CUP TIE WIDE OPEN

Friday June 04, 2021
ERIK Riss returned to his former track and notched 13-points for Birmingham in a 46-44 first leg cup defeat at Redcar.

It was a performance to lift spirits in the Brummies camp after the nightmare events 48-hours earlier which saw the scheduled first leg brought to a halt early with Bears' racer Jordan Stewart badly hurt.

German international Riss, who won the Championship individual crown when in Bears colours two years ago, was in stunning form to give the Perry Barr side a great chance of going through when the teams race the second leg on a date to be confirmed.

And British icon Chris Harris enjoyed an impressive night with a classy 11+2 haul to underline what an astute signing he will prove to be this season.

Brummies boss Laurence Rogers was thrilled with the result after a brilliant comeback from what looked like a certain heavy defeat.

Three 5-1 heat maximums in the last five heats saw Birminghsm close the gap to two-points having been 14 points behind after the opening four heats.

Rogers said: "We came to life after the interval and we had three 5-1s in that period of time, our biggest problem is we started slow again and we were 12-points down after three heats but we clawed at it and it was a good team performance

"There were a few of the lads that wanted Heat 15 but I said no, Erik Riss and Chris Harris will be in a lot of Heat 15s throughout the season, they dominate heats and get 5-1s."

Rogers also gave a special mention for reserve Paco Castagna who was good value for his 10+1 in support of Riss and Harris in one of his best displays in British racing.

He said: "Paco overcame a few problems in his first ride and bounced back when I put him out in the rider replacement ride but 10 paid 11 was good and he deserves great credit."

CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP:
REDCAR 46: Michael Palm Toft 12, Jake Allen 9, Charles Wright 8+1, Leon Flint 7+1, Jordan Jenkins 5+2, James Sarjeant 5, Jordan Stewart r/r
BIRMINGHAM 44: Erik Riss 13, Chris Harris 11+2, Paco Castagna 10+1, James Shanes 6, Ashley Morris 4+3, Jack Thomas 0, Valentin Grobauer r/r

Picture: COLIN POOLE

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BACKING THE BRUMMIES
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