Wednesday July 06, 2016
BIRMINGHAM boosted their hopes of progression in the Knockout Cup with a 54-36 first leg victory over Belle Vue.

It was another showing of determination and character as the Surestop Brummies bounced back from their first defeat of the season at Eastbourne on Saturday in fine style against the Colts.

In unusual circumstances, it was Birmingham's three lowest averaged riders who contributed the most points on another encouraging night for the Perry Barr outfit.

Team manager Graham Drury said: "Everyone's points were important but when your two reserves (Jack Smith and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn) and your No. 2 (Tom Bacon) perform how they did it just shows our strength in depth this year.

"I made some pretty bold reserve substitutions in the latter stages but they paid off overall and it was only done to benefit the team's advantage at the time.

"It was another impressive performance with plenty of positives and we've given ourselves a great chance of defending our lead in the second leg next month."

Jack Smith had one of the meetings of his short career and was deservedly awarded the Ductair Electrics Ltd Rider of the Night. The 17-year-old bagged four race victories including two breathtaking manoeuvres around the outside of Matt Williamson and Rob Shuttleworth. He was duly rewarded with his first ever heat 15 appearance but an attempt to blast around Lee Payne on bends three and four saw him end up in the air fence - but thankfully he walked away with no ill affects.

Tom Bacon continued his stunning return from injury sealing three successive race wins before earning his first heat 15 appearance in Brummies colours also.

Jack Parkinson-Blackburn enjoyed another hugely encouraging night as he reached paid double figures for the fourth home meeting in a row.

Darryl Ritchings and Zach Wajtknecht chipped in with six points apiece while Danyon Hume and Tom Perry struggled to find a set-up from three rides each in tricky conditions early on.

The result means the Brummies take an 18-point lead into the second leg of the tie at Belle Vue's National Speedway Stadium on Saturday, August 6.

Birmingham are back on track next Wednesday (July 13) when they host Midland rivals Coventry Storm at Perry Barr.

BIRMINGHAM 54: Jack Smith 14, Tom Bacon 12, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 9+2, Darryl Ritchings 6+3, Zach Wajtknect 6+2, Danyon Hume 4+1, Tom Perry 3+1.

BELLE VUE 36: Matt Williamson 12+1, Lee Payne 10, Dan Bewley 6, Rob Shuttleworth 5+2, Tom Woolley 2, David Holt 1, Joe Lawlor 0.

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