REPORT Friday 16th July 2010, 10:00pm
Monarchs have looked vulnerable at home at times recently, but with the challenge of the second-placed team to face, the league leaders were at their best to take three points in a very entertaining match.
There were several outstanding heats, including two on-the-line victories for Ryan Fisher, some marvellous riding from Jason Lyons and classy overtaking by Katajisto, Tully and Wethers.
Rain in the previous couple of days seemed to have a beneficial effect on the track which was just about perfect all night.
Jason Lyons gave early evidence that he was in prime form by pulling away from Fisher in heat 1, with Brummies? guest Kenny Ingalls comfortably taking third from Busch.
Monarchs were on a 5-1 in heat 2 with Cal McDade squeezing out Ingalls and looking capable of taking second place. However Kyle Newman lost control and fell on the second bend, then blatantly took a look and decided against rising. It was the only thing he did all night but he did gain a point for his team as Ingalls took second place in the rerun, with McDade falling and remounting for the point.
The Sedgmen / Sweetman pair is a key source of points for Birmingham, and Sweetman did lead early on in heat 3. Fisher took him on the inside on the pits corner, and Sweetman fell. Referee Allan excluded the visitor, which looked correct.
Sedgmen led the rerun but both Monarchs passed him cleverly to take an important 5-1.
Heat 4 was also important as both Katajisto and Tully passed the early leader Steve Johnston, and Birmingham heads may have gone down a bit at that point as our riders showed their ability to pass.
It looked as though Matthew Wethers might have outgated Lyons in heat 5, but Jason superbly swept past round the first turn and took another big win ? looking really quick.
Tobias Busch joined in the fun in heat 6 by backing Fisher to another 5-1 over Johnston. The German does look good when he gates.
Sweetman took the first TR in heat 7 and led round the first lap, only to be swallowed up by a fine inside overtake by Tully. Brummies took a 5-3 and were now 10 down.
Heat 8 would have been an interesting test for Busch, but we were robbed of the chance to see how he might do as he shed a chain on the line. Kalle won comfortably.
Monarchs were soon turning the screw again with a comfortable 5-1 from Tully and Wethers over Johnston again ? Johno hadn?t shown much form so far.
Heat 10 was sensational. Sedgmen possibly got a flier from the gate, and Fisher chased fiercely all the way without finding a way through ? until the final bend when he locked up hard and pinged himself down the home straight, to grab the win by the narrowest of margins!
We saw a different kind of brilliance in heat 11. We brought Kalle in alongside Andrew to try to counter the Lyons TR with Johnston as r/r, but it was the visitors who hit the front. Tully went hard under Lyons on the pits corner but Jason got back into second and then superbly held off all Andrew?s best efforts before easing ahead of Johno to complete the 8-1. You could only applaud.
After a decent start Cal McDade fell on the first turn of heat 12, possibly impeding Sedgment who slowed up. However the race continued and Matthew Wethers took the win in a shared race.
The 8-1 had put the Brummies back in with a chance of a point though, and heat 13 was vital. Again Johnston made the start and Fisher moved in to put pressure on him, with Lyons right on his tail. Fisher was trying everything to pass as was Lyons in an enthralling heat. Several times Ryan seemed to be out of position on the outside, but each time he held second before finally he pulled off another stunning last corner.
Locking up wide and turning hard, he came powering down the straight to the front, punching the air in delight! Probably the race of the season.
Kalle and Matthew took a 5-1 in heat 14 to clinch all three points, and the only problem they had was when Kalle slowed going over the line. Matthew had to take avoiding action and hit his footrest against the fence.
That was Matthew?s problem in the last heat as he trailed well back. This time Fisher did it the easy way by leading from the gate, completing an excellent match.
HERMISTON MONARCH OF THE MATCH: Ryan Fisher.