Coventry Bees came through a close-fought encounter to take two Elite League points from King’s Lynn.
A late revival by the visitors led to a last heat decider and Bees Grzegorz Zengota was the hero when he held off the strong pairing of Niels Kristian Iversen and Rory Schlein to give Bees a win in the final heat of the match. A mid session break for track work did not help proceedings and has led to promoter Mick Horton making changes to the meeting format.
Bees 47, King’s Lynn 43
Bee’s guest, Danny King made the start to heat one along with partner Stuart Robson. Any hopes of an opening maximum were soon dashed as Niels Kristian Iversen took second spot at the end of lap one. He then went after King and soon closed the gap. It did look as King would hold out but a slight mistake on the final turn let in Iversen who took the verdict on the line.
A similar situation prevailed in heat two when Michal Szczepaniak led all the way only to lose out on the line to Richie Worrall. With Bees taking the minor places in both races the scores remained level.
Track problems that were to cause delays later first erupted in heat three when three riders fell on the first turn, with only Grzegorz Zengota staying upright. A restart with all riders was ordered but Simon Stead was unable to resume so Worrall was quickly drafted in. He showed his previous win was no fluke and led from the start. With his partner Sebastian Alden taking third, the visitors took an early two point lead.
The lead was short lived as Szczepaniak and Scott Nicholls took an untroubled maximum in the next to put Bees ahead.
Iversen was untroubled in winning a shared heat five before Bees went further ahead in heat six with a 4-2 over ex-Bee Rory Schlein.
Further troubles on the first turn caused Alden to fall and the race stopped. There was then a 40 - minute delay as extensive corrective work was carried out on the first turn.
When racing finally resumed it was the visitor’s new reserve Andrej Lebedev who caused a surprise. After a poor first ride he had obviously used the break to good effect and outgated Nicholls and guest Ludvig Lindgren to win his first race on British soil.
Zengota came in heat eight and easily won a shared heat before another shared race saw Schlein a winner from the gate. At this stage Bees were just four points ahead.
Although conditions had improved considerably racing was now getting a little processional and Nicholls and King had little trouble in taking maximum points from heat ten.
Heat eleven was the first meeting between Nicholls and Iversen and it was the Bees skipper who triumphed in another tight finish to a race which saw the first three in close attendance.
Zengota won heat twelve but any chance of increasing their overall lead went when Szczepaniak lost third place after a mistake on the Rugby turn.
The meeting of the top four in heat thirteen did not go Bees way with the visiting pair of Iversen and Schlein leading from the start.
Bees were now just four ahead with two races to go and with a prospect of a repeat of heat thirteen in the final race Bees needed some sort of result from heat fourteen. As it was it was Worrall, taking his seventh ride of the night, who led with Lebedev, who had worked his way from the back, second. It was odds on the visitors drawing level until Lebedev’s efforts went to waste when he fell on the last turn with the flag in sight. Bees were more than grateful for the three points.
There were more surprises before the final race took place. Nicholls was unable to take his expected place due to problems with his recently broken foot and Zengota was brought in to partner King. The Bees number three did the business however, making the start and holding out Iversen to take the verdict in a nailbiting finish.
This was always going to be a tricky one, bearing in mind the composition of the Bees side and taking two match points was a creditable performance. All of the Bees performed well with Zengota coming good after a poor opening ride.
Bee’s scorers; Zengota 12(1), Nicholls 10(1), King 8(1), Robson 6(2), Szczepaniak 6, Lindgren 5(3).
Promoter Mick Horton has publicly apologised for the big delay in the middle of the meeting. He is now talking to the Stadium officials with a view to sorting out the problems on the first turn. He has announced that ALL meetings will now start at 7.30 p.m. instead of what was the normal 8.00
Bees are likely to be without Olly Allen for a couple of meetings as he suffered a suspected broken arm while riding for his Premier League club Rye House at the weekend.
Krzysztof Kasprzak was also involved in a heavy crash during his Grand prix qualifier in Austria. Fortunately he escaped injury and went on to win the meeting and advance to the next stage.
Bees visit Swindon tonight (Thursday) for an Elite League meeting. This will be an interesting contest as Bees include former Robin Grzegorz Zengota, while Edward Kennett and Nick Morris have moved in the other direction. Swindon have not been the dominant force of last year on their own track and with Bees trio of Poles liking the larger tracks, Bees could come away with some League points.
The National League Storm will also be busy, having visited Dudley on Tuesday to face the local Heathens. Storm suffered a 35-60 defeat on their previous visit, but since then have strengthened up considerably so should give their hosts a good match.
On Friday Kent are the visitors in a National League encounter. Kent is a new side based at Sittingbourne and have the nucleus of last year’s Rye House team.
With immediate effect all Speedway meetings at Brandon will start at 7.30 p.m.