WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST: Spotlight on the Brummies
Birmingham Brummies 1 Bjarne Pedersen 2 Martin Smolinski 3 Danny King 4 Ben Barker 5 Seb Ulamek 6Tomasz Piszcz 7 Josh Auty main man Panthers have had a star reserve racking up the points in the early part of the season – and the same applies to Birmingham. Josh Auty is the Brummies’ answer to Michael Jepsen Jensen and worryingly for the city men, he’s still riding at reserve tonight. Auty, who doubles up with Scunthorpe in the Premier League, shone with 13+1 as Birmingham collected their first Elite League win when seeing off Wolverhampton last time out. That was his third topscoring performance of the season so far. Others TO WATCH Skipper Danny King recently became a record Birmingham signing. The former Panthers ace has been bought by the Brummies from former owners Ipswich after spending just over a year on loan at Perry Barr. King has formed a classy middleorder partnership with fellow British ace Ben Barker at Birmingham. Barker showed his class by beating a world-class field to win the season-opening Ben Fund Bonanza at Perry Barr. Tomasz Piszcz had an inglorious spell in Peterborough colours back in the miserable 2004 campaign. His worst hour was failing to turn up for an Easter double-header against Coventry. It turned into a PR disaster for a club who had axed long-serving number one Ryan Sullivan over problems with fixture clashes. Current Grand Prix rider Bjarne Pedersen was Birmingham’s headline winter capture when arriving on a two-year deal from Poole. Former GP man and Elite League winner Seb Ulamek of Poland and German Martin Smolinski are yet to shine after being drafted back into British speedway by the Brummies. TRACK The 292-metre Perry Barr circuit is a place where out-and-out racer’s can thrive. It has won rave reviews from riders since being constructed ahead of the club’s return to speedway in 2007. recent Form Birmingham have suffered home and away Elite League defeats at the hands of highly-rated Swindon, but did snatch a consolation point in Wiltshire. Their sole top-flight success so far this term was a Midlands derby victory over Wolverhampton. v Wolverhampton (h) .... W50-42 (EL) v Swindon (h)................. L53-37 (EL) v Swindon (a) ................. L49-43 (EL) v Coventry (h)................ L54-38 (ML) v Wolverhampton (a) .... L51-39 (ML) Key: EL = Elite League, ML = Midland League Last Time There PANTHERS were denied a rare away point during final-heat drama when they visited Perry Barr last August. Captain Nicki Pedersen and partner Troy Batchelor were on course for a 3-3 in the last race to earn a consolation point until being split by Birmingham man Daniel Nermark on the penultimate lap. Panthers: Nicki Pedersen 15+1, Troy Batchelor 8, Linus Sundstrom 6+1, Kacper Gomolski 6, Krzysztof Bucz- kowski 4+1, Norbert Kosciuch 3+1, Richard Lawson 1. Last Win There Apart from last year you have to go right back to 1985 for the last time Panthers rode against Birmingham which was in the National League (Divisiontwo). Panthers actually won both matches that year and the result at Birmingham on September 22 1985 was Birmingham 34, Panthers 43. Scorers were: Birmingham 34 (P. White 9, P. Evitts 7, R. Wilson 7, D. Wyer 6, L. Warner 4, I. Stead 1, M. Stevenson 0). Peterborough 43 (Kevin Hawkins 12, Dave Allen 9, Ian Barney 9, Adrian Hume 9, Keith Bloxsome 2, Ian Clark 2, Mick Poole R/R). The home fixture against Birmingham a couple of weeks later on October 4 produced an historic 65-0 win for the Panthers. Birmingham refused to ride even after referee John Eglese had ruled the track raceable, and after 13 5-0 races every Panthers rider scored a maximum. And Ian Barney won a draw amongst the Panthers to take the silver helmet which Holder Doug Wyer also forfeited. It was not the greatest night for speedway and the repercussions rumbled on for many years afterwards.