Monday, July 15, 2024
Oxford SpeedwaySpires

REPORT: Big away win for Spires

OXS Oxford Spires took their largest victory all season, either home or away, with a 37-23 win in a curtailed rain-affected meeting in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership at Birmingham last night (Monday).

Ten races were completed, so the result stood in favour of Spires, as they picked up two previous away points and opened up a four-point gap to Leicester, in the battle for the fourth and final play-off qualifying position.

Three Spires – Erik Riss, Maciej Janowski and skipper Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris – were unbeaten by the opposition – although Riss was excluded from Heat 9 under the two-minute time allowance owing to mechanical issues.

With the rain set to move in, the meeting started promptly at 7.30pm. Oxford were nervy early on, and three Spires picked up warnings for moving at the tapes in the first three races, while Brummies took the lead with a 5-1 in Heat 1.

Janowski won an early battle for second place with Justin Sedgmen in Heat 3 as he joined Charles Wright for a 5-1 that pulled Spires back level. Spires took the lead with a further 5-1 in Heat 4, this time from Riss and Harris, after a superb charge from fourth to second by Harris.

Drew Kemp was excluded from Heat 5 for nudging the tapes, but Rohan Tungate won the re-run after an early pass on Sedgmen.

Spires opened up a ten-point gap with a 5-1 and a 4-2 from the next two races. Riss won his third successive outing in Heat 6, while Harris fended off World No 2 Fredrik Lindgren to join Riss for a 5-1. Janowski won Heat 7, with Wright winning a battle for third place with Tom Brennan, after Brennan made a misguided passing move that landed him in the second bend fence.

By that time, the rain had started. Race times were around four seconds slower, but conditions held up well and there was a fast outside line on the second bend used by Drew Kemp to win Heat 8 and Janowski in Heat 10, where the Pole joined Wright for a 5-1 over Lindgren that moved Spires 14 points ahead and within sight of the winning post.

Spires expected the meeting to continue, but as the losing team, Brummies could request a track inspection, and very quickly, the meeting was abandoned, with the result to stand.

Oxford team manager Peter Schroeck said: “We would have carried on. It wasn’t our decision – we were winning, so it was up to the losing team, which was Birmingham, whether they wanted to request a track inspection.

“I think it was the right call, as the track was starting to deteriorate. But we were happy to continue if necessary. We weren’t going to jump up-and-down, we left the ball entirely in Birmingham’s court as whether they wanted to continue or not.

“The boys knew it was an important meeting for us and they all got stuck in. I was really pleased that Drew when he went out and won Heat 8, because he hasn’t had the easiest of times since he signed for us and that was important for his confidence.

“Ashton had a tough meeting, but days like this are part of his learning experience and he’ll pick himself up again.

“Erik was on it again, like he was at Oxford last Thursday. He missed his last ride after something went wrong on his bike, but we were ten points in front at the time and with Bomber out there, I knew we could take a 3-3 to maintain our lead. After ten races were completed, we knew we were going to get a result.

“It was a treat in the pits today. World Champion Bartosz Zmarzlik and the whole Polish squad were in the pits, in preparation for the Speedway Of Nations in Manchester this week. That pumped Maciej right up and Bartosz shared a joke with him, that if Maciej scored a maximum tonight, that he could push Bartosz out of the Speedway Of Nations. It was all a great craic.

“The boys delivered – a win in this meeting was a must for Spires, especially as the whole of the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership now moves in a mini-break for the Speedway Of Nations.”

The next action at Oxford Stadium is on Sunday (July 14) at 3pm, when the Real Mini Company Oxford Chargers powered by SD Timmo Car Sales host the Scunthorpe Stags in the WSRA National League. Tickets are already on sale at

Birmingham Brummies 23: Freddie Lindgren 4+1, Luke Bekker 5, Justin Sedgmen 5, Wiktor Lampart 2+2, Tom Brennan 1, Piotr Pawlick 4, Leon Flint 2+2.

OXS Oxford Spires 37: Rohan Tungate 4, Drew Kemp 3, Maciej Janowski 8+1, Charles Wright 6+1, Chris Harris 7+2, Erik Riss 9, Ashton Boughen 0.

PHOTO: Both Chris Harris and Erik Riss were unbeaten at Birmingham (pic: Steve Edmunds)