Location: Ashmore Park, Wednesfield
Event: 1 July 2012
Drama again for the second day running for Wednesfield Aces in the final heat as they faced local rivals Birmingham Monarchs in the quarter-final of the British Team Knockout Cup.
With the Ashmore Park race track back to near perfect conditions the stage was set for a mouth watering battle between two of cycle speedway's top teams and both sets of riders delivered the goods in a classic knockout cup thriller.
The match started with Birmingham bringing in one of their subs Paul Heard who obliged with a win over Aces Lee Aris for a 6-4, the next two heats were drawn but a 7-3 in heat four swung the advantage in Wednesfield's favour after some fine work from Aces pair of Jewkes and Aris against Birmingham’s Wadhams and Groves.
Wednesfield hit the self destruction button in the following race when what looked like a comfortable 5-5 with Brums Heard leading Mark Griffiths and the Aces Ricki Johnson doing a fine containing job on Stu Bentley for three and a half laps, until the Aces youngster suffered a lapse of concentration and allowed Bentley to come alongside and forced him onto the centre green but the ref saw it differently and excluded Johnson giving Birmingham a 6-3 and a one point lead, but the Aces soon put that right when they drafted in sub Chris Jewkes to pair up with Ben Mould and produced a 7-3 win.
Birmingham’s Chris Timms showed why he is classed as one of the country’s top riders when he won the next heat against Aces Johnson and Aris but it only produced a 5-5. Wednesfield seized the opportunity in heat eight to extend their lead bringing in sub Mark Griffiths to replace youngster Matt Haddock paired with team partner Gavin Wheeler they strolled to another 7-3 win against the visitors partnership of Stu Bentley and Nathan Groves putting the home team seven points up, heat nine was a 5-5 with the score at the halfway stage 48-41.
First race after the interval Wednesfield gained a 5-5 after a classic start from Griffiths gave him the four points first place against Birmingham’s fast starter Paul Heard, but Aces normally alert Ben Mould suffered a lack of concentration allowing Harrold past and ended up in last place, the next heat was also a 5-5 with another win for Brum's Chris Timms, the following race saw referee Mr Rob Spicer give two exclusions first to go was Jack Harrold for moving at the start tapes and then Lee Aris did the same thing in the re-run leaving CJ who had been brought in as sub to go out and take the win against Mark Winwood extending the Aces lead to eight points.
The next three heats were all drawn 5-5 and then in heat 16 Birmingham clawed their way back with a 6-3 win after the Aces Luke Draisey was excluded for a tapes infringement, with two heats remaining and still five point clear Wednesfield knew all they had to do was get two 5-5's and the job was done.
Birmingham had to do something to try and salvage this match and they had saved the use of their two reserves until the end they brought in Wadhams in heat 17 and he took the race win with Aces Wheeler and Aris just happy to pick up the minor places happy in the fact that they knew all that was needed was for the same thing to happen in the final heat and the match would be won. Both teams made substitutions in the final race the Aces bringing in Mark Griffiths to team up with Ben Mould and Birmingham drafting in Paul Heard to partner Chris Timms, the race got under way and as expected the Aces pair let the Birmingham lads take the lead. Timms dropped back going up the back straight on the final lap and British under 19 champion Ben Mould fell for the trick and being a racer he was tempted to pass with a space left by Timms on the inside going into the turn but Timms closed the gap leaving Mould nowhere to go other than over the inside line, Ben Pulled back but Referee Robin Spicer had no choice and excluded the Aces star giving Birmingham a last heat 7-2 bringing the score all level at 87-87.
Under the rules of the competition the first three heats have to be re-run to decide a winner. Heat 1 the Aces used reserve Mark Griffiths to good effect capitalizing on his gating skills paired with Lee Aris they took a 7-3 win against Birminghams Nathan Groves and Marcus Wadhams.
Heat 2 the home club used their other reserve Chris Jewkes alongside Gavin Wheeler, Birmingham responded by using their sub Paul Heard with Jack Harrold, Heard as expected shot into the lead the Aces pair making sure there was no way past for young Jack Harrold resulting in a 5-5.
Heat 3 Birmingham new they had to secure a maximum heat advantage to level the score again, the Aces had on the start grid Luke Draisey and Ben Mould up against Chris Timms and Scott Millward the pressure was on for the Birmingham lads to be first out the gate but the pressure cooker valve blew when Millward eager to get a good start moved under starters orders at the tapes and was excluded, in the re-run Ben Mould did what he should have done in heat 18 and just sat and cruised round behind Chris Timms giving the Aces a 5-4 heat win and taking the Aces onto the semi-final stage of the competition.
Wednesfield 104 : Chris Jewkes 19,Mark Griffiths 19,Gavin Wheeler 16,Lee Aris 14,Ben Mould 14,Luke Draisey 8,Matt Haddock 7,Ricki Johnson 7.
Birmingham 99: Chris Timms 22,Marcus Wadhams 20,Paul Heard 20,Jack Harrold 11,Mark Winwood 8,Nathan Groves 8, Scott Millward 6,Stu Bentley 4.