ROBINS boss Alun Rossiter called for the cut-off point for weather-affected meetings to return to heat 12 following last night’s rain-off at Birmingham.
The hosts were leading 31-23 when proceedings were halted after heat nine due to heavy rain, just one completed race shy of the result standing due to rule changes made in the winter, with the Robins outside losing bonus-point territory.
The decision to abandon the meeting angered the home faithful, with many calling for one more heat to be run to allow their team to pick up the league points they had put themselves in a position to earn, although referee Dave Robinson was thought to have been reluctant to allow the meeting to continue due to there being little prospect of completing 15 heats.
Riders and management from both sides agreed the weather made conditions unfit to ride, despite at one stage a 20-minute break for track work patching things up before another, heavier, shower, put paid to the action.
Speaking afterwards, Rossiter was keen for the cut-off point to return to heat 12 to wipe out the issue of forcing through matches to a semi-conclusion with only two thirds of the story told, as was the case when the Robins’ home meeting with Coventry was abandoned after only 10 races earlier this season. That meeting was also refereed by Robinson.
“We didn’t push for anything tonight and I’ve said before that I would never let what happened in the Coventry match happen again,” he said.
“When the heavens opened that was it, it was finished, nothing to do with me, riders or anything.
“We were still in the meeting, although obviously eight points down, and we had time to come back, but when you’re completely out of it things are maybe a bit different. We’d have had to send riders out in one heat to try and get a result and that would have been dangerous.
“Maybe it should go back to heat 12. It’s more of a meeting after heat 12. If the cut off had been back at heat 12 then there would have been no dispute about this from anyone because the weather meant it wasn’t fit to ride.”
In the nine heats of speedway which were run, the points were shared in all of the first four races before the Brummies took the initiative, mainly thanks to mini maximums from Danny King and Daniel Nermark, while the Robins largely struggled for consistency. Steve Worrall did manage heat wins in both reserve races, but Simon Gustafsson was the only other visiting rider to take the chequered flag.
With all the home attention on new star Bartosz Zmarzlik, it was his vastly more experienced teammate Nermark who gated to win the opening heat as he beat the hard-charging Peter Kildemand on the run to the line.
The opening four heats were all shared as victories followed for Worrall, King and Gustafsson, with by far the biggest incident coming in heat three as Nick Morris lifted and forced Ben Barker wide and to the point of bailing out. The Brummies man was excluded and ran back to the pits to argue his point, with replays proving Morris was lucky to avoid being thrown out of the race, but it did no good as he sat out the re-run which teammate King eventually won.
After not scoring from his first four laps around his new home, Zmarzlik led the way from the gate in heat five and was chased all the way by Morris before, much to the delight of the home crowd, the Aussie hit a rut and went down on his own in the final corner to allow Barker through to back up his Polish teammate for a 5-1.
After the hosts broke the deadlock the gap was soon six points after Troy Batchelor’s turn one mechanical issues in heat six allowed King to victory ahead of Kildemand, with another 4-2 coming in heat seven as Nermark was too fast for Dakota North despite the Aussie putting a shift in behind the Swede in a bid to pass.
With rain falling from dark clouds above Perry Barr there was a prolonged break in racing, with the Robins seeming keen to cut their losses and go home, but after 20 minutes of inactivity King carried on his good form with victory in heat eight as the Robins packed in for second and third but failed to reel in the home lead.
Worrall won what proved to be the final heat but Greaves couldn’t back him up to eat into the Brummies lead, although it proved immaterial as the rain finally took complete control.