Everything that could go wrong for Bees did go wrong!
Coventry Buildbase Bees recent winning run came to an end at Lakeside on Monday in quite convincing fashion. It was Bees thirteenth match of the season and nearly everything that go wrong did and but for the efforts of Krzysztof Kasprzak Bees would have taken a real hiding.
Lakeside 55, Bees 40.
Bees problems started before a race had been ridden with the news that skipper Scott Nicholls had broken a bone in his foot in Poland the day before. Bees therefore had to operate rider-replacement, which is not really satisfactory for the number two.
Bees got off to a reasonable start with Kasprzak winning heat one. Unfortunately partner Olly Allen, despite making the start, drifted in at the back.
Heat two saw Aaron Summers fall on the first turn and then home rider Robert Mear fell on turn three. This left the two remounted riders chasing third place with the Bees man just getting it on the line to share the points.
Heat three saw Stuart Robson twice jump the start and was disqualified. Grzegorz Zengota and Summers could only watch as the Hammers scored their first 5-1 of the night.
Robson came out again in the next, a race which saw Michal Szczepaniak lead Davey Watt until the very last turn. With Robson third, the points were shared.
Kasprzak won heat five but was beaten by Lewis Bridger in the next.
This left the score at 21-15 with Bees just hanging on. It then all went wrong as the home side slammed in four successive maximums to put the match out of reach of Bees.
Kasprzak took a tactical ride in heat eleven and duly obliged with the six points. Allen took third to give Bees a 7-2 race win.
The second tactical ride brought confusion all round. Szczepaniak was brought in for Summers and given the ride. It was then decided that he was ineligible so the black and white helmet was given to partner Zengota. When the race got underway the two Bees made the start only to collide on the second turn and come to grief. Szczepaniak was excluded while Zengota was unable to compete in the restart. Summers came in as a replacement and was the third person to be nominated. Summers did well in the end, snatching second spot for a 4-4.
Kasprzak and Robson won successive shared heats which earned them the nominations for the final heat. They made the start but Robson was soon passed by Bridger, the resulting 4-2 making the score a reasonably respectable 55-40.
Apart from Kasprzak who scored exactly half of the points no other rider came out with much credit and Bees will need to regroup before Friday’s meeting.
Coventry Storm 56, Stoke 39
This was the opening home League fixture for Storm against Stoke Potters, who have been visitors to Brandon in various forms since the opening meeting in 1948.
Storm made a good start with Martin Knuckey coming from the back to follow partner Joe Jacobs home for an opening 5-1.
After a drawn heat two won by Storm’s new signing Luke Crang, three 4-2’s and a 5-1 put Storm well ahead after six heats.
Heat seven was drawn before the first home reverse came in heat eight. The Storm pair missed the gate and gave chase. Knuckey soon got into second but Crang showed his inexperience with a hasty attempt to pass two riders entering turn one. There was no room and he took a heavy fall, bringing down part of the air fence which undoubtedly saved him from injury. Knuckey could only manage second in the rerun after again being outgated.
Stoke pulled two back with a tactical ride by Kyle Hughes in heat nine and then another three after Ben Reade won heat twelve for six points. After this the visitors still trailed by nine but with Storm’s unbeaten pair of Jacobs and James Sarjeant taking maximums in heats thirteen and fifteen, Storm were never really troubled and the 56-39 win took them to the top of the National League.
Krzysztof Kasprzak is now showing the form expected of him when signing for Bees. As well as turning in some good performances for Bees he recorded his second rostrum place of the season in Saturday’s British Grand Prix at Cardiff.
Problems with the temporary track made conditions difficult and it was probably these that cost him the title. After scoring ten points in the qualifying heats, one of which saw him break the existing Cardiff track record, he followed Freddie Lindgren home in the semi-final to book his final place. In the final he was leading Emil Sayfutdinov before Lindgren hit a bump on the third turn and fell causing the race to be rerun. In the restart Sayfutinov got the drop, leaving Kasprzak to give chase. He made a brave effort but a last ditch effort on the difficult third bend saw him drift wide and Niels Kristian Iversen came through to take second.
Bees host King’s Lynn on Friday and will be hoping Scott Nicholls will be fit to face a team which is led by the in-form Niels kristian Iversen.