News from Coventry Bees and Storm
After another wet start to the weekend Coventry Buildbase Bees made good progress to their aim of a play-off place.
One of the rain clouds that appear to have Brandon marked on them appeared about seventy-five minutes from the start and the resulting heavy rain caused the meeting against Eastbourne to be postponed.
The following night they became one of the few teams to take a point from Eastbourne and on Monday they took all three points from Swindon in a match that is more likely to remembered for the performance of referee Dave Robinson.
Eastbourne 49, Bees 44
Bees were without Chris Harris (GP), Kyle Howarth and Jason Garrity (parent club requirements). Aaron Summers and Stefan Nielsen replaced the latter two with rider-replacement operated for Harris.
After sharing heat one it started to go wrong for Bees in the next. Kyle Newman led the race from James Sarjeant. Last placed Nielsen made a bid for third place but only succeeded in scuttling Daniel Halsey at the start of the second lap. The home side grabbed the advantage and took maximum points in the rerun.
Michael Jepsen Jensen made the start to heat three but the home pair went either side of him coming out of turn two to record another maximum heat win.
The impressive Summers won a shared heat four before Jensen again lost the lead out turn two in the next. Along with partner Kenneth Hansen they did hold out Bjarne Pedersen to share the points.
Hans Andersen and Summers could make little impression on the home pair in heat six and the resulting maximum made the score 24-12 to Eastbourne.
Hansen was given a tactical ride in heat seven and after a poor start came back to earn the much-needed six points.
Summers held off Cameron Woodward to win heat eight and leave the halfway score at 30-21 to Eastbourne.
The home side went further ahead in heat nine with a 4-2 after Sarjeant had lost third place to Halsey.
Bees had to make the start to heat ten three times before a result was obtained. At the first attempt they were brought back for an unsatisfactory start. Second time out Pedersen was boxed and fell on turn one. When they finally got underway the maximum chance vanished when Andersen eventually lost second place to Pedersen.
Andersen finally got it together to win heat eleven before Nielsen was again involved in controversy in heat twelve. Timo Lahti fell on the first turn after contact with Nielsen coming out of the start. Perhaps slightly fortunate for the Bees man a restart with all four was ordered. Newman won the race with the Bees pair holding out Lahti.
Andersen won a shared heat thirteen before Nielsen produced probably the shock of the night in heat fourteen. The home side and former Bees star Joonas Kylmakorpi was expected to win the race but it was Nielsen who leapt out of the start and produced a great win. With Hansen taking third Bees were now on course to become only the third team this season to take a point away from Arlington.
There was a horrible start to heat fifteen when three riders crashed spectacularly into the first turn fence, only Summers avoiding the carnage. Amazingly all three got up unhurt and contested the rerun.
Andersen made three wins on the trot and with Summers holding out Gustafsson for third, Bees had bagged a valuable point in a 49-44 scoreline.
Bee’s riders all contributed but there was little consistency in the returns. Four out of the six had race wins while five recorded lasts.
Eastbourne is a difficult track so they should be praised for their efforts.
Bees’ scorers: Andersen 13, Summers 10(1), Hansen 8(1), Nielsen 6(1), Jensen 6, Sarjeant 1.
Bees 53, Swindon 40.
Bees were at full strength for this match while their visitors operated rider replacement for injured number one Peter Kildemand.
No one had realised that a two-minute timer had been installed on the centre green and Mr. Robinson was keen to use it.
Heat one set the scene for the remainder of the night. Kildemand’s replacement, Nick Morris was excluded for breaking the tapes. Hans Andersen, although apparently at the tapes was deemed not ready and excluded. Jason Garrity came in and continued his recent run of good form by leading from the tapes. Partner Kyle Howarth followed him home for an opening 5-1.
Garrity came out in the next and again led the field home. His partner James Sarjeant fell on turn two and despite remounting soon pulled out of the race. If he had kept going he may well have earned a point as the visitors’ Nathan Greaves fell on the final turn.
Both Swindon riders fell foul of Mr. Robinson in the next, again on the two-minute rule, leaving Chris Harris and Michael Jepsen Jensen to ride unopposed for a 5-0 heat win.
More drama came in heat four. Sarjeant was leading until Greaves fell on the Rugby turn with Kenneth Hansen doing well to avoid him. In the restart a chance of another maximum was probably lost when Hansen baulked his partner coming out of turn two. Bees still got away with a 4-2 and led by 17-6.
Simon Gustafsson led heat five but a mistake on turn four let in Hans Andersen and with Harris third, Bees were now thirteen up.
Thirteen could have proved unlucky as Swindon could now use a tactical double. Troy Batchelor was nominated for this and along with Gustafsson duly took the eight points on offer and reduced the deficit to six.
Heat seven was another one to be remembered. Steve Worrall fell on the first turn and then Morris brought Garrity down on the second. After some delay Morris was excluded as was Worrall for not being under power at the time. This meant another 5-0 for Bees, Garrity and Howarth being the beneficiaries this time.
Swindon immediately hit back with a heat eight 5-1 before Greaves received the two-minute exclusion in heat nine. Bees took a 4-2 with Garrity winning his fourth race of the night despite being in pain from his earlier spill.
Andersen and Howarth held out the potential danger of Gustafsson and Batchelor before fans were treated to the race of the night in heat eleven.
Morris was given the second tactical double of the night and partnered rider-replacement Batchelor. The pair led from the gate and looked set for another 8-1. Harris had other ideas and a great effort saw him pass both riders in the space of two laps to limit the race deficit to just two points.
The next three heats were shared which ensured Bees a win on the night. This now left Bees needing just a solitary point to take all three match points. Harris and Howarth obliged with a 4-2 to make the final score 53-40 to Bees.
Bees’ fans were pleased with the performances of Garrity and Howarth with both being unbeaten by an opponent in their first four races. Harris was also back to his best in the latter stages of the match. If they can steer clear of injuries Bees now stand a good chance of reaching the play-offs.
Bees’ scorers: Harris 12(10, Garrity 12, Howarth 10(3), Andersen 6, Jensen, Sarjeant 5,Hansen 3.
A busy Bank Holiday weekend for Bees, which could well decide their fate concerning the top four in the league.
On Friday one of their nearest challengers, Lakeside are the visitors (start time 7.30 p.m) and on Saturday Lakeside host the return.
On Monday Bees race home and away matches against Leicester. The home meeting is at Brandon with a start time of 2.00 p.m. with the return at Beaumont Leys at 7.30 p.m.