SPEEDWAY by Alan Goodman

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

With no Elite League racing due to the World Team Cup taking place it was Coventry Storm who provided the entertainment at Brandon on Friday. Looking for a play-off place, a home defeat was the last thing that they wanted. Unfortunately a strong Isle of Wight team led from the outset and to be truthful always looked easy winners.

Storm 42, Isle of Wight 50.

National League

Despite previous reports the IOW sensation Adam Ellis was available for this match. The visitors recruited Charles Wright as a guest. They also used rider replacement for Danny Stoneman. Storm used the same option for Joe Jacobs.

Wright and Ellis were paired in heat one and it was no surprise when they took maximum points.

Ellis then won heat two and with partner Chris Wildman taking third, an early 9-3 lead was established.

A good ride by Oliver Greenwood in heat three steadied the ship for the moment. Third from the gate he passed both opponents on the back straight to lead going into turn three.

James Sarjeant won a shared heat four after a good first turn.

Wright easily won another shared heat before an eventful heat six saw the lead increased. Luke Crang took a tumble on the second turn but was able to clear the track. With Ellis leading a 2-4 reverse looked on the cards only for his partner Danny Greenwood to fall in the same spot two laps later, reducing the heat deficit to a single point.

The race was awarded but unscheduled track work took place before heat seven was started. It eventually took three attempts to run. Sarjeant jumped the start first time out. James Shanes took a tumble entering turn one at the second attempt. Sarjeant was an early leader but Darryl Ritchings was by out of turn two. Despite a third lap mistake, Ritchings held off the chasing Sarjeant.

Ritchings made it two on the trot by winning heat eight and at the halfway stage the Islanders led by 28-19.

Ellis won heat nine before surprise packet Ritchings won heat ten. A third for Ben Hopwood increased the lead to eleven, allowing Storm to give Sarjeant a tactical ride for double points. With Wright and Ellis in the race his task looked mission impossible. As it was Ellis led with the other two battling it out. Ellis suddenly stopped with a dropped chain and Sarjeant held out to inflict the first and only defeat on Wright and give Storm a 7-2 advantage and still an outside chance of victory.

Ellis was out again in the next but did not look as effective on his second bike and finished third in a race won by Oliver Greenwood.

Heat thirteen settled the meeting. It was also learned that Wright had seized an engine in heat eleven and was also on his second machine.

Storm got away at the first attempt, but a restart was ordered. Dan Greenwood led from Robert Branford with Sarjeant chasing Wright. In a tight finish, a visibly annoyed Branford suffered a puncture on the last bend allowing Wright by for maximum points.

Storm took a 4-2 in the penultimate race before the last heat was drawn giving the visitors all four league points on offer.

Storm needed to gain points from the races which did not involve Ellis and Wright. Unfortunately they had not bargained for Darryl Ritchings who recorded three valuable mid meeting wins. Also galling is the fact that Ellis now moves up into the IOW team proper and cannot take seven rides. Also Wright’s average is now too high for him to take guest bookings.

Storm now need to take points from their last away match at Kent and not slip up at home if they are to make that elusive fourth place.

Storm scorers: Sarjeant 15, Greenwood 12(3), Branford 7, Shanes 6, Crang 2(1), Terry-Daley 0.

Preview

Buildbase Bees return to action on Friday when they take on local rivals Birmingham. Bees have been hit with the news that Krzysztof Kasprzak, who starred in Poland’s WTC win on Saturday, was injured in a Polish League crash on Sunday and will not be fit for the match. Although he has no broken bones, he has muscle damage to his arm and wrist and also has bruising to his back and legs. He is hoping to be back for next week’s matches.

Birmingham has very much an ex-Bees look about them with Chris Harris, Ben Barker and the in-form Martin Smolinski included. With Danny King also wearing the red and black another exciting contest is in prospect.

The meeting starts at 7.30pm.