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PREMIERSHIP PREVIEW: BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM are one of two newcomers to the Premiership this season with the Brummies stepping back up to the top-flight for the first time since 2014.

It’s been a roller-coaster decade for the Perry Barr side, who actually finished top of the old Elite League in 2013 only to miss out in the Grand Final against Poole.

They spent four years at National Development League level, winning the title in 2015 and 2016, before moving back to the Championship in 2019, and the current consortium fronted by Nigel Tolley took charge ahead of the 2022 campaign.

Whilst the club experienced tough times in terms of results at that level, many improvements have taken place in the last couple of years, most notably to track conditions at the Second City venue.

Their future was once again plunged into doubt last autumn due to changes to the greyhound racing schedule at the stadium, and their move into the Premiership was largely through necessity as Monday became the only available race-night.

But that’s not unusual in the history of the club as their meetings at the ‘old’ Perry Barr also took place on Mondays prior to that venue’s closure in the early 1980s.

Birmingham’s elevation also ensures West Midlands representation in the Premiership after the sad loss of Wolverhampton due to stadium issues, and there’s a significant Monmore flavour in the Brummies’ 2024 set-up both on and off the track.

Three members of last year’s Wolves team have made the move to Birmingham for this year, with current British No.2 STEVE WORRALL starting the season as third heat-leader, whilst at reserve ZACH COOK and LEON FLINT (as Rising Star) have the potential to be one of the most potent pairings in the league in that department.

Brummies have also moved to sign former British Under-21 Champion TOM BRENNAN after three years with Belle Vue, and Brennan knows the Perry Barr track well after making several guest appearances for the club in the past two seasons.

The remaining three signings have all been recruited from Europe with one complete newcomer to British Speedway and two others making their returns after around a decade away.

PIOTR PAWLICKI was a hugely exciting talent when he burst onto the scene with spells at Coventry, Poole and Wolverhampton in the early 2010s, and the Pole went on to become World No.6 in 2016 and won the Latvian GP the following year.

Now he comes back into British racing alongside his continental commitments for Zielona Gora and Piraterna, and he’ll be joined at the top of the Brummies’ order by Czech racer VACLAV MILIK, who previously lined up for King’s Lynn and Poole and went close to the Speedway Euro Championship title on a couple of occasions.

Making his debut in the UK this year is the exciting young Pole WIKTOR LAMPART, who races alongside Emil Sayfutdinov and Robert Lambert for Torun in the Ekstraliga.

The Brummies also have a new team manager in 2024. Leicester boss Stewart Dickson ‘doubled-up’ with the club last year in the Championship, but the man in charge now is 1993 World Champion Sam Ermolenko who brings a wealth of racing and mechanical knowledge, and he will be assisted by Chris Adams who will be another familiar face to the former Wolves riders after standing in on occasions for his father Peter.

CURTIS SPORT BIRMINGHAM BRUMMIES 2024

Piotr Pawlicki 7.50

Vaclav Milik 7.50

Steve Worrall 6.44

Wiktor Lampart 6.00

Tom Brennan 5.87

Zach Cook 5.10

Leon Flint RS

*Subject to approval