Wednesday March 28, 2018
BIRMINGHAM opened their 2018 season with a 52-37 challenge fixture victory over Midland rivals Coventry.

The Edwards Plumbing Brummies showed plenty of encouraging signs throughout the clash in a meeting that was put under threat in the build-up.

Heavy downpours just hours before the scheduled start time put the fixture in severe doubt. But a mixture of keen riders and miracle track work ensured the tie went ahead in front of a healthy crowd at Perry Barr.

Mitchell Davey started life as club captain in ultimate fashion on his debut, reeling off four straight comfortable wins to secure a maximum as well as the Rider of the Night Award as voted for by meeting sponsors City Gearboxes Coventry Ltd.

Layne Cupitt enjoyed one of the best nights of his career, dropping just one point to an opponent in the main body of the team from his four programmed rides, which then earned him a rare Heat 15 appearance.

After almost a year out with a broken arm, fans' favourite Danyon Hume bagged three wins on his return to the saddle, including one from a 15 metre handicap in impressive style.

Tom Bacon recovered from a scary crash in his opening ride to go unbeaten by a Coventry rider in his final three, while 15-year-old Leon Flint recorded a very respectable six paid seven, winning his first ever competitive senior race in his first ever outing at that level along the way.

Callum Walker picked up four important minor placings and combined well with Davey in the No.4 position, while debutant reserve Arran Butcher wasn't far off the pace and was gifted a paid win in Heat 7 when both Coventry representatives failed to finish the race.

Brummies Team Manager Laurence Rogers said: "First and foremost we have to take our hats off to the track staff.

"They worked tirelessly throughout the day to try and get the meeting on and when we had a third heavy downpour in the space of a few hours at 4pm we thought that was that.

"But we've got a determined bunch at Birmingham and not only did we get the meeting on, we completed the 15 main heats plus some second half action too without any major incidents.

"I thought the way the team applied themselves was excellent and there is plenty to look forward to from this group of riders - especially when conditions aren't as tricky!

"Our win would have been by more had we not conceded two 5-1s in the final two races, but we'll take a 15-point win and there's plenty to build on from here."

The Brummies head to Kent in the Easter Chase challenge on Monday (April 2, 3.30) before hosting the Kings at Perry Barr in the second leg next Wednesday (April 4, 7.30).

BIRMINGHAM 52: Mitchell Davey 12, Layne Cupitt 10+2, Danyon Hume 10, Tom Bacon 8+1, Leon Flint 6+1, Callum Walker 4, Arran Butcher 2+1.
COVENTRY 37: Connor Mountain 12, Jamie Halder 10+2, Danny Phillips 5+1, Ryan MacDonald 3+2, Jon Armstrong 3, Luke Harris 3, Luke Ruddick 1.


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