Superb Speedway as Bears beat Brummies!
The Redcar “Agilia” Bears secured their spot in the play-offs with a 46-44 win over Birmingham. In an enthralling meeting with great racing, Birmingham more than played their part but the Bears got the job done! Danny King top scored with 11 for Redcar whilst Birmingham’s guest Richard Lawson (in his 5th appearance at Redcar in 2023) struck 16 for the visitors.
Heat 1 saw Richard Lawson take the win after an early duel with the returning Redcar skipper, Charles Wright. However, Birmingham could not take a heat advantage as Lawson’s teammate, Stefan Nielsen was at the back.
The reserves race saw Birmingham’s Sam Hagon and Paul Starke shock the ECCO Arena crowd as they struck a 5-1 despite the best efforts of Jason Edwards who initially passed Paul Starke before the ex Newcastle man re-passed Edwards to give Birmingham a 4 point lead on Teesside. However, the home contingent’s nerves were slightly eased as Connor Bailey and Erik Riss immediately hit back for a 5-1 to level proceedings at 9-9.
Top scorer for the Bears, Danny King opened his account with a win after he picked up drive on the backstraight of lap 1 to pass both Justin Sedgmen and Paul Starke for the win, but with Luke Harrison at the back, Redcar could not hit the front.
After a shared heat 5 won by Richard Lawson, the Brummies hit the front in heat 6. With Wright hunting down Sedgmen and Danyon Hume in 3rd entering the final stages of lap 3, we looked set for a thrilling end to the race, however, Hume fell and the referee decided on a re-run. The re-run saw Sedgmen gate again with Wright all over him but despite Wright’s best efforts, he was unable to pass Sedgmen and with Hagon in an unopposed 3rd, Birmingham once again had the lead on Teesside.
Nevertheless, Redcar once again wasted no time in levelling matters in another superb race as King took the win after passing Troy Batchelor towards the end of lap 1 with the Australian then coming under pressure from Edwards. Nevertheless, Batchelor held on to ensure Birmingham did not fall behind. The meeting remained level after Heat 8 was shared as Starke won with Harrison picking up an important 3rd place for Redcar.
Heat 9 saw Redcar strike a huge blow as Riss gated whilst Bailey passed Sedgmen at the end of lap 1 with Bailey then overtaking Riss who nearly came to grief but Riss held onto his machinery for 2nd to give Redcar a much needed maximum heat advantage.
Suddenly, Bears maximum heat advantages were the order of the day as Wright and Hume flew from the tapes with Starke and Batchelor unable to land a blow which saw Redcar extend their advantage to 8 at the ECCO Arena. Heat 11 saw Redcar stretch their advantage to 10 after another great race. Lawson gated but King passed the guest number 1 on lap 2 and won despite Lawson being all over the back of him, and with Edwards in 3rd, Redcar looked set to stretch their legs.
Nevertheless, the Brummies (led by Stewart Dickson) now have much more fighting spirit and with Lawson (as a tactical substitute) joining Batchelor in heat 12, messrs Bailey and Edwards knew they had a battle on their hands. Disappointingly for Redcar, the battle was won by Birmingham as they cut the gap to 6 to bring Birmingham back into contention.
Heat 13 saw Lawson make it back to back wins as he used all his experience to hold off King and Wright but with Sedgmen at the back, Redcar remained in charge at 42-36. The penultimate race of the night saw Redcar secure the win after another superb race. Riss won from the gate but Edwards tried absolutely everything he knew to pass Starke for 3rd but the Birmingham reserve used his nous to keep Edwards at the back but with Riss winning the Brummies had fallen short at the ECCO Arena.
Heat 15 saw calamity before the start as Wright had a machinery problem with the Redcar skipper being excluded from the re-run. The re-run saw Edwards replace him but the ‘Billericay Blaster’ and Connor Bailey had no answer for Sedgmen and Lawson as they secured the 5-1 to end the night on a high for the travelling Birmingham faithful.
Redcar = 46 (92)
1. Charles Wright = 8+1
2. Danyon Hume = 5+2
3. Connor Bailey = 9+1
4. Erik Riss = 9+2
5. Danny King = 11
6. Jason Edwards = 3
7. Luke Harrison = 1+1
Birmingham = 44 (88)
1. Richard Lawson (G) = 16+1
2. Stefan Nielsen = 0
3. Troy Batchelor = 5+1
4. Alfie Bowtell = 2
5. Justin Sedgmen = 9
6. Sam Hagon = 4
7. Paul Starke = 8+3