BRUMMIES 48 EASTBOURNE 46

Wednesday July 24, 2013
BIRMINGHAM breathed a huge sigh of relief as Martin Smolinski’s heroic Heat 15 ride prevented a remarkable late Eastbourne comeback from producing one of the results of the season.

The Brummies’ gating, which had been below-par at best all evening, totally deserted them in the closing races and the Eagles had already recorded two successive 5-1s when Bjarne Pedersen and Cameron Woodward jumped out of the start in the decider – only for Smolinski to hold his trademark inside line on turns one and two and emerge onto the back straight ahead.

It was a narrow escape for the home side, who had been expecting to go top of the table with maximum points from the meeting, but in the end were pleased to bank the win and move on.
The warning signs were there from as early as Heat 1 when the Eagles riders gated only for Kim Nilsson to lift into the path of Pedersen and allow Jason Doyle to pass both – but Smolinski was one of four members of the Brummies top five to run uncharacteristic last places in the first six heats.

One of those was Chris Harris, whose bike lost power as he was chasing Cameron Woodward in Heat 4 and the Eagles skipper, who was superb all night, won again two races later with Smolinski’s pass of Timo Lahti preventing the visitors from going ahead.

Birmingham got themselves together thanks to a return to form for Nico Covatti, who was involved in three 5-1s including back-to-back efforts in Heats 7 and 8 to see them go eight points ahead – and that quickly became 14 across the next two races, with seemingly no way back for the Eagles.

The visitors’ tactical rides both resulted in 5-3s to trim the lead to ten, Heat 11 proving the race of the night with Woodward and Pedersen holding an 8-1 for the first half of proceedings before Harris brilliantly passed both around the outside for a win which was crucial in the final analysis.

The fightback really gathered pace in Heat 13 when Harris was disqualified as his last-bend lunge on Pedersen brought the Dane down, with the Eagles being awarded a 5-1 – but their maximum in the next race from Lahti and Kim Nilsson was even more unexpected as Ben Barker could find no way through.

Smolinski saved the day for the Brummies in Heat 15 and the point dropped should not be a major blow in the context of their season – but may act as a wake-up call at just the right time.

BIRMINGHAM 48
J.Doyle 3 0 2* 1 - - - 6+1
M.Smolinski 0 2 2* 3 3 - - 10+1
D.King 0 3 1 3 - - - 7
B.Barker 2 1 3 1 - - - 7
C.Harris 0 3 3 X 0 - - 6
N.Covatti 3 2* 3 0 0 - - 8+1
J.Auty 2* 2 0 - - - - 4+1
Team manager: Phil Morris

EASTBOURNE 46
B.Pedersen 2 2 1* 2* 2 - - 9+2
Rider Replacement – Lukas Dryml
S.Gustafsson 3 0 1 0 4^ - - 8
K.Nilsson 1* 1 0 1 3 - - 6+1
C.Woodward 3 3 2 4^ 3 1* - 16+1
T.Lahti 1 1 1 0 1* 2* - 6+2
K.Newman 0 1 0 - - - - 1
Team manager: Trevor Geer
Referee: Mick Posselwhite

1 Doyle, Pedersen, Nilsson, Smolinski, 58.61 (3-3)
2 Covatti, Auty, Lahti, Newman, 59.39 (8-4)
3 Gustafsson, Barker, Nilsson, King, 59.57 (10-8)
4 Woodward, Auty, Newman, Harris, 59.41 (12-12)
5 King, Pedersen, Barker, Gustafsson, 59.13 (16-14)
6 (re-run) Woodward, Smolinski, Lahti, Doyle, 59.50 (18-18)
7 Harris, Covatti, Gustafsson, Nilsson, 60.34 (23-19)
8 Covatti, Smolinski, Lahti, Newman, 59.53 (28-20)
9 Barker, Woodward, King, Lahti, 60.43 (32-22)
10 Smolinski, Doyle, Nilsson, Gustafsson, 59.44 (37-23)
11 Harris, Woodward^, Pedersen, Covatti, 60.13 (40-28)
12 King, Gustafsson^, Lahti, Auty, 60.29 (43-33)
13 (awarded) Woodward, Pedersen, Doyle, Harris (exc), no time (44-38)
14 Nilsson, Lahti, Barker, Covatti, 60.75 (45-43)
15 Smolinski, Pedersen, Woodward, Harris, 59.99 (48-46)

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