News from Coventry Bees and Storm
Coventry Buildbase Bees have made a late change to the side for the remainder of the season.
Out of the team goes Michael Jepsen Jensen after being involved in a row with the management over his commitment to the team in their attempt to reach the play-offs. The real issue came over Monday’s match at Belle Vue. Jensen was also wanted for a rearranged fixture by his Swedish club on the same night. As Bees match was a scheduled fixture he was contracted to ride for Bees. As it was his intention to ride in Sweden it was agreed that he would leave the club and was immediately replaced by club asset Ben Barker, who had been without an Elite League club since the closure of Birmingham. Unfortunately Barker’s return only lasted three races before a nasty crash put him out of action for the rest of the weekend.
On the track however, Bees did their play-off hopes no harm at all. On Sunday they beat Leicester in the afternoon but in the evening lost disappointingly.
They made up for it the next night by taking all four points in a great win at Belle Vue. A haul of seven points from the three matches keeps them well on course for the Elite League top four.
Storm are also well in the hunt for honours and a comfortable six points from Fridays double header makes them odds on favourites to contest the National League play-offs.
Storm 65, Buxton 27.
Storm was without the injured Stefan Nielsen and operated rider-replacement in both matches.
Storm breezed through this match and soon had three more points in the bag in their quest for the national League play-offs.
Storm dominated from the start, winning three of the first four heats 5-1, the only resistance coming from Buxton’s Adam Extance with a second in heat three.
Buxton used their first tactical double as early as heat five and veteran Tony Atkin took second place from Dan Greenwood for a 4-4 shared heat.
Storm took another maximum before the visitors’ second tactical ride came to nothing in heat seven.
Another 5-1 left the halfway score at 37-13 and from then on Storm just cruised to a 65-27 overall victory.
Storm scorers; Luke Priest, James Sarjeant 15, Ryan Terry-Daley 10, Oliver Greenwood 9(3), Dan Greenwood, Martin Knuckey 8(3), Conor Dwyer (No8) 0.
Storm 41, Devon Demons 22.
Devon fared a little better than Buxton thanks to the efforts of Josh Bates and Luke Chessill, but the match was going the same way as the first until the curfew caused the match to be abandoned after ten races, the result standing.
Proceedings were held up after Adam Sheppard crashed at the end of heat one, causing damage to the air fence. While repairs were being undertaken, rain started to fall but thankfully soon eased off. However when heat two was completed it was in a time some eight seconds slower than the previous one.
Storm led 14-4 after three races before heat four turned out to be the best race of the whole evening. Sarjeant made the start only for Luke Chessell to round him coming out of turn two. Sarjeant regained the lead on lap three only for Chessil to take the honours on the run-in to the line.
Once again Storm steadily increased their lead until a halt was called with the score at 41-22.
Storm scorers; D.Greenwood 8(2), O.Greenwood 8(1), Sarjeant 8, Knuckey 7(1), Priest 6(2), Terry- Daley 4(1).
Bees 50, Leicester 42.
Both sides had to make changes for this match. Bees had both Kyle Newman and Jason Garrity absent because of requirements by their parent clubs, while Leicester had three guests in Joonas Kylmakorpi, Sam Masters and Craig Cook.
Simon Stead was quick from the gate to win heat one with Bees taking the minor places.
Bees eventually took maximum points from an eventful heat two. Josh Bates held second place before falling on the Coventry turn. Max Clegg then fell at the start of the final lap and just to add to the drama, James Sarjeant had to scoot home for second after his machine failed.
Leicester pulled back level with a maximum in heat three after Chris Harris had fallen at the start of the second lap.
Stead won a shared heat four before Bees took a maximum in heat five. Andersen was an easy winner but Harris had to use the outside line to come from the back for second place.
Barker won his first race for Bees in the next but Kenneth Hansen could only manage third.
Masters won a shared heat seven before Barker rode a good race to take his second win in heat eight. At this stage Bees led by 27 points to 21.
A three times run heat nine saw Bees get maximum points which led to Leicester giving Mads Korneliussen a tactical ride. Andersen was always going to be the winner but Korneliussen eventually took second thanks to his partner Cook.
Heat eleven ended Barker’s hopes. With all the drive being on the outside line all four riders made for that spot in heat eleven and Barker high-sided it into the barrier after clipping a back wheel. After lengthy treatment he was taken to hospital with a dislocated collarbone.
Summers hit a similar spot in the next, but was able to take his place in the rerun which resulted in the second of a run of three-alls.
Leicester took a 5-1 in the penultimate heat leaving Bees needing a maximum from the last race to take all three match points.
Leicester surprised most people with their selection of riders for this heat, especially the omission of the fast starting Stead. As it was, Andersen gated and a good second turn by Harris got him alongside his partner and Bees were home by 50-42.
Bee’s scorers; Andersen 12(1), Newman 10, Harris 9(2), Barker 7, Sarjeant 5(3), Summers 4(2), Hansen 3(1).
Leicester 54, Bees 38
There were minor changes to both teams for this return fixture, Kyle Howarth and Nicolai Klindt returned to their respective teams after afternoon meetings while Summers stayed on with Bees and took the place of Barker.
Kylmakorpi won a good opening race with Andersen taking second out of turn but disappointingly for Bees a Howarth challenge for third tailed off.
Newman vindicated Bees choice of guest by winning a shared heat two before Korneliussen and Cook took an unchallenged maximum in heat three.
Howarth got it together to win a shared heat four before a Leicester maximum increased the lead to ten, prompting Bees to give Andersen a tactical ride. Unfortunately he could not hold Korneliussen on the first turn and had to settle for second place. With Harris coming third Bees did at least get a 5-3 heat advantage.
Another 4-2 after a good ride by Newman kept Bees on course for at least a point but Korneliussen and Klindt took an untroubled 5-1 in heat eight to leave the halfway score at 30-20 to the home Lions.
Bees were now struggling to get a heat advantage and although the next two heats were shared, heat nine through a good ride by Newman and the next with Harris and Summers coming from the back, the home side took another 5-1, the race ending with Andersen falling on the last bend after challenging the home pair all the way.
Bees were not providing race winners and home riders Stead and Cook took heats twelve and thirteen to put the match out of Bees’ reach.
Bees now needed two 5-1’s to take a point but it was the home side who finished the better taking a 4-2 before Harris won the last race of the night to make the final score 54-38.
This was a disappointment for promoter Mick Horton who had expressed a wish for four league points over the two matches. Although three was by no means a disaster they will be looking for maximum point outcomes to their remaining home matches.
Until Harris’ last outing Bees race wins were shared between the two Kyles, Howarth and Newman. One worry at the moment must be the form of Hansen who looks completely out of touch at the moment and is obviously not fully fit.
Bees’ scorers; Newman 13(1), Harris 8(2), Andersen 7(1), Howarth 6, Summers 3, Hansen 1, Sarjeant 0.
Belle Vue 36, Bees 56
With the exception of Barker, Bees were back to full strength for this one. Max Fricke, who had impressed in previous guest outings was again drafted in. Belle Vue were without Storm rider Stefan Nielsen, who is one of their fast track reserves.
It was the home side who fired the early shots with Matej Zagar winning from Andersen with Howarth losing third place on lap three.
Bee’s reserves were expected to dominate and did not disappoint with a maximum in heat two to put Bees ahead.
Craig Cooke won heat three from Harris but Fricke rode a good race to keep out Scott Nicholls.
Belle Vue made the start to heat four but Howarth and Sarjeant fought back to take a 4-2 thanks partly to Ritchie Worrall putting his partner out of contention.
Bees were on to a 5-1 in heat five but Zagar managed to get by Hansen on the third lap.
Andersen and Harris made no mistake in heat six and Bees almost did it again in the next but Michael Palm Toft managed to get by Hansen.
Nicholls then quite predictably took a tactical double in heat eight but Fricke added another scalp to his record by holding the former Bees skipper into second place.
The resulting home 5-3 left the score at 20-30 with seven heats to go.
The reserves again dominated heat nine before aces took their second tactical ride. Zagar was the man entrusted but Fricke once again rose to the occasion and held the GP star at the back. Harris won from Palm Toft and made the score 23-39 to Bees.
Nicholls and Cook took a 4-2 in heat eleven and although the next two heats were shared, there was no holding Bees who finished up with a 4-2 and a 5-1 to make the final score 36-56 and four welcome league points in the bag.
Although the top men were on top form it was the lesser lights that made the win for Bees. Garrity finished with a four ride maximum while Fricke’s eight points were worth far more considering who he beat to get them.
Bees’ scorers; Harris 12(1), Garrity 12, Andersen 10(2), Fricke 8(1), Sarjeant 6(3), Hansen 3.
There is no meeting at Brandon on Friday (5th); the match against King’s Lynn has been switched to Thursday (4th) to avoid a clash with Coventry City’s return to the Ricoh. The Stars will be without number one Niels Kristian Iversen who is out for the season after injuring his leg in Saturday’s grand Prix. The meeting starts at the usual time of 7.30pm.
On Monday Bees visit Swindon. As one of Bees closest challengers for the top four, a result is vitally important.
Storm is also in action with an unusual ‘double’. On Sunday afternoon they visit Buxton and then make the short trip to Stoke for an evening match.