BRUMMIES 55 WOLVERHAMPTON 38

Monday September 30, 2013
BIRMINGHAM raced into their first Elite League Grand Final with a comprehensive home win to put neighbours Wolverhampton out of this season’s competition.

The Brummies gave a characteristic show of all-round strength with a healthy majority of race winners and, as usual, they kept last places to a minimum and never seriously looked to be threatened on aggregate.

Wolves, too, have enjoyed a successful season but their chances may just have evaporated from the moment of Tai Woffinden’s crash in Stockholm, because they collected only seven points from the No.1 position throughout the tie despite making two perfectly logical guest bookings.

With Niels-Kristian Iversen ruled out due to the rib damage he sustained at Monmore, replacement Craig Cook finished second in Heat 1, but crashed heavily in his next outing as he attempted to switch to the outside line.

Cook only appeared once more, and dropped to the back of Heat 11 when he again got out of shape on the second bend when going for double points, and it summed up a night where little went right for the Monmore men, for whom Freddie Lindgren most unusually won just one race at Perry Barr.

They looked competitive initially with guest Nicolai Klindt making fast starts, but Heat 3 provided an early turning point as third-placed Ricky Wells fell when Lindgren was out-front – and in the re-run, Danny King and Ben Barker took charge for the Brummies.

Chris Harris, as ever coming strong at play-off time, surged past Klindt to maintain the momentum, and a fine ride by Martin Smolinski to get the better of Adam Skornicki in Heat 6 helped put the home side ten points clear.

Wolves halved the gap on the night with Lindgren’s tactical ride win, but they couldn’t build on that result as two Brummies 5-1s in the next three heats put the match almost beyond them, as Doyle made it four wins out of four.

Lindgren and Nico Covatti emerged unscathed after tangling before the first bend of Heat 12, and a determined King got the better of the Swede in the re-run – setting his side up to ensure qualification thanks to another round-the-boards effort by Harris to get the better of Skornicki in the next race.

Skornicki did have the mild consolation of ending Doyle’s maximum hopes with a good effort to pass the Australian midway through Heat 15, but it wasn’t going to spoil Birmingham’s night.

Two and a half years ago, their first-ever Elite League fixture was against Poole at Perry Barr – now they will take on the Pirates over two legs in a bid to secure the title.

BIRMINGHAM 55
M.Smolinski 1 2* 2* 1 - - - 6+2
J.Doyle 3 3 3 3 2 - - 14
D.King 3 3 2 3 1* - - 12+1
B.Barker 2* 1 0 3 - - - 6+1
C.Harris 3 2 2 3 - - - 10
N.Covatti 0 0 F 1 - - - 1
J.Auty 2 1 2* 1* - - - 6+2
Team manager: Phil Morris

WOLVERHAMPTON 38
C.Cook 2 X 0^ - - - - 2
Rider Replacement – Robert Miskowiak
F.Lindgren 1 6^ 1 2 0 - - 10
R.Wells X 2 1 0 2 - - 5
A.Skornicki 0 1 1 3 2 3 - 10
L.Lindgren 0 1 0 1 1* - - 3+1
N.Klindt 3 2 0 3 0 0 - 8
Team manager: Peter Adams
Referee: Tony Steele

1 Doyle, Cook, Smolinski, L.Lindgren, 58.55 (4-2)
2 (re-run) Klindt, Auty, L.Lindgren, Covatti, 58.50 (6-6)
3 (re-run) King, Barker, F.Lindgren, Wells (f,exc), 58.90 (11-7)
4 Harris, Klindt, Auty, Skornicki, 58.85 (15-9)
5 (re-run) King, Wells, Barker, Cook (f,exc), 58.89 (19-11)
6 Doyle, Smolinski, Skornicki, L.Lindgren, 59.39 (24-12)
7 F.Lindgren^, Harris, Wells, Covatti, 59.20 (26-19)
8 (re-run) Doyle, Auty, Skornicki, Klindt, 59.82 (31-20)
9 Skornicki, King, L.Lindgren, Barker, 59.24 (33-24)
10 Doyle, Smolinski, F.Lindgren, Wells, 59.59 (38-25)
11 Klindt, Harris, Auty, Cook^, 60.52 (41-28)
12 (re-run) King, F.Lindgren, L.Lindgren, Covatti (f), 60.14 (44-31)
13 Harris, Skornicki, Smolinski, Klindt, 60.15 (48-33)
14 Barker, Wells, Covatti, Klindt, 60.29 (52-35)
15 Skornicki, Doyle, King, F.Lindgren, 60.00 (55-38)

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