Despite the usual Bank Holiday weather, Coventry Buildbase Bees managed to get one of their scheduled meetings in, holding a weakened Peterborough team to a draw in the morning meeting at Alwalton.
The evening meeting at Brandon was an early victim of the rain, as was the rest of the Elite League programme. The cancellation may well have suited the play-off chasing Panthers as at the time of the call off, they were only able to name four riders.
Peterborough 45, Bees 45
For once Bees could name a full squad but for their hosts it was a different story. Already missing number one Kenneth Bjerre and his race partner Norbert Kosciuth they were rocked with the news that Michael Jepsen Jensen had been injured in Poland the day before. They had already booked Rory Schlein as a guest for Bjerre and quickly brought in Henning Bager to face his old team. Rider replacement was operated for Jepsen Jensen.
Bees made a good start with Chris Harris and Adam Roynon taking an easy 5-1 over Schlein and Bager.
Richard Lawson won heat two with Michal Szczepaniak and Aaron Summers quickly getting past Peterborough debutee Tomas H. Jonasson.
Linus Sundstrom won heat three from Kenni Larsen but Bees looked set to share the points before Lawson passed a still struggling Edward Kennett.
Scott Nicholls and Szczepaniak took another maximum in heat four to put Bees six points up.
Any thought of any easy Bees win were soon dispelled as the home side appeared to get into their stride. Sundstrom and Buczkowski made the start to heat six but slight hesitation by Sundstrom gave Harris a chance and his momentum also took him be Buczkowski entering the third turn. With Roynon failing to finish the points were shared.
Heat seven saw a good race between Buczkowski and Larsen with the Bees man losing out after a last bend mistake. With Kennett again at the back Bees lead was slowly dwindling.
Heat eight was probably the best race of the meeting so far. Jonasson came on the back of two lasts to win his first race. Roynon came in second with Bager getting the better of Szczepaniak.
Peterborough looked set to go ahead in heat nine but a last gasp effort by Nicholls gave him second place over Lawson in a tight finish.
Bees did eventually yield in heat ten. Schlein won a good battle with Larsen but with Bager taking third over Kennett, Peterborough now led by two points.
Harris won heat eleven but Roynon was squeezed out on turn one and could make no impression on the home pair.
Bees have lost so many matches in the closing heats after holding an early lead and this match looked to be going the same way after Sundstrom and Jonasson slammed in an easy 5-1 to increase the lead to six.
Harris and Nicholls came to the rescue in heat thirteen after taking advantage of a second turn mix-up by Schlein and Buczkowski to record maximum points and bring Bees back in the hunt.
Sundstrum won heat fourteen from Larsen with Szczepzniak taking the valuable third place point to set up a last heat decider.
Nicholls made the gate for a good win and with Harris holding out Buczkowski for third Bees had plundered a draw out of a contest that seemed to be slipping away mid match.
The return of Nicholls was undoubtedly the catalyst. He dropped just one point to the opposition and with good support from Harris and Larsen, Bees just held their own. The form of Kennett continues to disappoint and it hopes he can recover before the K.O.Cup is resumed.
Bees’ scorers: Nicholls 13(1), Harris 12(1), Larsen 8, Szczepaniak 7(1), Roynon 4(1), Summers 1(1).
It was another disappointing night for Chris Harris in the British GP at Cardiff on Saturday. Harris, a previous winner, was hoping this was to be the meeting that started his climb up the rankings. After scoring just two points in his first three races he recovered to take four from his last two but was still short of a semi-final place. Scott Nicholls, taking the wild card spot, finished one point better off and missed out on the semis by virtue of the count back system. He could consider himself slightly unlucky as he was leading heat twelve before Jason Crump crashed out and the race was rerun. In the restart he could only manage third. The meeting was won by Chris Holder who now moves to within one point of series leader Greg Hancock.
This is turning out to be one of Bees busiest weeks of the season. Last night they should have, weather permitting, ridden at Belle Vue. Tonight (Thursday) they are due at Swindon and tomorrow they host Wolverhampton. The Wolves are led by Fredrik Lindgren, who disappointed on his last visit to Brandon and will surely improve this time. They also have Tai Woffinden, Nicolai Klindt and fast improving Bees asset, Ricky Wells.
The Wolverhampton match starts at 8pm.