SPEEDWAY by Alan Goodman

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

Coventry Bees had no match last weekend so it was National League team Coventry Storm that was the attraction at Brandon. Unfortunately things did not go their way and the match against Mildenhall, which should have been a top of the table thriller, turned out something of a farce due to the tricky conditions, with the more inexperienced Storm team being the most affected.

Storm 40, Mildenhall 48.

National League.

Rain during the day had left the track in a soggy condition and the match in doubt. As it had stopped raining and people had been let in it was decided to run. Unusually all riders were given a couple of laps practice before the meeting itself and with the majority struggling one wonders why the match was eventually allowed to start.

Heat one set the tone, with three of the four riders falling in unconnected incidents, leaving the visitor’s Ben Morley to take the flag alone.

Storm appeared to have recovered in heat two and looked set for a maximum until Luke Crang fell at the start of the third lap.

More problems came in heat three, with James Sarjeant managing to fall twice at different times.

At this stage, with the visitors leading 10-5, referee Graham Reeve called the teams together but after some extensive regrading, it was decided to carry on.

Storm took a share of the points in an uneventful heat five before the visitors increased their advantage in heat six after Martin Knuckey had taken his second tumble of the night.

Heat seven took three attempts to run. At the first attempt, the visitors Josh Bates took a nasty tumble into the air fence. At the second attempt Crang fell on turn two with Jon Armstrong laying down to avoid. This left just two riders to contest the rerun. Armstrong led from the start. Sarjeant then suffered machine problems and cruised round, just avoiding being lapped, for two points.

Another maximum was on the cards in heat eight before the luckless Knuckey fell at the end of lap three. Although his machine veered across the track and clipped Josh Bates, there were no further problems.

Dan Halsey won heat nine with Oliver Greenwood giving chase. Michael Neale took third after Crang was another to register three falls.

At this stage conditions were improving and a good battle between Armstrong and James Shane was keeping the crowd on their toes until the riders got too close on the Rugby turn and Shanes had to bail out and was excluded for his troubles.

Mildenhall increased their lead to ten, which enabled Storm to give Greenwood a tactical ride in heat twelve. He made the start but Bates went by coming out of turn two. With Neale coming third the heat points were shared 4-4.

A 5-1 from Charles Wright and Sarjeant gave Storm an outside chance of snatching the points but with the experienced Armstrong winning heat fourteen, a draw was the best Storm could now manage.

With Armstrong again in heat fifteen it was never really on and the veteran, who appeared in Bees colours a good few years ago, duly won the race and with partner Bates in third, Storm’s home league record had gone.

All twelve riders deserve a medal for riding in these conditions and it was definitely the visitor’s more experienced riders who tipped the balance.

Storm Scorers; Greenwood 13(1), Sarjeant 10, Wright 7(1), Shanes 7, Crang 3(1), Knuckey 0.

The Storm pair of Robert Branford and James Sarjeant were involved in more controversy on Sunday, this time at Mildenhall when they contested the National League pairs.

They were in Group B and started slowly, losing 6-3 to Kent. In their next outing against Buxton, a Buxton rider apparently touched the tapes but was allowed back in the restart and duly won the race.

The biggest argument came in the heat against Mildenhall when Mildenhall’s Bates broke down and in the process impeded and brought down team mate Halsey. With the race into its third lap it was expected the race would be awarded but the referee ordered a re-run and once again the rider grabbed his second opportunity to win the race. If the race had been awarded Storm would have been in the final, but eventually lost out by one point.

The final was won by Dudley from Mildenhall and Kent.

Danish Grand Prix.

Krzysztof Kasprzak failed to keep up his recent GP form and could only finish in eleventh place at the Parken arena on Saturday.

He was out in heat one and after a slow start overtook Tai Woffinden for second spot and two points.

Heat six proved his undoing. He found himself in the wrong place coming out of a tight second turn and had to throttle back behind Nicki Pedersen to avoid a collision and could not recover, finishing well back.

A second place in heat ten, after he had struggled to pass Antonio Lindback just kept him in contention.

A race win looked a possibility after making the start to heat fourteen but eventual winner Darcy Ward was soon by.

It all came down to heat eighteen with all four riders fighting for the vital final semi-final place. Unfortunately he was last away and never really in contention, ending his night with a disappointing six points.

Kasprzak now lies eleventh in the overall standings with 54 points. However Tomasz Gollob holds the vital eighth place and is only eight points better off so there is still plenty to ride for.

The meeting was won by Darcy Ward from Matej Zagar and Chris Holder.

Preview.

Buildbase Bees have an attractive fixture when they return to action on Friday. They take on Poole Pirates, who after a slow start have come good in recent weeks. They are led by World Champion Chris Holder and welcome back Darcy Ward after a shoulder injury. When Ward was injured, the Pirates management had to sign a replacement. Now with the return of Ward, they will have to redeclare so the make-up of the team is not known at the time of writing although the names of Holder and Ward are enough to attract a good crowd to Brandon. The start time is 7.30 p.m.