SPEEDWAY: By Alan Goodman

Alan Goodman
Alan Goodman
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News from Bees and Storm

A good Easter weekend saw Bees complete the double over local rivals Leicester and take six out the seven match points available. After a hard fought home win they then went on to master the tricky conditions at Leicester’s new Beaumont Leys stadium and come away with all four league points to give their season the kick start it needed.

Bees 48, Leicester 42

Elite League

Bees went into this match with a full side whilst their opponents were without Simon Stead and recruited Ricky Wells, a rider with a good knowledge of Brandon.

Lion’s Jason Doyle made the start but was passed by Hans Andersen coming out of turn two. Ryan Fisher, who had just endured a harrowing trip from an afternoon meeting at Ipswich tried hard but had to be content with third.

Bees made the start to heat two but Tom Perry went by James Sarjeant for second on the first lap.

Heat three probably changed the course of the match. Patrick Hougaard clipped the back straight fence on lap one and took a nasty fall. Both Chris Harris and Kenneth Hansen managed to avoid him although Hansen had to turn hard left and took a tumble on the centre area. Hougaard was excluded from the restart which saw Mads Korneluissen a comfortable winner from Harris with Hansen struggling in third.

Heat four was shared before Andersen and Harris took maximum points in heat five to put Bees eight points up.

Hougaard was withdrawn from the meeting and was replaced by Peter Ljung in heat six while Hansen took his scheduled ride. Leicester took maximum points with Hansen failing to finish.

Leicester pulled back to within two points in the next before a good ride by Kyle Howarth saw him move out the formidable Korneliussen on the first turn for a good win. With Fisher third Bees were now slightly more comfortable.

Bees were on an easy 5-1 in heat nine before Jason Garrity unexplicably fell at the end of lap three when well clear at the front.

Korneliussen won a shared heat ten before another good ride by Howarth, who replaced the now withdrawn Hansen, saw him link with Harris for a welcome maximum.

Leicester provided the race winners in the next two shared heats before Howarth made his tally three wins in a row. Once again the points were shared as Garrity fell after a third bend mix-up.

Howarth was rewarded for his efforts with a nominated race ride. He again earned his corn after he split the fast gating visiting pair to restrict them to a 4-2. Unfortunately his efforts were not enough to gain Bees all three match points.

Bees’ scorers: Howarth 14, Andersen 9(1),Harris 8(2), Fisher 7(1), Garrity 5(2), Sarjeant 4, Hansen 1(1).

Leicester 40, Bees 50.

Both teams had to make changes from the previous night. With Hougaard and Hansen still suffering from their crash, Leicester brought in guest Adam Skornicki while Bees used Richard Lawson. Also, with Howarth needed by his parent club, Bees recruited a second guest in Max Fricke.

It did not start well for Bees with Fisher taking a nasty tumble by the starting gate on lap two. In the restart Doyle and Ljung gated in front of Andersen for opening 5-1. Two shared heats followed before Bees took a 4-2 after Simon Stead had stopped on the last lap with machine failure.

Doyle and Skornicki took Leicester’s second maximum before Andersen and Harris combined to negate this in the next.

Two more shared heats followed to leave the score at 25-23 to Leicester.

In previous matches this has been the point where Bees start to fade away but with it becoming obvious that gating was paramount on the dry and slick surface Bees appeared to have worked on their trapping techniques and Garrity and Sarjeant rode to an unchallenged maximum to give Bees the lead for the first time.

They could have gone further ahead in the next but fortune was against them. Bees were leading Doyle and Ljung when the latter fell on the bottom turn and the race was stopped. In the rerun Doyle made a better start to record his third race win of the night.

Heat eleven was much better when Andersen won with a great ride by Fricke saw him hold out the far more experienced Korneliussen and Skornicki to put Bees six up.

Fisher won heat twelve and an up and down ride by Garrity left him eventually in third and Bees now holding an eight point lead.

Doyle won his fourth race in heat thirteen before Fricke completed a good night’s performance by winning heat fourteen from Stead and Garrity.

Bees now needed just three points from the last race and although Doyle completed a five-ride maximum, Andersen and Harris had little trouble in collecting the wanted points.

This was a good performance and must have pleased the many Bees fans in the packed stadium. A special mention must go to the performance of Fricke whose paid nine were justly deserved.

Bees’ scorers: Harris 10(2), Andersen 10(1), Garrity 9(1), Fricke 8(1), Fisher 7(1), Lawson, Sarjeant 3(1).

It was also a good weekend for Coventry’s National League team, The Storm, with good wins over two of the title favourites. After winning at Mildenhall they came from behind in a match of twists and turns to beat last year’s champions, Cradley.

Mildenhall 42, Storm 48.

This was a good performance by the Storm as the West Row is a difficult circuit to win at. Storm capitalised on some home misfortunes and after the lead changed hands a couple of times in the opening stages, they went ahead after heat five and were never really troubled.

Storm scorers: Olly Greenwood 12, Luke Crang 10(1), James Sarjeant 8, Stefan Nielsen 7(3), Dan Greenwood 6(2), Ryan Terry-Daley 5(1), Martin Knuckey 0.

Storm 46, Cradley 43.

A poor start saw Storm trail by 9-3 after only two heats but they kept battling on and had drawn level by heat ten.

Cradley then appeared to regain the upper hand until an incident-packed heat fourteen changed things altogether. At the first attempt to run, the visitors Danny Phillips came down on the bottom turn and team mate Max Clegg could not avoid him. After a lengthy delay the race resumed with three riders. Clegg again fell, this time on the first turn but was reinstated. He then fell again next time out and was excluded. This left Storm riders to take a 5-0 and go into the final race with a one-point lead. A home 4-2 then sealed a win that appeared unlikely earlier in the meeting.

Storm scorers: O.Greenwood 14, Nielsen 8(1),Terry-Daley 8, D.Greenwood 6(3), Sarjeant 6, Crang 4(1), Knuckey 0

Preview

Bees have a week off this week, their next fixture being on Spring Bank Holiday weekend.

Chris Harris, however, will be in action when he competes in the second round of this year’s Grand Prix series from Bydgzosz in Poland. After a disappointing opening round in New Zealand he will hoping to get some points on the board in his quest for a top eight finish.

It will be the Storm again in action tomorrow when they take on Plymouth’s National team, the Devon Demons.

Alan Goodman