SPEEDWAY: By Alan Goodman

Alan Goodman

Alan Goodman

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Three matches for Storm

With the World Team Cup curtailing Elite League action, all eyes were on Storm who contested three matches over the past week.

After a disappointing defeat at Cradley, a double header at Brandon on Friday saw them reach the National League Knock Out Cup semi-final and regain second spot in the league.

Cradley 57, Coventry Storm 35

Cradley, who actually ride at Wolverhampton, are the league leaders and despite Storm being recognised as another of the top teams they were no match for the Heathens and despite keeping in contention for twelve heats, the home side ran rout in the final three to rack up the impressive scoreline. Storm operated rider replacement for Luke Crang, who looks likely to miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.

Cradley opened with a 4-2 before taking a 5-1 in heat two after Martin Knuckey fell after challenging for the lead.

Stefan Nielsen and Dan Greenwood pulled two back in heat three before Cradley took the lead back to six in heat three.

The next four heats, with the exception of heat seven were tied before Cradley took maximum points in heat nine after James Sarjeant had fallen.

Nielsen took a tactical ride in heat ten but could only manage second behind Paul Starke. With Dan Greenwood taking third Storm at least had the heat advantage 5-3.

Two more shared heats followed before the final home burst took the score to 57-36.

Storm scorers: Stefan Nielsen 15, Dan Greenwood 6(1), James Sarjeant 5, Oliver Greenwood 4(2), Ryan Terry-Daley 3(1), Martin Knuckey 2.

Storm 60, Buxton 34

K.O.Cup, second leg

(Storm win 115-74 on aggregate)

With Storm holding a fifteen point advantage from the first leg there would have to be something special happening if they were not to progress to the semi-final stage.

Storm tracked new signing Luke Priest, brought in to replace Luke Crang.

It was obvious from the start that the riders were having problems with the deep track conditions and heat one had to be rerun after a three-man pile up on turn three of the penultimate lap. Storm took a 4-2 in a spread out rerun.

Priest won heat two with Knuckey following him home for maximum points.

5-1’s were then traded before Storm registered their third of the match in heat five.

Veteran Tony Atkin was given a tactical ride for the visitors in heat seven and took a second place for a share of the heat points.

Racing was still very processional and after a Storm 4-2 in heat seven, Buxton’s second tactical ride taken by reserve Adam Extance yielded another 4-4 heat result. This left the score at 32- 20.

Storm then went steadily on and with three maximums in the last five races ran out easy winners by 60-34.

The match took just over two hours to run caused by the large number of stoppages and the apparent tardiness of the visitors in getting to the tapes at the start of races.

For Storm Stefan Nielsen and Oliver Greenwood were unbeaten. The rest of the side all weighed in with good scores.

For Buxton the bulk of the scoring came from 48 year old veteran Atkin and promising reserve Extance, who scored 37 of the points between them.

Storm scorers; Nielsen 12, O.Greenwood 11(1), Sarjeant 11, Priest 9(1), Knuckey 7(2), D.Greenwood 6(3), Terry-Daley 4,

Storm 47, King’s Lynn 37

(Abandoned after heat 14 – Curfew)

Storm Fielded the same team while King’s Lynn was at full strength with first team fast-track reserve Lewis Rose the man likely to cause Storm problems.

Heat one was shared after Ryan-Daley lost third place to Scott Campos.

Storm went ahead through a Knuckey and Priest 4-2 in heat two.

Racing was better for this meeting although the track was still catching riders out. Falls for the visitors Marc Owen and Darren Mallett in successive heats saw Storm open up a six point lead.

Another 4-2 increased the lead to eight. Heat seven was shared before King’s Lynn staged a bit of a fight back. Rose and Owen took a 4-2 over Sarjeant and Rose again in heat eight combined with Campos to hold out Terry-Daley for maximum points and bring the scores back to 25-23 at the halfway stage.

Storm hit back with their own 5-1 after Dan Greenwood had ridden a good turn two to take second place.

4-2’s were traded in heats ten and eleven before heat twelve was shared. Nielsen won the race but Knuckey, after a bad first turn chased hard only to come down on the last lap.

Heat thirteen was working up to be the best race of the night. KL gated but O.Greenwood worked his way into second place. Leader Mallett then fell on turn four when unchallenged. In the rerun the Storm pair made no mistake.

Heat fourteen was awarded with Dan Greenwood the winner over the two visitors after Priest had fallen on turn three and Campos had laid down to avoid him. With the curfew time of 11pm fast approaching, referee Dan Holt called a halt to proceedings. The result will stand.

Nielsen completed his second maximum of the night with the rest of the team scoring well.

Storm scorers: Nielsen 12, O.Greenwood 9(1), Sarjeant 9, D.Greenwood 7(1), Knuckey 6, Terry-Daley 2(1), Priest 2.

World Team Cup

Team GB won event one at King’s Lynn on Saturday to go straight into Saturday’s final in Poland.

A good all round performance saw them beat USA and meeting favourites Australia, who eventually finished in third position ahead of Italy. Team GB were solid all through with only two points separating the four riders. Bee’s Chris Harris scored eleven.

Australia was without Chris Holder and his replacement Cameron Woodward had a nightmare evening, managing just one point. Problems for Darcy Ward, which included a controversial exclusion, put them out of the running after the early stages.

Greg Hancock topped the scores for the USA with support coming from Ricky wells and Gino Manzares who former Birmingham rider Nicolas Covatti scored seven of Italy’s ten points.

This was GB’s best route to the final. Thursday’s play-off could have been a minefield with either Sweden or Denmark in the field.

Preview

It is Storm again in action on Friday when the take on Stoke Potters in a National League. One familiar face in the visitors’ side will be Jon Armstrong, now in the veteran stage, who had a short spell in Bees side in the ‘90’s.

The meeting starts at the usual time of 7.30pm.

The World Team Cup Final takes place in Bydgoszcz on Saturday night. Team GB have already qualified along with hosts Poland.

Alan Goodman