SPEEDWAY: By Alan Goodman

Alan Goodman
Alan Goodman

Latest news from Coventry Bees and Storm

Despite having one of the better away records in the Elite League, Buildbase Bees’ home form is letting them down and a defeat at the hands of the lowly Swindon side leaves them in fifth place in the ten-team league.

Once again the Brandon track came in for some criticism. Although it was the same for both sides its slickness made it favour fast gaters, which is what Bees are not. They are a team of racers but the slickness of the track made passing difficult and gave the fast gating ‘Robins’ a distinct advantage.

The speedway management do not have control of track preparation but will again be talking to the stadium management with a view to getting a track more suitable to the home riders as is the case with most other tracks in the league.

Bees 41, Swindon 49

Elite League

Bees were once again without Kyle Howarth, who was on World Under-21 duty and brought Aaron Summers who rode in the Bees colours last season and indeed brought that particular race suit out of mothballs for the occasion.

Hans Andersen won a shared opening heat after a good battle with the opposition number one, Peter Kildemand.

Jason Garrity won heat two with James Sarjeant just holding off Steve Worrall for a Bees 5-1.

Swindon’s quick gating came to the fore in heat three with Troy Batchelor and another ex-Bee Nick Morris taking the lead. Bees’ pair of Ryan Fisher and Chris Harris struggled in the early stages but the latter managed to get by Morris at the end of lap two.

Worrall turned in a much better race for the visitors in heat four. Garrity could not recover from a poor first turn but Kenneth Hansen managed to hold on to second in a close finish with Dakota North.

Andersen won heat five with Morris riding well to hold out Harris.

Bees held a two-point lead at this stage but it vanished in the next when Kildemand went from fourth to first on turn two and record a maximum with partner Batchelor.

Bees made the start to heat seven but Simon Gustafsson went by Sarjeant at the end of the first lap to keep the scores level.

North was excluded for a tapes offence in heat eight but Worrall, who was getting better as the meeting progressed, came in and made the start and partnered Morris to another 5-1. This left the score at 26-22 to Swindon at the halfway stage.

Swindon followed up with a 4-2 and a 5-1 to open up a ten-point lead.

Bees could now give Harris a tactical ride for double points but it went very wrong for after an early Fisher effort the Kildemand-Gustafsson pairing raced to an easy 5-1 to extend the lead to fourteen.

Swindon used the outside line to good effect to take another 4-2 in a heat twelve, rerun after North had fallen on the first turn.

Bees then staged a mini revival with Andersen and Harris taking an easy 5-1 in heat thirteen.

This was repeated in the next with Hansen winning and Garrity getting second place after Gustafsson had made a hash of the final turn.

Bees now surprisingly needed a 5-1 to draw the match and with the same line up as heat thirteen hopes were high. Unfortunately Kildemand and Batchelor made no mistake this time and led out of the first turn to make the final score 49-41 to the visitors.

After the match Bees’ team manager Gary Havelock could not fault his team for effort although there must still be some worrying factors. Hansen has not yet shown the form he showed on his visit last year, Fisher has well documented family problems, which affect his form slightly and fans have yet to see the real Harris.

Bees’ scorers: Andersen 9(1), Garrity 8(1), Harris 8, Summers, Hansen 6, Sarjeant 3(1), Fisher 1.

Storm’s National League KO Cup match at Buxton on Sunday was called off due to bad weather.

Preview

Bees are on the road again this weekend with away matches at Eastbourne (Saturday) and Wolverhampton (Monday).

On Friday night (16th) Storm face Mildenhall in a National League match. Storm has already won the away fixture by 48-42 so will hoping to maintain their unbeaten record and stay at the top of the table.

Bees will be without Chris Harris at Eastbourne as he will be taking part in the third round of this year’s Grand Prix series at Tampere in Finland. After a dismal start to his campaign he really needs a good result if he is to retain any real interest in the competition even at this early stage.