Coventry Buildbase Bees finished their home Elite League programme with a convincing win over Peterborough Panthers last Wednesday.
Although out of the play-offs themselves they have had quite a say in the final two places as they have raced against the three contenders for these places in their final matches.
Bees 52, Peterborough 40.
Peterborough had to get something out of this match to get into the top four. Their task has made harder after injuries and Swedish League calls left them fielding a somewhat makeshift team. Number one Kenneth Bjerre had been out for a while with a broken leg only for his recently signed replacement, Ryan Sullivan, to receive a hand injury at Belle Vue two days before this match. Linus Sundstrom was required in Sweden and they were still without the long term injured Olly Allen. Mads Korneliussen and Rory Schlein were recruited as guests with rider replacement operated for Sundstrom.
Chris Harris opened with a relatively easy win over Norbert Koscuith with Aaron Summers taking third.
Bee’s reserves took maximum points out of heat two, although they had to work for it after the visitors led from the start. Josef Franc led out of a tight first turn before Michal Szczepaniak went from fourth to second on turn four.
Kenni Larsen and Edward Kennett took another maximum in heat three before Tomas H. Jonasson, who had looked very ineffective in his opening ride led Scott Nicholls for a couple of laps until the Bees man found a way through. With Szczepaniak taking third Bees led by 18-6 and a rout looked on the cards.
Peterborough however soon hit back with Korneliussen and Kosciuth taking an untroubled maximum in a restarted heat five to considerably reduce the deficit.
Krzysztof Buczkowski led heat six and resisted every attempt by Harris until the Bees skipper found a way by on the final lap. With Summers third Bees still led by ten.
Heat seven saw a good race between Nicholls and Schlein. Schlein find the narrowest of gaps between Nicholls and the fence to take the lead but a mistake on the final turn let the Bee’s man through for a share of the heat points.
Peterborough gave Kosciuch a tactical ride in heat eight and after leading from the tapes an 8-1 looked on the cards. Summers however had other ideas and after getting second spot he gave chase and passed Kosciuth at the end of lap two to reduce the heat advantage to 5-3 and leave the score 29-21 to Bees at the halfway stage.
Despite being taken wide by Larsen on the first turn Buczkowski hung on to win a shared heat nine.
Buczkowski was out again in the next and again led from the start. Harris was slow away but worked his way from the back and got his man on the back straight of lap four. With Summers retiring no advantage was gained.
Nicholls won heat eleven with Franc, recovering after being taken wide on the first bend, coming in third.
The visitors made the start to heat twelve but Kennett passed Jonasson at the start of the third lap to take second. Heat thirteen was twice restarted after Korneliussen appeared to anticipate the start. At the third attempt he did get away and moved Nicholls out on turn one in the process. Nicholls gave chase and in one of the best races of the night just failed to get the verdict in a tight finish.
Peterborough’s mid match efforts still left them in with a chance of at least one match point as they trailed by just six with two races to go.
Their task was made more difficult in heat fourteen after Larsen made good use of the inside line to come out of turn two ahead. With Franc taking third the visitors needed maximum points from the final race.
It all turned out a bit of an anti climax after Korneliussen stopped at the tapes and Bees took an easy 5-1 over Buczkowski to take the match by 52-40, a score which deprived Peterborough of a play-off place.
For Bees, Nicholls top scored with paid fourteen, missing out on a maximum by the width of a tyre. All of the rest contributed in a match which proved quite entertaining.
Bees scorer’s; Nicholls 13(1), Larsen 11, Harris 9, Kennett 6(2), Summers, Franc 5, Szczepzniak 3(1).
Chris Harris knows he will have to rely on the benevolence of the Grand Prix organisers if he is to take part in next years competition.
Another poor night at Vojens on Saturday saw him score just two points and with just one round remaining, there is no way that he can make the top eight.
He started off the night with a second place in his opening heat but a series of mishaps meant he failed to add to that total. In his second ride despite being in last position he looked to have one point when Peter Ljung fell on the fourth turn. Unfortunately he fell himself on the next corner and could only watch a remounted Ljung go by for third place. Another fall after hitting a rough patch followed and two zero’s ended his night.
The meeting was won by local wild card and Peterborough rider Michael Jepsen Jensen.
It is not known when Bees next home match will be as the K.O. Cup tie between Birmingham and Belle Vue has to be decided before the winners ride Bees in the semi-finals
The date for the outstanding Elite League match at Belle Vue has been fixed for next Wednesday Oct 3rd.
There still a few seats remaining on the coach to the Remembering Rico meeting at Lakeside tomorrow (Friday). The coach leaves Brandon at 3.00 p.m. and the cost is £17.00 and £15.00 concessions.
Bookings can be made by telephoning Rugby 562132.