Coventry Buildbase Bees sent their fans home happy on Friday after an amazing turnaround to beat rivals Birmingham Brummies 47-43.
Trailing by six points with three heats to go Bees dropped just one more point to the opposition to take a great win which also dented Birmingham’s Elite League play-off hopes.
With teams in both leagues struggling to catch up fixtures lost through the awful summer weather, both teams had problems with their doubling-up riders. Bees tracked Chris Schramm in one of the reserve spots while their visitors were without two of their former Bees riders, Ben Barker and Josh Auty. They were forced to utilise rider-replacement and bring in Sam Masters as a reserve guest.
Bjarne Pedersen and Martin Smolinski made the start in heat one but a good ride by Chris Harris saw him go between the pair to take the lead going into the third turn. The positions remained unaltered so the heat points were shared.
The visitors again led into the turn of heat two. Any chance of Bees getting by went when Schramm baulked Michal Szczepaniak on the first bend. By the time he got clear Masters and Nicolas Covatti were well clear. Szczepaniak did not give up and made up a lot of ground but just failed to get second on the run in to the line.
Edward Kennett and Kenni Larsen took an untroubled maximum in heat three to bring the scores level.
Scott Nicholls and Szczepaniak repeated the dose in heat four before Kennett came out ahead of a tight back straight to win heat five. Unfortunately the points were only shared as Larsen cruised home at the back after nearly coming to grief on the Rugby turn.
It was Birmingham’s turn for maximum points in the next. After disappointing in his first outing Sebastian Ulamek led from the start in heat six followed by partner Covatti. Harris made up little ground until the last lap only to fall on the last turn.
Birmingham’s top three were now getting into their stride and Danny King resisted an attempt by Nicholls to force him out on the first turn of heat seven. Schramm struggled to keep out Covatti and lifted on the last lap and went over the back, injuring his foot which caused him to withdraw from the rest of the meeting.
Szczepaniak won a rerun heat eight. Lanham had been helped into second by his partner coming out of turn two but could not hold out and was passed by Smolinski and the end of the third lap. At the halfway stage the scores were tied at 24 each.
Ulamek won heat nine from Larsen with Kennett hanging on to third after a mistake at the end of the third lap.
A hectic start to heat ten saw elbows flying going in to the first turn but it was King and Ulamek who got the advantage and despite a good effort by Harris the points went Birmingham’s way giving them a four point lead.
Birmingham at this stage were generally quicker from the starts and Pedersen and Smolinski led in heat eleven. Nicholls gave chase and his persistence was rewarded with second spot on the line. Birmingham was now six ahead and looking to bank at least three valuable League points.
King became the first man to win from the graveyard gate three with Szczepaniak in second. Kennett was held up for three laps by Covetti but switched back on turn two to take third place.
Still six behind and with Birmingham’s top guns out in heats thirteen and fifteen the odds were heavily stacked against Bees.
It took a good ride from Bees to keep them in the hunt. Not for the first time they were outgated. Ulamek was despatched to the back on the back straight before Harris went underneath Pedersen on the start of lap two.
The resulting 4-2 gave hope and a good result was needed from heat fourteen and Szczepaniak did the honours in a good race. Szczepzniak came out of a tight first turn ahead while Larsen squeezed around the outside of a wide riding Smolinski to follow his partner home. This brought the scores back level and another last heat decider in the offing.
Birmingham with Pedersen and King, who had won his last three outings, must still have been favourites. It was Harris and Nicholls who took the honours. Once again Birmingham were the better away but not by much and King was soon left. Nicholls then took the lead on the back straight before Harris chased Pedersen and took second on lap two to give Bees an improbable 47-43 win.
Although they took one point from the meeting Birmingham must be wondering how it was not more as they as renown for their strong finishes to a meeting.
It was a good night for Szczepaniak who showed why he had been on Bees radar by topping the scoring with paid 12 from seven rides.
Bees scorers: Szczepaniak 11(1), Nicholls 11, Harris 9(1), Kennett 8(2), Larsen 6(2), Lanham 2, Schramm 0.
King’s Lynn 45 Bees 45
This was a fixture hurriedly re-staged after last Wednesday’s rain-off. Only pride was at stake but it turned out an excellent contest.
Bees were almost back to full strength with Josef Franc in for the injured Adam Roynon. The hosts were without Mateusz, the elder Szczepaniak and also had Ryan Fisher guesting in place of Maciej Janowski.
Harris won a shared heat one before Bees went behind in heat two with the home side taking maximum points.
Larsen won heat three but with Fisher blocking every Kennett move to take third Bees still trailed.
The first of a series of entertaining races came in heat four with Nicholls, Szczepaniak and Ulrich Ostergaard all involved in the action which saw Nicholls come from the back to take Ostergaard on the line.
Harris overtook Fisher to win heat five before Nicholls was involved in another good race in heat six again having to come from behind to take second behind Niels Kristian Iversen. With Franc taking third the scores remained level.
Bees went ahead in heat seven through a Kennett – Larsen 4-2 before Daniel Nermark came from behind to win heat eight and with Ostergaard taking third the home side were back ahead.
Mads Korneliussen won heat nine with Nicholls having to battle it out with Fisher before taking second.
Iversen won heat ten from Larsen with Kennett losing out to Kevin Wolbert on lap three. The 4-2 saw the Stars increase their lead to four.
Heat eleven was shared before Kennett and Szczepaniak both overtook Korneliussen in heat twelve to bring the scores back level.
Harris won heat 13 with Nicholls again in the thick of it, having to work hard to take third.
Larsen and Fisher collided coming from the tapes in heat fourteen with the latter’s fall being quite spectacular. Fortunately both were able to take their places in the restart.
Fisher showed no ill effects and led from the start. Wolbert came from the back to take third.
This again left it all hinging on the final race. Bees had early hopes of a win after Harris and Nicholls made the start. Iversen had other ideas however, and passed both riders on lap one. They managed to hold out Nermark and come out of the match with an honourable draw.
Bees scorers: Harris 13, Nicholls 9(1), Larsen 8, Szczepaniak 7(2), Kennett 6, Summers, Franc 1