In what is a rarity for them, Coventry Buildbase Bees managed to track almost their strongest side for the match at Wolverhampton on Monday night.
The only rider missing was reserve Nick Morris and his place was taken by Simon Lambert from Sheffield. Bees managed to take a bonus point for losing by less than seven points but there were a number of points thrown away and without these Bees could well have come away with their first away win of the season.
Wolverhampton 48, Bees 42.
This season’s truncated fixture list means that these two local rivals will only meet once home and away this season which is a disappointment to both sides. For at least two of Bees team, Emil Sayfutdinov and Peter Kildemand, this was their first experience of the tricky Monmore Green circuit.
Kenny Larsen made a good start by leading into the first turn of heat one but home star Fredrik Lindgren was soon into the lead. After a shaky couple of laps Sayfutdinov worked his way into second place.
The home pair of American reserves are reckoned to be the home side’s Achilles heel but Ricky Wells and Tyson Burmeister made no mistake in heat two despite a last-gasp attempt by Kildemand to snatch third.
Tai Woffinden led heat three but Przemyslaw Pawlicki went into the lead after Woffinden lifted coming out of turn four. Ryan Fisher took third place after a good battle with Ludvig Lindgren.
Heat four was run three times. Edward Kennett took a nasty tumble on the third turn whilst chasing the home pair and was excluded. In the rerun Kildemand fell on a tight first turn with no exclusion. At the third attempt Kildemand gated ahead of Peter Karlsson but could not hold the veteran Swede who went by at the end of the second lap.
A controversial exclusion for Larsen exceeding the time limit gave Kildemand his third outing in four races and he showed he was quickly getting to grips by combining with Sayfutdinov to hold out Ludvig Lindgren for a 3-3 heat result.
Kennett just missed out to Fredrik Lindgren in a tight finish to heat six but with Ty Proctor holding out Lambert, the home lead had increased to eight.
Bees wiped this out in the space of two races. Pawlicki and Fisher outgated Karlsson before Kildemand recorded his first win of the night in heat eight. Gating with Wells he took the home reserve wide and virtually putting him out of contention. Larsen then snatched second after Proctor hit trouble on the second turn.
Kennett was an easy winner of heat nine but no advantage was gained after Lambert lost out after holding third for a couple of laps.
There was more incident in heat ten. Fredrik Lindgren and Wells were leading but a determined Pawlicki went hard under Wells at the start of the final lap, causing Wells to fall. It was a case of did he fall or was he pushed. The referee opted for the latter and excluded Pawlicki and awarded the race 5-1 to Wolves.
Larsen fell on a tight first turn to heat eleven but surprisingly the referee allowed the race to go on and Karlsson held off a chasing Sayfutdinov and with Burmeister unopposed in third place the Wolves had a slightly more comfortable six point lead.
Kildemand won heat twelve but Fisher, who was originally in second place lost ground in successive laps after going too wide on turn two.
Kennett once again lost out after another good race with Fredrik Lindgren. Kennett actually took the lead entering turn three for the last time but could not hold it. Sayfutdinov failed to finish.
Pawlicki led heat fourteen but lifted on the back straight, allowing Woffinden by for his second win of the night.
Bees needed a result from the final race of the night. The meeting had started in shirtsleeve weather but rain was now falling. Pawlicki and Kennett made the start but a mistake by Kennett on the second lap let Lindgren through for second place. Fortunately Pawlicki held out and the 48-42 result gave Bees a valuable Elite League point.
This was a good result for Bees with Kildemand weighing up the track quicker than his more illustrious team mate.
Bee’s scorers; Kildemand 11(1), Pawlicki 11, Kennett 8, Sayfutdinov 5(1), Fisher 4(1), Larsen 3(2), Lambert 0.
Sayfutdinov was unlucky not to get a rostrum place in Saturday’s British Grand Prix in Cardiff. He started off with a zero in his opening race but he was off the graveyard gate one which yielded just twelve points from the opening twenty races. He then went on to score ten points to easily reach the semi-final. He won his semi, beating eventual winner Greg Hancock in the process. This gave him second choice of gates, thus avoiding one and almost certainly ensuring him of a top three place. In the event he was excluded from the final after falling on the first turn apparently the victim of the domino effect coming from the inside. The ironic thing is that the race should have been stopped earlier after Sayfutdinov had jumped the start. As it was, his thirteen points overall leaves him in seventh place in the GP rankings, eight points clear of his nearest challenger. The meeting was won by Greg Hancock with Nicki Pedersen second and Chris Holder third. Chris Harris finished in eleventh place with just six points and has got work to do if he is to get a top eight place.
Bees host King’s Lynn in a match rearranged after the original fixture was rained off a couple of weeks ago. With the next round of GP qualifiers taking place Bees will again be without a couple of riders. Edward Kennett is due to go to Daugavpils in Latvia and Przemyslaw Pawlicki is at Lonigo, Italy. Kennett will certainly be an absentee but there is a possibility that Pawlicki could make Lonigo after the meeting.
Emil Sayfutdinov, after a couple of false starts should make his home debut.
The meeting starts at the usual time of 8.00 p.m.