COVENTRY Storm had no answer for National League leaders Birmingham, who romped to a 61-29 win at Brandon on Sunday afternoon.
The Brummies were hugely impressive from one-to-seven with their injury returnees Tom Perry and Tom Bacon looking as if they had never been away.
They limited the City Gearboxes Storm to just three heat wins, and although the scores were level after three races, two of which were somewhat unusual, the visitors soon pulled clear.
Encouragement for Coventry came with a highly creditable debut from new signing Mitchell Davey, who started his meeting with the remarkable avoidance of an accident, and finished with two excellent wins.
But captain Dan Greenwood endured a nightmare afternoon, starting with a fall when chasing Zach Wajtknecht in Heat 1, and he was then beset by mechanical problems.
Birmingham were briefly delayed in Heat 2 when Jack Smith was disqualified for riding on the centre-green when returning to the pits for a top-up of fuel – and whilst that is clearly an offence under the 2016 regulations, the penalty is less clear with Smith’s total disqualification from the race rather at odds with other interpretations of that offence so far this season, and indeed earlier this weekend.
Heat 3, meanwhile, saw an awkward pile-up on the back-straight when the Brummies’ Danyon Hume tangled with Ryan Terry-Daley, causing Davey to bounce off the back straight fence in avoidance. Coventry were awarded a 5-1 with Hume disqualified, but that was as good as it got for the Storm.
Perry reeled in and moved inside Liam Carr to win Heat 4, and 5-1s in the next two races to the Brummies took them into a lead they never looked likely to lose.
Smith was unbeaten aside from his Heat 2 error and Bacon, another son of a former Coventry rider, was only denied a paid maximum in Heat 11 in a close finish with Carr for second place, one of several tight decisions during the meeting.
Four 5-1s in five races between Heats 9 and 13 looked to have the Brummies heading for a score in the mid-60s, but in the event Davey prevented damage on that scale by winning the last two races.
His Heat 15 victory was especially impressive as he picked up good speed on the first lap to go around Watjknecht and deny the Brummes’ No.1 a 15-point maximum.
But all in all it was a day to forget for the Storm, who continue to be hampered by injuries with both Conor Dwyer and Jamie Halder missing the fixture.
Coventry boss Laurence Rogers said: “Birmingham were very good. They were gating, we weren’t, and we had every bit of bad luck going with Dan having a meeting to forget.
“There were a couple of on-the-line decisions which I thought should have gone in our favour, but the big plus point was Mitchell Davey. He got better with every race and I think he’s going to be a great asset to us.
“The other rider I want to praise today, although he didn’t score many, was Callum Walker. He put 120 per cent effort in and was a bit downhearted that he didn’t get the points, but I’ve said to him he’s improving all the time, and one of these meetings it will click for him.
“We’re hoping to have Jamie Halder back in the near future. He was here again today, the wrist is out of plaster and it’s looking stronger. It should be three or four weeks at the most, hopefully three.”
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE COVENTRY 29: Mitchell Davey 10+1, Liam Carr 7, Ryan Terry-Daley 6, Callum Walker 3, Dan Greenwood 2, Robert Walker 1+1, Conor Dwyer R/R. BIRMINGHAM 61: Zach Wajtknecht 14, Tom Perry 10+2, Darryl Ritchings 9+2, Tom Bacon 8+2, Jack Smith 7+2, Danyon Hume 7, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 6+1.