Wednesday August 11, 2021
BIRMINGHAM made it back-to-back home league wins with a dramatic 46-44 triumph over local rivals Leicester at Perry Barr.

Skipper Chris Harris was the last-heat hero for the Edwards Plumbing Brummies as he split Lions duo Nick Morris and Ryan Douglas for the two points the hosts needed to see them through.

Harris had earlier picked himself up from two first-bend crashes, the first when he laid his machine down to avoid team-mate Jack Thomas in Heat 4, and the second being an awkward tumble when he locked up in Heat 7 and was flung heavily onto the track.

But as has been typical throughout his career, Harris raced on and produced a series of vital rides in the closing stages.

With middle-order duo James Shanes and Ashley Morris solid and effective, Brummies were also superbly served at reserve by Paco Castagna with a paid-13 haul which included several points over the Lions’ big guns.

Morris and Shanes made the first big breakthrough with a 5-1 in Heat 5 when Leicester No.1 Hans Andersen made an error on the first bend and dropped to the back.

That lead came under threat when Harris crashed out of Heat 7, but Castagna rode a stormer to defeat Douglas and Kyle Howarth in the re-run.

The Lions did edge ahead with a 5-1 in Heat 8 but Erik Riss headed a match-levelling 4-2 in Heat 10, and a super first bend by Harris in Heat 11 enabled Castagna to take advantage of Andersen going wide, with the Brummies going four-up once again.

Shanes prevented Leicester from striking straight back by splitting Douglas and the lively Zaine Kennedy in Heat 12, before Harris won the first battle of the big guns in Heat 13 against Andersen and the previously unbeaten Nick Morris, surging inside the Dane into turn three to maintain a two-point lead.

Heat 14 provided high drama with Castagna fending off everything Howarth could throw at him, whilst Ashley Morris pulled off a vital pass on Kennedy going into the last bend to take the Brummies into the decider 44-40 up.

And although this time Nick Morris got the better of Harris, the Brummies skipper sat back after two laps of chasing with second place over Douglas enough to secure a narrow win.

Brummies bosses have also thanked supporters for another great turn-out, and for their patience whilst the club attempt to correct the obvious dust issues which are arising this summer.

Team boss Laurence Rogers said: “We knew we could do it, we knew it was going to be hard, but the determination was there from the boys.

“Chris was the rubber-man again, he bounces back all the time, he gets run over and jumps up – he was in pain, but he just got on with it.

“And Paco was certainly on it. I think he was tired by the end of the night with seven rides but he did his job!

“I appreciate the dust problem, but what can we do? We’ve put down eight bowser loads through the day to try and keep it down, but it’s just drying out with the cloud cover and the wind.

“Unless you go out and water every race you can’t do much, but we do know the track needs a lot more work on it, which we’re aiming to get done.”

Brummies head to league leaders Glasgow on Friday and are then back at Perry Barr next Wednesday for the visit of Berwick.

BIRMINGHAM 46: Paco Castagna 12+1, Chris Harris 10, James Shanes 7+2, Ashley Morris 7+1, Erik Riss 7, Valentin Grobauer 2+1, Jack Thomas 1.
LEICESTER 44: Nick Morris 13+1, Ryan Douglas 7+1, Zaine Kennedy 7, Kyle Howarth 7, Hans Andersen 6, Dan Thompson 3+1, Joe Thompson 1.

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