News from Coventry Buildbase Bees and Coventry Storm
Coventry Buildbase Bees finished their away programme with another disappointing defeat, this time at Birmingham, a result that almost certainly ensures them of the Elite League wooden spoon. They now have just one match left, against King’s Lynn which takes place on Friday.
Coventry Storm also finished their season on Friday with a defeat that meant that any outside chance of contesting the National League play-offs had vanished. They were however riding top club Dudley, who have only lost one match this season.
Promoter Mick Horton has already made moves towards next season with the signing of Linus Sundstrom.
Birmingham 61, Bees 35
Bees were without Stuart Robson but welcomed back Olly Allen, who was returning from injury.
After problems between the two clubs off track, and even more so after Peterborough last week, Bees were up for this but it was the home side that made the better start with Chris Harris and Jason Doyle taking an opening 5-1.
Michal Szczepaniak had to pass the impressive Tyson Nelson to win heat two before Danny King and Ben Barker took another maximum to open up an eight point lead.
Szczepaniak was not so fortunate in heat four, machine problems causing him to stop and bring down Martin Smolinski in the process. Bees were on a maximum at the time but with Szczepaniak disqualified, Scott Nicholls was left to go it alone and he turned out a worthy winner.
Another home 5-1 over Krzysztof Kasprzak, who was his usual disappointing self in his opening races, left Bees a mountain to climb.
Despite gating in heat six Nicholls was eventually passed by home riders for another maximum.
Two more of the same followed to leave Bees 36-12 down at the halfway stage.
Nicholls was given a tactical double ride in heat nine and he rode a good race to beat King and Barker.
Racing was getting processional on a dry and dusty track and Harris and Doyle returned another maximum before Kasprzak was given the second tactical ride in heat eleven. Despite his previous efforts he came up with six points to at least give some respectability to the scoreline.
A five-lap heat twelve saw the points shared before Kasprzak won his second race of the night in heat thirteen.
Barker and Nelson took another maximum in heat fourteen before an eventful heat fifteen finished off proceedings.
Barker and Nicholls clashed on the third turn of lap two with Barker disqualified and also taken to hospital with back and rib injuries. Harris won the rerun from Kasprzak, who as it later turned out was riding his last race in Bees colours.
Bees must be thankful for the tactical double rides, for without the points from these they would have been in a sorry mess.
Bees’ scorers: Kasprzak 13, Nicholls 11(1), Zengota 4, Szczepzniak 3, Summers 2, Allen 1.
Storm 41, Dudley Heathens 49
Storm were weakened by the absence of Luke Crang, Robert Branford and James Sarjeant. Lewis Kerr guested for Sarjeant but Storm were forced to use number eight, Ryan Terry Daley in the number two spot and rider-replacement for Branford. The visitors utilised rider-replacement for Gareth Isherwood but were otherwise at full strength.
Joe Jacobs managed to split the visiting pair in the opening heat but a Dudley maximum in the next opened up a six-point lead.
Storm hit back in heat three thanks to a good switch back on turn two by Jacobs and Oliver Greenwood to overtake Paul Starke and gain a home 5-1. Three drawn races followed before Storm took a 4-2 through Kerr and Martin Knuckey after Nathan Greaves was disqualified after rearing alarmingly at the start.
It was no surprise that Dudley took a maximum from heat eight but a follow up in heat nine was not expected. Dudley gated with Greenwood giving chase. It all went wrong at the start of the second lap when Greenwood almost clipped Clegg’s back wheel. Knuckey also came off at the same spot.
Storm had a stroke of luck in heat eleven when the previously unbeaten Lewis Blackbird suffered machine problems at the end of lap three when in the lead.
Luck went the other way in the next when James Shanes stopped after having worked his way into third place.
Kerr rode a good race to overtake Blackbird to win heat thirteen and with Jacobs third there was still a slim chance of a win.
This went with a shared heat fourteen and Dudley finished off with a 4-2 in the final race give themselves all four match points on offer.
Storm came out of this with a lot of credit as a Dudley landslide was forecast by many.
Storm Scorers: Kerr 15(1), Jacobs 11, Greenwood 9(1), Knuckey 4(1), Terry-Daley 1(1), Shanes 1.
Bees ride their final Elite League match of the season, at home to King’s Lynn on Friday. Krzysztof Kasprzak has been axed and Linus Sundstrom will take his place. Michal Szczepaniak joins a lengthy injured list after his crash at Birmingham on Wednesday. Bees will cover his absence with rider replacement. Kyle Howarth has been booked as cover for the injured Stuart Robson. The new averages brings another change, Aaron Summers reverts to reserve.
The meeting starts at 7.30pm.