SPEEDWAY by Alan Goodman

Alan Goodman
Alan Goodman
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News from Coventry Buildbase Bees and Coventry Storm

It was a good weekend for Coventry fans with Bees taking revenge over Swindon Robins and Coventry Storm taking a four-league-point away win at Stoke to consolidate their position at the top of The National League table.

Bees 56, Swindon 38

Elite League

This was an early opportunity for Bees to gain revenge on their local rivals for last week’s twenty-three point drubbing at Swindon. With the GP qualifying semi-finals taking place over the weekend, it was two different looking teams that took the track for the return. Bees were only missing Krzysztof Kasprazak but Swindon was without Hans Andersen, Edward Kennett and Peter Kildemand. Their reserve Kacper Gomolski was originally to be another absentee due to a Polish Commitment but in the end he was able to turn out, although after recording just one point one wonders whether his efforts were really worthwhile. Ironically the GP round in Denmark, where most of the riders were programmed, was never held due to rain. Bees brought in old favourite Chris Harris while the visitors utilised Jason Doyle, Rory Schlein and Josh Grajczonek.

On paper this looked an easy one for Bees but after a heat one, restarted after Doyle fell on the first turn, saw Harris and Stuart Robson being left trailing behind Doyle and reserve Micky Dyer, fears of another Bees collapse came to mind.

These fears were soon forgotten when reserves Michal Szczepaniak and Aaron Summers took an easy 5-1 to level the scores.

Bees looked set for another maximum in heat three but Robson lifted on the back straight of lap three which allowed Grajczonek to come through for second.

Szczepaniak made a good start to heat four and with Scott Nicholls going by Schlein on turn two and just holding out for second, Bees were now on their way.

Grzegorz Zengota was an easy winner on heat five but behind him Robson was in the thick of the action. Blocked on the back straight on the first lap by Grajczonek, he was then involved in a losing battle to hold off Doyle.

Harris recovered from his opening efforts to win heat six. Partner Szczepaniak went from last to second on the back straight of lap one to put Bees ten ahead.

Visiting team manager Alun Rossiter quickly brought in a tactical ride for Grajczonek. He originally led from the gate but Nicholls was by at the end of the first lap. At the back Summers rode well to hold out Nick Morris.

The next two heats were shared so after nine heats Bees still held a comfortable ten-point lead.

Nicholls was an easy winner of heat ten with Harris using the outside line to take second place coming out of turn two. He was slightly lucky as Morris got out of shape as he went by but fortunately a collision was avoided.

Doyle took the second available tactical ride for the visitors in heat eleven. It was Summers who made the gate but the action was behind him. At one stage the other riders were three abreast on the back straight before Nicholls fell on the fourth turn when attempting to take second place.

The two teams traded 5-1’s in the next three races before the final heat. The main interest in this race was whether Zengota could complete his first maximum in Bees colours. At the second time of asking the race got underway with Swindon making the better of the starts. Both Nicholls and Zengota went by their respective opponents coming out of turn two but despite his efforts Zengota had to give second best to Doyle.

This was a quite entertaining match considering the circumstances with track conditions being much better than the previous meeting.

Zengota top scored with paid sixteen while reserve Szczepaniak had his chances of a maximum spoiled with a zero in heat eight.

Bees’ scorers: Zengota 15(1), Szczepaniak 13(2), Nicholls 11(2), Summers 9(1), Harris 6, Robson 2.

Stoke 37, Storm 55

National League

Coventry Storm are the National League team of the moment, this win gives them a healthy lead at the top of the table. Storm made more changes for this match with Oliver Greenwood returning at the expense of Brendan Johnson and newcomer James Shanes replacing the resting Tommy Fenwick at reserve. It shows the present strength of the team when they can dispense with a rider of the calibre of Johnson.

They took a little time getting into this match. A Martin Knuckey fall in the opener and then a James Sarjeant 15 metre penalty for tape breaking left them trailing 11-7 after three races.

A 5-1 in heat four brought them level before they went ahead in a heat five which saw Knuckey again in the wars after avoiding the fallen Ben Reade. Fortunately he was OK to finish third in the rerun.

Storm then forged ahead with a 5-1 and a 4-2 before the home side put in a 5-1 of their own in a heat eight which saw Knuckey take his third fall of the night. This left Storm leading by 26-22 at the halfway stage.

Two 4-2’s and a 5-1 increased the lead, allowing Stoke to use a tactical ride in heat ten which saw Reade take second behind Sarjeant and with Lee Geary third after Crang had taken a heavy tumble in the first attempt to run, the 5-3 was the home sides last heat advantage.

Storm dropped just two more points to take all four league points.

This was a good debut for James Shanes who recorded an excellent paid ten from five rides.

Storm scorers: Joe Jacobs 14(1), James Sarjeant 13, Oliver Greenwood 11(1), James Shanes 8(2), Luke Crang 8(1), Martin Knuckey 1.

Preview:

It is Storm who provide the action at Brandon tomorrow (Friday), when they take on Mildenhall. The teams have already met three times this season with Fen ‘Tigers’ taking the honours each time. There have been two Knock Out Cup and one League match. Storm are now a much improved side but need to take all the points from this if they are to become serious contenders for the league title. The visitors are promoted by ex riders Michael Lee, Chris Louis with Kevin Jolly as Club Chairman. The win over Storm has been Mildenhall’s only League outing so far, so they have it all to go for.

The Storm are providing excellent entertainment and if any Bees fan has yet to go and sample National League racing, this is the meeting to try it. The meeting starts at the new start time of 7.30pm.

Alan Goodman.