Coventry Buildbase Bees are now facing a struggle to complete their Elite fixtures before the September cut-off date.
Two postponements over the last week did not help their cause and one in particular, away at Belle Vue, looks set to be raced later. As neither side now have any interest in the competition, this will be virtually a dead rubber.
Bees still have the home match against Peterborough to restage and a date for this should be announced shortly. Of the matches that were raced they lost at Swindon in dreadful conditions before riding their second drawn match of the week, this time against Wolverhampton.
Swindon 51, Bees 39
Swindon’s meeting three days earlier had been postponed due to a flooded track and with little time to prepare it was still very wet and heavy. Reports from the pits indicate that neither side wanted to race but with such a backlog of fixtures, the referee ruled that it should go ahead. Apart from Leigh Lanham replacing Aaron Summers Bees were at full strength. The home side were missing number one Hans Andersen but had recruited Blunsden expert Rory Schlein as a replacement.
Bees took an early lead in a race that gave an indication of the problems that lay ahead. Chris Harris won from Schlein but Simon Stead fell on the third lap and Adam Roynon had to take evasive action and also fell. The race was not stopped and both riders remounted with Roynon taking third.
There were more falls in heat two when Nick Morris and Lanham fell on turn four. Both riders cleared the track and the race continued with two riders, Dawid Lampart getting the verdict over Michal Szczepaniak.
Swindon took maximum points in the next to go four points ahead.
Track grading took place before heat four which was won by Scott Nicholls who had to work his way past both Lampart and Troy Batchelor. Szczepaniak’s challenge for third ended after he locked up at the start of the final lap.
Harris had to overtake Jason Doyle to win heat five and with Roynon taking third Bees trailed by just a single point.
Swindon took a 4-2 in a strung out heat six before more grading took place.
Heat seven was rerun after Kenni Larsen brought down Morris on a difficult turn three. Edward Kennett led the rerun but was reeled in by Batchelor who took the lead on the third lap.
Swindon took maximum points in heat eight to go 28-19 ahead.
Heat nine was restarted after Peter Kildemand appeared to jump the start. Kildemand was again swiftly away in the restart with Bees taking the minor places after Doyle had fallen.
Schlein used the outside line to good effect to win heat ten and the resulting 4-2 put the home side eleven ahead, prompting Bees to give Harris a tactical ride in the next. This race spelt disaster for Roynon who took a heavy fall into the turn three fence. A long delay followed while the ambulance was brought on to the track. Later reports indicated he had crushed vertebrae’s at the bottom of his back. When the race eventually got underway Batchelor won from the tapes, restricting Harris’ contribution to four points and no advantage gained. Heat twelve was restarted after Kennett got the rough end of first bend bunching. In the restart Kildemand made another lightning start. With Lampart passing Szczepaniak at the end of the first lap, Bees were further in arrears.
Bees were given a lifeline in heat thirteen. Batchelor fell on turn three with Schlein also coming down. The former was excluded. Schlein was the next to go falling on the third lap of the restart, leaving Bees to take a 5-0.
Swindon made sure of the points in a controversial heat fourteen. Szczepaniak fell on a tight first turn with a rerun with all four back being ordered. In the restart Bees were on a 5-1 when Lampart fell. He appeared to deliberately stay down to get the race stopped again. His doubtful methods worked and at the third attempt Doyle went round the outside for a good win, leaving the Bees camp fuming.
Swindon took maximum points in the final race to deprive Bees of at least one league point. It was also noticeable that Harris immediately got off the track after falling when in second place.
Conditions played a big part in this match but Bees could not be faulted for their efforts. Kennett had a much better meeting than of late but it was his partner Larsen who struggled scoring in only one of his rides.
Bees scorers; Harris 13, Nicholls 10(1), Kennett 7, Szczepaniak 5, Roynon 2, Larsen, Lanham 1)(1).
Bees 45, Wolverhampton 45.
With both teams out of the play-off race this meeting was just for local bragging rights although when these two teams meet, matches are always fiercely contested.
Bees made one chance from the previous night. Lanham moved up to number two, allowing Josef Franc to come in the reserve spot. The visitors had rider replacement for Nicolai Klindt and with both regular reserves missing, tracked Mason Compton and Jason Bunyan.
In an attempt to ease the rain problems the track was slicker than usual, making gating of paramount importance.
Wolves made the start to heat one with Harris passing Ty Proctor on the back straight of heat one. He could make no impression on Fredrik Lindgren so the visitors took an early lead.
Bees took two maximums in largely processional heats two and three before Tai Woffinden took the lead out of a tight first turn to head home Nicholls and Szczepaniak to steady the ship.
Lindgren and Proctor took heat five with a challenge from Larsen ending when a dropped chain caused him to fall on lap three.
Harris got the better of Woffinden to win heat six and with Lanham taking third Bees were four ahead.
A good race between Ricky Wells and Nicholls saw the former Bee take three points and keep Bees in sight.
Lanham led heat eight but Proctor went by on the back straight while behind them a good race developed with Bunyan getting the advantage over Szczepaniak.
Bees made the start to heat nine. Woffinden went underneath Larsen to take second place going into turn three. Larsen recovered to regain his place and hold out Woffinden in the best race of the night so far.
Lanham was making the starts but unable to hold his advantage. Again in heat ten he led into the turn. Woffinden forced his way by both Lanham and Harris. While this was happening Wells somehow slipped by to take second. Harris gave chase and managed to get his man at the start of the third lap. Riders were now going out to the fence to chase what little extra grip there was.
Lindgren and Proctor took maximum points over Nicholls to bring the scores level and once again Bees were looking vulnerable in the latter stages.
With Wolves looking to be the stronger in heats thirteen and fifteen, Bees need a good result from the other two remaining races.
Szczepaniak and Kennett made the start to heat twelve and after an early challenge from Wells was seen off, the pair comfortably took the much-needed five points.
There was fence scraping action from Woffinden and Nicholls in heat thirteen before the former drew away for a good win. With Lindgren taking third Bees now needed a share of the heat fourteen points.
As it was Larsen went on to win after coming under wide riding Wells on the third turn. Franc had a comfortable third after Bunyan almost came to grief on turn two. The resulting 4-2 ensured Bees of at least a draw but two points were needed to win.
It came as a slight surprise to some that Kennett and Larsen were nominated for the final heat instead of the more experienced pair of Harris and Nicholls. Whatever the reasons it was Lindgren who took the lead out of a tight back straight and despite the efforts of Kennett held on to give Wolves a honourable draw.
Once again Bees failure to preserve an early lead cost them dearly. It was imperative to go into the final races well ahead as the visitors had the stronger top end power of Lindgren and Woffinden to bring them back in contention.
All of Bees contributed but seven points each from Harris, Nicholls and Larsen was not good enough to give Bees victory.
Bees’ scorers: Kennett 10(1), Larsen 7(2), Szczepaniak 7(1) Harris, Nicholls 7, Franc 4(2), Lanham 3.
There is no match at Brandon on Friday but on Monday Bees contest a televised match at Lakeside and on Wednesday visit King’s Lynn.