OXFORD Spires raced to victory with a 37-23 win in a rain-affected meeting at Birmingham Brummies.

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

Chris Harris, Maciej Janowski and Erik Riss were unbeaten, although Riss was excluded from Heat 9 under the two-minute time allowance due to mechanical problems.

Despite that, Spires were nervy early on, with three riders picking up warnings for moving at the tapes in the first three races.

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Spires took the lead with a 5-1 in Heat 4, thanks to Riss and Harris, with a superb charge from fourth to second by the latter.

Oxford then opened up a 10-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 Fredrik Lindgren to join Riss for a 5-1.

Janowski won Heat 7, with Charles Wright winning the battle for third place with Tom Brennan.

By that time, the rain had started, and race times were about 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 to join Wright for a 5-1 that moved Spires 14 points ahead.

As the losing team, Brummies could request a track inspection, and the meeting was abandoned, with the result to stand.

Oxford Mail:

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 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.

“Erik was on it again. He missed his last ride after something went wrong on his bike, but we were 10 points in front at the time and with Bomber out there, I knew we could take a 3-3 to maintain our lead. After 10 races were completed, we knew we were going to get a result.”