Elite League: Mikkel Michelsen inspires Eastbourne Eagles to home victory
Last Updated: 29/07/13 9:57pm
Bjarne Pedersen: Won the final race of the night after Chris Harris crashed out
Eastbourne Eagles recorded a 51-41 triumph over Birmingham Brummies, handing the reigning Elite League leaders just their third reverse of the season.
Inspired by debutant Mikkel Michelsen winning the opening heat of the meeting at Arlington Stadium, the Eagles soared on home turf to upset the odds in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
"I knew I could do something - it's about making the start and keeping it on full throttle."
The Brummies couldn't even pick up a point in defeat, coming out on the wrong end of a 5-1 result in the final heat when the otherwise excellent Chris Harris crashed in the air fence.
The British rider had before then been superb for Birmingham, winning his first four races. Captain Danny King (10+1) also managed a double-point haul and Jason Doyle contributed nine, but for once they lacked depth in their line-up.
Nicolas Covatti was scoreless from his three rides, while the usually reliable Martin Smolinski could only muster a solitary point.
Not even a tactical ride - the first time Birmingham have had to use the black-and-white cap in the campaign so far - could prevent them from being well beaten on their travels.
Although their play-off hopes still look slim to say the least, Eastbourne had given their opponents a warning when they were narrowly beaten in Birmingham the previous week.
This time, though, they had the added bonus of Michelsen being in their side. The Danish teenager made an instant impact in his opening race and went on to post an 11+2 return.
"I guess that's alright," he told Sky Sports after coming second to team-mate Bjarne Pedersen in the 15th heat. "I knew I could do something - it's about making the start and keeping it on full throttle. I'm pretty stoked with my performance tonight."
The Eagles opened up an early cushion and, crucially, managed to stop Birmingham getting any heat advantages when they reeled off four successive victories from race four onwards.
Pedersen's success in heat 10 put the hosts into a double-digit lead for the first time and then Timo Lahti managed to hold off Doyle in the next, denying Birmingham a six-pointer they so desperately needed.
Meanwhile, Monday's meeting between Belle Vue and Poole fell victim of the weather and Wolverhampton, with Tai Woffinden and Adam Skornicki both scoring 12+1, defeated Coventry 55-37.