Wednesday August 25, 2021
BIRMINGHAM raced to their biggest league win of the season with a 54-36 victory over Plymouth in a strong all-round display at Perry Barr.

The Brummies made it four points from the week against the Gladiators after Tuesday’s narrow defeat at the Coliseum, and as a consequence they have moved above their opponents as well as Berwick and Newcastle in the Championship table – still with multiple matches in hand.

Racing as a six-man team with James Shanes missing to be with his partner who gave birth to a baby daughter shortly before the meeting, Birmingham opened with two 5-1s in the first two races and never looked like relinquishing their advantage.

German duo Erik Riss and Valentin Grobauer outpaced a subdued former Brummies No.1 Bjarne Pedersen in Heat 1, before a very impressive Jack Thomas combined with Paco Castagna another maximum in the next.

The Gladiators looked set to hit back only for Ashley Morris to split Zane Keleher and Zach Cook on the line in Heat 3, and Morris then took a fine win in his second outing when he blasted around Pedersen and Dillon Ruml off turn two.

Brummies’ third 5-1 came in Heat 7 from Castagna and skipper Chris Harris, with the Italian star repeating Morris’s move from earlier, whilst Harris – who had lost out to treble World Champion Jason Crump in Heat 4 – defeated Crump and Pedersen in Heat 9 when the Dane rode as a tactical substitute.

Brummies went 14-points up with another 5-1 in Heat 10 as Keleher hit the fence on turn four when in second place, dislodging an air-fence hoarding which forced the race to be stopped.

Thomas rounded off his night with another win in Heat 12, teaming up with Morris to see off Cook, but Riss lost his chance of a second successive home maximum when he slewed out of the start in Heat 13 as Harris again defeated Crump and Pedersen.

There were two more shared races to finish with Harris ending the meeting with a fall on the first bend of Heat 15, whilst Riss won the re-run as the exciting Dillon Ruml came to grief on the last lap before remounting for a point.

Birmingham manager Laurence Rogers said: “We were very comfortable, the boys were on it, and they were determined especially after losing at Plymouth the night before.

“They really wanted to get a good score, and we made a dream start with those two 5-1s – that’s the way do it.

“The German duo started us off with a 5-1 and then Paco and Jack were tremendous – and to give Jack his due, that’s probably his best meeting in our colours.

“Everyone stepped up in the absence of James, and we should dedicate the win to the new baby!”

Brummies now face a busy Bank Holiday weekend with trips to leaders Poole on Sunday (5pm) and Kent on Monday (4pm) before a massive return clash with the Pirates at home next Wednesday.

BIRMINGHAM 54: Chris Harris 13+1, Erik Riss 12, Jack Thomas 10, Paco Castagna 7+2, Ashley Morris 7+1, Valentin Grobauer 5+2, James Shanes r/r.
PLYMOUTH 36: Jason Crump 10+1, Dillon Ruml 8+1, Bjarne Pedersen 6+3, Zane Keleher 5, Zach Cook 4, Jason Edwards 2+1, Alfie Bowtell 1.

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