SPEEDWAY: by Alan Goodman

Good effort, now this weekend is make or break

The busy International programme over the weekend once again left Bees with a weakened team for the two Monday Bank Holiday meetings against Peterborough. Injuries left them without the trio of Eastern European riders. Their many absences have caused Bees big problems this season and could well cost them a place in the Elite League play-offs. This is a situation that Bees must rectify when planning next season’s team. Good riders they may be but dependable they are not. As it was a team with three guests and operating rider replacement managed to take three points from the two encounters which was a good effort in the circumstances.

Peterborough 54, Bees 40.

Elite League

With Emil Sayfutdinov taking two week’s break with a shoulder injury and Piotr Pawlicki receiving concussion in an under 21 meeting in Vojens their troubles worsened when Przemyslaw Pawlicki quoted an old knee injury as a reason not to travel, Alun Rossiter had to quickly draft in Danny King and James Holder to join Rory Schlein on Bees long guest list.

There were more problems early on when Schlein injured a finger in avoiding the fallen Krzysztof Buzkowski in heat one. With Nicki Pedersen the only finisher, Kenny Larsen having already pulled out with machine problems, the race was awarded with Schlein given second place.

The home side increased their lead with maximum points in a thrice started heat two.

Some good work by Ryan Fisher in heat three pulled Bees back into the match. After being overtaken by Linus Sundstrom he regained the lead on lap two and in doing so made enough room for partner King to come through into second.

Peterborough hit back immediately with maximum points after Fisher, after passing Troy Batchelor, fell in his efforts to catch Kacper Gomolski.

Another home maximum in the next put the home side well in the driving seat.

King won a restarted heat six before coming out worst in a tight first turn to heat seven. Fisher and Batchelor passed and repassed before the Coventry man took the flag.

Buckowski won heat eight with partner Gomolski taking second after a good scrap with Auty.

Schlein was given a tactical ride in heat nine and despite missing the gate hunted down both Kosciuch and Sundstrom to earn the six points for Bees.

A good heat ten saw Buzkowski make the start. Pedersen went from third to first on the third turn while Buczkowski went the other way. He managed to regain third from Fisher only to find himself excluded for crossing the white line earlier!

Peterborough took a 4-2 in the next with Bees negating this in heat twelve after Auty had come from the back for a good win and Fisher taking third.

Schlein held off Batchelor to prevent a home maximum in heat thirteen but the three match points were almost in the bag for the homesters.

King was given the second tactical ride in heat fourteen and looked at one stage to be heading for the six points. Unfortunately he lost out to Sundstrom on the third lap. Auty took third to give Bees a 5-3 heat advantage.

A maximum in heat fifteen would have given Bees a point but it was Peterborough who easily took the honours giving them a final score of 54-40.

This was a good performance from a patched-up Bees team with only Larsen disappointing after his recent run of good form.

Bee’s scorers; King 12(1), Schlein 12, Fisher 8(1), Auty 6(1), Holder, Larsen 1.

Bees 49, Peterborough 41

Elite League

Both sides made one change from the morning meeting, Nick Morris came in for Josh Auty and Michael Jepsen Jensen came in for Norbert Kosciuch.

Bees made a poor start to the match with the visitors taking an opening 4-2 after Schlein had overtaken Pedersen on the second lap.

The visiting reserves then raced to a maximum 5-1 to open up an early 9-3 lead.

Things started to go better in heat three when Fisher and King made the start. King held out Sundstrom for two laps. Sunstrom also briefly went by Fisher after the Bees skipper mistook him for partner King. He recovered to regain the lead coming out of turn two on the last lap.

Peterborough made the start to heat four but both Bees took advantage of a Gomolski mistake at the end of lap one. Unfortunately Gomolski regained third by the end of the race to put the visitors 15-9 ahead.

Fisher and King held off an early challenge from Buczkowski to record a much-needed 5-1 and bring Bees back to within two points.

Larsen pulled himself out of the doldrums and recorded his first race win of the day in heat six after going round Batchelor coming out of turn two. With Schlein taking third Bees were now level.

Peterborough went back ahead in the next through Sundstrom. King took second from Jensen but Holder failed to finish.

A 5-1 was always on the cards for Bees in heat eight and Larsen and Morris duly obliged after coming out of a tight first turn ahead.

Heat nine was run three times. At the first attempt Dakota North clashed on the first turn with Fisher coming down. More first bend bunching saw Fisher come down again at the next attempt. At the third time of asking the visitors made the start but Fisher and King used the inside line well to take the minor places behind Batchelor.

Schlein went round the outside of a tight first turn to take the lead in heat ten. Larsen was last away but managed to get the better of Jensen to take third place and put Bees four ahead.

Pedersen had had a poor night up to now but changed machines and stormed to an easy heat eleven win over Schlein. With Buczkowski in third the gap was back down to two.

Fisher made the start to heat twelve and Morris went round the outside to take the lead. Bees then held off a strong challenge from Jensen to take maximum points.

Heat thirteen provided the talking point of the match. This race beat all previous multi starts and took four attempts to run. Twice Fisher came down on the first turn after clashing with Pedersen and Batchelor. On attempt they got turn three but this time Fisher again came down when again clashing with Pedersen. Pedersen was excluded much to the disgust of the visiting management. Schlein, who had made the start in the previous attempts, went out and did it again and held off Batchelor to ensure Bees at least a draw.

Morris was now on song and along with King used the outside line to take the lead and score maximum points in heat fourteen.

Fisher was again the centre of controversy in heat fifteen. Just before the start he suffered machine problems and was excluded on the two-minute rule. Bees decided to replace him with Morris but the rules would not allow this. It was then decided to give the place to Schlein, who had hardly got his helmet on before he was also ruled ineligible. In the end Fisher was ready to go out on fifteen metres only to be excluded a second time on two minutes! The visitors finally took maximum points in a three-man race to make the final score 49-41 with Bees taking all three match points.

This was a good performance with guests Schlein and King again outstanding. They had good backing from Fisher and Larsen with Morris being unbeaten in his last three rides and contributing a valuable paid ten score.

Bee’s scorers; King 11(1), Schlein 11, Fisher 10(2), Larsen 9, Morris 8(2), Holder 0.

Despite his injured shoulder Emil Sayfutdinov took part in the GP at Torun, Poland on Saturday, finishing on seven points and missing out on a semi-final place by virtue of the countback system. He was more fortunate than Chris Harris who was completely off the pace, failing to score. His chances of a place next year must now depend on a wild card selection.

The meeting, held in glorious sunshine in a new state-of-the-art purpose built stadium that British Clubs would die for, was won by Andreas Jonson from Jarek Hamper and Wild Card Darcy Ward.

Preview.

It is make or break this weekend for Bees as they face three vital matches in three days. On Thursday they go to Swindon for the rearranged Elite League fixture before they host League high flyers on Friday. On Saturday the return fixture with Eastbourne is the second half of a double-header meeting at Arlington. Wolverhampton are in the first match. Bees will almost certainly know their fate concerning the play-offs by Saturday night.