpe as speedway returned to Perry Barr after a five-week hiatus.

The Scorpions, who have been riding regularly throughout the period of restrictions, went top of the Championship table with their first away win of the season as former Brummies Adam Ellis and Tero Aarnio starred against their old club.

Skipper Chris Harris was the only home rider to defeat Ellis when he got the better of his opposing No.1 in Heat 1, and Harris was also involved in much of the night’s best racing.

For the Edwards Plumbing Brummies, the most encouraging sign was the performance of Jack Thomas at reserve with two race wins in the second half of the meeting earning him a thoroughly deserved nomination for Heat 15.

Track conditions had also taken a major step forward, a fact shown from the race times with Ellis clocking 58.50 in Heat 5 – some way quicker than the fastest time recorded throughout the 2019 season.

Brummies’ early lead was wiped out when the Scorpions took a 5-1 from Heat 2 after Paco Castagna was disqualified for clipping a somewhat erratic Josh MacDonald when trying to make his way through on the inside.

James Shanes and guest Kyle Newman both battled their way past Theo Pijper in Heat 3 to prevent another Scunthorpe 5-1, but the visitors were already building an ominous run of race wins.

Ellis and another ex-Brummie, Simon Lambert, carded a 5-1 in Heat 5, and it took until Heat 8 for the home side to record a second win as Thomas rode well to fend off Lambert with Ashley Morris passing Jordan Palin for third.

But the Scorpions doubled their lead to eight points in Heat 9 when Shanes rode superbly to get the better of MacDonald and Thomas Jorgensen only to fall on the third bend, with the following riders thankfully avoiding him.

That left the Brummies with an uphill task, and although Harris rode a stormer to pass Aarnio and Pijper in Heat 10, his tactical substitute outing next time out was cancelled out by the flying Ellis.

From then on the Scorpions always looked likely winners, and with Aarnio winning the last two races and Ellis joining him for a 5-1 in Heat 15, the visitors collected a maximum haul of points.

Harris said: “It’s not ideal because you’ve got to win your home matches especially if you want to make the play-offs.

“But Scunthorpe have got a good side, solid pretty much all the way through, and some of the boys struggled having not being on the bike.

“I’ve been lucky that I’ve had a few meetings with Peterborough and with my longtrack, but the rest of the boys have really done nothing.

“We need those boys, and it’s about confidence - you’re riding but then you’re going against riders that are riding two or three times a week, and they’re sharper.

“I’m sure that given time they’ll get back to their best, but the thing is we haven’t got time – so hopefully next week we can regroup and go again.”

Brummies host Redcar next Wednesday in the second leg of their much-discussed KO Cup tie, with just two points between the sides from last month’s clash at the Media Prima Arena.

Online tickets are now available, and an announcement will be made as soon as possible regarding the prospect of cash sales, with restrictions easing on Monday.

BIRMINGHAM 39: Chris Harris 12+1, Jack Thomas 8+1, Richard Lawson 7+2, Kyle Newman 5+1, Ashley Morris 4, James Shanes 3, Paco Castagna 0.
SCUNTHORPE 51: Adam Ellis 13+1, Tero Aarnio 12+1, Thomas Jorgensen 9, Josh MacDonald 7+2, Simon Lambert 4+1, Theo Pijper 3+1, Jordan Palin 3.

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