COVENTRY Storm fell to a 53-35 defeat at runaway National League leaders Birmingham on Wednesday.
The City Gearboxes Storm did, however, achieve the notable feat of recording more race winners than the hosts during the Perry Barr contest as Storm riders took the flag in eight of the fifteen heats.
Four of those wins went to a hugely impressive Mitchell Davey, who was only denied a faultless 15-point maximum by an engine blow-up in his third ride.
With Ellis Perks proving an excellent guest for the injured Dan Greenwood and captain Liam Carr always in the thick of the action, the Storm avoided the kind of scoreline suffered by several visitors to Birmingham this season, although the Brummies’ strength in depth meant they were always likely to come out on top.
It was also a bruising night for certain riders as Ryan Terry-Daley was forced to withdraw from his final outing with lower back pain after a spill in Heat 10.
The Storm had held a 4-2 in that race which would have reduced the deficit to eight points, but Terry-Daley’s turn-four spill was followed by Davey’s engine failure in the re-run to hand the Brummies a 5-0 and total control of the meeting.
Perks won his first three rides, getting the better of Tom Bacon with a terrific move in Heat 5, whilst Carr was victorious in Heat 4 before recording hard-charging second places in his next two outings.
A 5-1 from home duo Darryl Ritchings and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn over the Storm reserves in Heat 12 sealed their victory, and Perks missed out on his own maximum score to a good move by Tom Perry in Heat 13.
Davey took the penultimate race before the meeting finished in bizarre fashion with Carr clashing with Danyon Hume on the home straight in Heat 15 as the riders contested third place.
Both then fell on their way into the first turn, and with referee Mick Posselwhite ruling they had come down independently, both were disqualified with Davey getting the better of Perry in the re-run.
Storm boss Laurence Rogers said: “Our top three were absolutely superb, even with a bit of bad luck mixed in because Mitchell would have had his first-ever 15-point maximum but for blowing his engine to smithereens.
“All in all, we pushed them hard and it would have been closer but for that and Liam being disqualified in Heat 15 which was very peculiar, and I did disagree with the decision because Danyon fell first and if Liam had kept going he would have run Danyon over.
“Ellis was a bit peeved that he didn’t get his maximum, but he did a great job for us and he may well be back in our colours guesting again soon.
“Ryan is quite sore with pains in his back, so we’ll see how he is in the morning and if necessary he’ll go for an x-ray, but he’s more upset with himself for only scoring one point.”
BIRMINGHAM 53: Tom Perry 11, Danyon Hume 10+1, Jack Smith 9+3, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 8+3, Darryl Ritchings 8+2, Tom Bacon 5, Luke Chessell 2+1. COVENTRY 35: Mitchell Davey 12, Ellis Perks 11, Liam Carr 8+1, Callum Walker 2, Ryan Terry-Daley 1, Jamie Halder 1, Conor Dwyer 0.