After their late start to the season Coventry Buildbase Bees are gradually catching up with their Elite League fixtures.
Two matches over the last week saw them pick up all three league points at home against Wolverhampton but on Monday in front of the Sky cameras they suffered a 24-point defeat against a Poole side that were smarting for revenge after last year’s play-off final.
Bees have already been hit by injuries, the latest being Przemyslaw Pawlicki, who suffered concussion in a crash in Poland on Sunday and has been ordered to rest for a week.
Bees 50, Wolverhampton 43.
With Tai Woffinden on the injured list, Wolverhampton appeared to be rather top heavy with their hopes resting very much on Fredrik Lindgren and veteran Peter Karlsson. Their problems increased when Karlsson was injured the previous night. Mads Korneliussen was drafted in as a guest but was not expected to make quite the impact as Brandon specialist Karlsson. Bees once again brought in Chris Harris for the injured Hans Andersen
As expected Fredrik Lindgren won the opening heat from Harris with Ty Proctor taking third from Kenni Larsen, who actually led going into the first turn.
Bee’s reserves took maximum points from heat two with Richard Sweetman winning from Josh Auty. Auty was on his first competitive appearance at Brandon this season and understandably felt his way round for the first couple of laps.
Bees made the start to heat three. Przemyslaw Pawlicki lifted coming out of turn two and with Proctor also finding problems the pair were fortunate not to collide. Pawlicki soon righted himself and followed Ryan Fisher for the second 5-1 of the night.
Korneliussen looked to be an able replacement for Karlsson and won heat four from Edward Kennett and Bees asset Ricky Wells. Sweetman just failed to snatch third place.
Bees made the start to heat five and danger man Fredrik Lindgren was moved out on the first turn. Lindgren had the speed and despite making a slight error second time around he managed to split Bees pair of Pawlicki and Fisher in an exciting finish to take second place on the line.
A messy first turn to heat six saw Larsen fall. A rerun with all four riders was ordered. In the restart Harris came out of a tight first turn ahead. Korneliussen took second with Larsen getting the better of Tyson Burmeister for third.
Kennett won heat seven with Auty earning the crowds approval for passing both opponents in successive laps on turn four.
Not surprisingly with the visitors now twelve points behind Fredrik Lindgren was given a tactical ride in heat eight. He easily took the six points but Sweetman and Larsen held out Wells to prevent any further damage.
Problems for the visitors came in heat nine. Fisher and Korneliussen touched coming out of the tapes and Burmeister was also caught up in a nasty three-man fall. Fisher and Burmeister were O.K. but the unlucky Korneliussen was forced to withdraw from the meeting. Wells came in as a replacement which left the two Wolves reserves to take on the might of Pawlicki and Fisher. The expected home 5-1 looked on until Fisher slowed on the last lap giving Wolves a share of the points.
Proctor made the start to heat ten but was passed by Harris at the end of lap one. Bees looked set for four points until Larsen slowed in similar to Fisher the previous race so Bees could again only share the points.
Auty took a tumble entering the first turn to heat eleven. His machine appeared to have suffered more than him as he just made the tapes for the restart on Sweetman’s bike. Fredrik Lindgren was the winner with Bees quickly disposing of Wells for another drawn heat.
Wolves made the start to heat twelve. Both Pawlicki and Sweetman were soon by Burmeister and then Pawlicki used the faster outside line to chase race leader Ludvig Lindgren. He overcooked it coming out of turn two for the last time and took a tumble. This left the younger Lindgren as race winner and Bees just seven ahead.
Fredrik Lindgren won a shared heat thirteen after a good race with Harris.
Proctor fought off pressure from Fisher to win heat fourteen and although Bees had won the match there was still the bonus point to be decided.
Bees needed three points from this race and with Fredrik Lindgren and the fast starting Procter in it there was no room for any more slip-ups. In the event Harris held out for nearly three laps before Lindgren forced a way through. Proctor was out of the picture so the necessary points were gained to give Bees a 50-43 victory.
Bees should have won this by a greater but after Korneliussen was withdrawn instead of pushing home their advantage, thanks to a series of falls and machine failures they actually lost the last seven races by two points.
The only real disappointment in Bees side was Larsen who in the number two spot could only muster paid three points. Conversely Bees reserve pairing outscored their opponents by paid seventeen to four.
Bee’s scorers: Harris 12, Pawlicki 9(2), Auty 8(2), Kennett 7(2), Sweetman 7, Fisher 5(1), Larsen 2(1).
Poole 55, Bees 31.
(Abandoned after heat fourteen, but result stands)
Friday’s match was eventful enough but this one turned out even more so. Bees were weakened by the absence of Pawlicki and had to operate rider replacement.
Scott Nicholls came in as a guest for Hans Andersen but a slow start to heat one saw him relegated to third place behind the Poole opening pair of Chris Holder and Renat Gafurov.
Heat two, in an odd way changed the course of the match and gave the advantage to the home side. Christian Hefenbrock appeared to clip Sweetman’s back wheel and career into the fence. There was a long delay while he was treated for possible neck injuries and taken to hospital. This meant that his in-form partner Dennis Andersson could take extra rides. Andersson duly came out to win the rerun.
There was more incident in heat three when Fisher attempted an inside pass on race leader Jason Doyle, picked up some unwanted grip on the third turn and sent both careering into the fence. Both recovered and Doyle won the rerun. Larsen briefly held second before being passed by Darcy Ward.
Kennett steadied the ship with a good win in heat four but no advantage was gained as Sweetman just lost out on third after a good battle with Davey Watt.
Doyle received some rough treatment from Bees pair in heat five but Nicholls and Larsen managed to consolidate behind Ward.
Kennett won a shared heat six before Fisher was out for another hair raising outing. He cut across partner Sweetman on the first turn causing him to fall and the next time round lifted spectacularly and just managed to stay on. This left Watt and Andersson to ride to the first of four successive 5-1’s to put the match out of Bees reach. An attempt to keep within distance had already failed after Kennett finished last in heat nine while on a tactical ride.
Nicholls was given the second tactical in heat eleven, although unable to beat Watt out of the gate he combined with Larsen to keep out Andersson for a 5-3 race win, the only Bees one of the night.
Andersson was now tiring and Fisher, despite more fence-scraping antics, and Auty managed to keep him at the back for a shared heat twelve.
Holder managed to keep out a chasing Kennett and Nicholls for a win in heat thirteen.
Heat fourteen saw the end of the match. Andersson led the race and all eyes appeared to be on the battle royal between Doyle and Fisher. Very few people saw Auty pick up coming out of the second bend and in turn collecting Andersson with both crashing into the fence. The following pair managed to avoid them. The riders were relatively unhurt but the biggest casualty was a fence post that was broken off. With the 10.00 p.m. curfew rapidly approaching there was no time to repair the fence so the match was abandoned. But as the mandatory twelve heats had been completed the result stands.
This was not a good night for Bees with no one really able to master the patchy Wimborne Road circuit.
Bees’ scorers: Kennett 9, Nicholls 7(2), Auty 6, Larsen, Fisher 4(1), Sweetman 1(1).
Again Bees find themselves without a match on Friday. Before that they visit Birmingham in a match they should be able to take at least a point from.
Birmingham, like Bees have problems with their number one rider. Krzysztof Kasprzak has been prevented from riding in England by his Polish club because of poor performances in his homeland. Birmingham are trying to get the ban lifted but it is unlikely to be lifted by Thursday. The Brummies also track Ben Barker, who will be looking to put one over his old team mates.