Birmingham Brummies kick-started their speedway season with a Championship League win over Edinburgh Monarchs last night at Perry Barr Stadium.
But the match was abandoned after 14 heats because Josh Pickering, Monarchs’ top scorer on the night, crashed and had to be taken to hopsital.
Birminghm ended a seven match losing streak in all competitions, with a 48-36 victory.
Monarchs team boss Alex Harkess said: “We were looking to get something from this match and to leave empty handed was very disappointing.”
Birmingham opened the match in convincing fashion when new signing Adam Ellis and James Shanes roared to a 4-2 success against Monarchs skipper Ricky Wells and partner Justin Sedgmen, who couldn’t get the better of Shanes, and finished last.
Ellis passed Wells on the first bend and his winning time of 59.53 was the quickest of the season so far.
Monarchs managed to share the second race, Paco Castagna winning for the Brummies, but Luke Ruddick and William Lawson kept Nathan Stoneman at the back for a share of the spoils. Birmingham stormed to a 5-1 in the third race, Zach Watjknecht and Ashley Morris defeating Pickering and Joel Andersson, and this put the Brummies in front 12-6.
Morris rode really well to keep Pickering behind him as the Monarch was hot on his tail.
Monarchs then got a 4-2 in the next race through Cameron Heeps and Ruddick after Brummies star Ulrich Ostergaard suffered engine failure at the start, this reduced Monarchs’ arrears to four points, 14-10. Heeps reined Stoneman in on the final lap for the vital race win.
The next three races were all shared which maintained Birmingham’s four-point advantage, 23-19. But Monarchs got a stroke of luck in heat six when Shanes and Ellis were on a home 5-1 until Shanes’ bike packed up on the last lap, gifting Monarchs the 3-3.
In heat eight Ruddick and Sedgmen got caught up with each other and collided into the air fence but escaped unhurt, but in the rerun Lawson replaced Ruddick, who was excluded under the two minute rule for not getting to the tapes on time and, just to compound their problems, Monarchs yielded a 5-1 as Shanes and Stoneman romped past the line for the Brummies who now led 28-20.
Pickering replaced Lawson in the ninth heat as a tactical substitute and combined with Heeps for a Monarchs 5-1 which slashed their arrears to just four points, 29-25.
But the Brummies responded with a 4-2 in the tenth race to lead by six, 33-27.
And the Brummies increased their lead once more to eight points with a 4-2 from unbeaten Ellis and Ostergaard in the 13th heat. They clinched the match with a 5-1 from Castagna and Morris against Ruddick and Andersson in the penultimate heat, denying Monarchs even a match point.
Birmingham: Ellis 12, Shanes 4, Watjknecht 6, Ostergaard 2, Stoneman 5, Morris, 8, Castagna 11.
Monarchs: Pickering 10, Wells 6, Sedgmen 3, Andersson 2, Lawson 3, Ruddick 3, Heeps, 9.