News from Coventry Bees and Storm
Coventry Buildbase Bees will ride Swindon in the Elite League play-off semi-final. After King’s Lynn were beaten by Belle Vue in a double header match, with Coventry second on, this left table toppers Poole with first pick of opponents and they opted for runners up King’s Lynn, leaving Bees with what could be the trickier task. Although finishing fourth, the Robins have a full strength squad available and are possibly the form team of the moment.
Coventry Storm have started their play-offs and went down narrowly to Kent on Monday, leaving themselves a good chance of reaching the finals.
Belle Vue 40, Bees 53.
This was the second match in a double header which made a slight mockery of Speedway’s guest rider system with three of Bees side riding in the first match for injury hit King’s Lynn. Bees were without Kyle Howarth, Ben Barker and James Sarjeant, who was required for the more vital Storm match at Kent. Rider replacement was utilised for Barker while Aaron Summers and Max Clegg filled the other two spots.
Bees started well with Hans Andersen and Summers taking maximum points after a good first turn.
The reserves looked like doubling the lead until Lee Payne went under both on lap two and almost unseating Clegg in the process. Garrity regained first place on the final lap.
Belle Vue hit back with maximum points in the next after the mechanical problems that had plagued Chris Harris in the first continued.
Summers won a shared heat four before Garrity and a back to form Kenneth Hansen held out the fancied home pair of Matej Zagar and Craig Cook to increase the lead to six.
Andersen won the next before the Garrity-Hansen pairing struck again in the next to bring the score to 26-16 to Bees.
Not surprisingly Scott Nicholls was given a tactical ride in heat eight. Garrity was brought in as a rider replacement but took a nasty tumble on the first turn and was out of the race. Despite a good first lap, Summers could not hold the home pair and the resulting 8-1 brought the aces to within three points of Bees at the halfway stage.
Thankfully Garrity recovered from his earlier mishap and combined with Clegg for an easy 5-1.
Bees are well known for their strength in the latter stages and after a shared heat ten slammed in three 5-1’s and a 4-2 to seal the match with two races to go.
Belle Vue gained a consolation 5-1 in the last race but Bees had already secured all four match points.
This was a good performance from Bees and augers well for the coming play-off matches. It was pleasing to see a return to form for Hansen and the only downside was Harris, but a rider of his calibre will soon sort out his problems and fans can be sure that this will be a one-off.
Bees’ scorers; Garrity 14(1), Andersen 12, Hansen 11(3), Summers 10(1), Harris 3(2), Clegg 3(1).
Kent 49, Storm 44.
Storm took a leaf out of their counterpart’s book by coming back in the later heats after being well beaten in the first half of the match.
Kent opened up the stronger and opened up an eight point lead after eight races.
Sarjeant then took double points from a heat nine victory and then Storm put in two 4-2’s to put themselves back in the match.
The home side took another 4-2 which Storm then neutralised in the penultimate race before a shared final race left Storm confident of reaching the final after October 3rd’s second leg.
Storm scorers; Dan Greenwood 13(1), James Sarjeant 12, Oliver Greenwood 11(1), Luke Priest 6(1), Martin Knuckey 2, Ryan Terry-Daley 0
Grand Prix Challenge
Chris Harris will be a Grand Prix rider again next year after finishing third in Saturday’s GP Challenge in Lonigo, Italy.
He scored thirteen points from five rides and joined Matej Zagar and Jason Doyle on the rostrum after a three man run off for meeting victory itself.
Harris is hoping for a better year in the competition as he has all winter to get more organised while last year he received a late call up with was not ideal for preparation.
Both teams will be in action on Friday. Bees ride their final League fixture against local rivals Wolverhampton. Although nothing is now at stake these matches are always fiercely fought events and one hopes that Bees can escape further injuries.
Storm ride their National League K.O. Cup semi-final against Cradley. The visitors have a healthy lead from the first leg and it will need a magnificent Storm effort to pull this one back. Start time is 7pm.
On Monday Bees ride the first leg of the vital play-off match against Swindon, starting at 7.30pm.
The second leg at Swindon takes place the following Monday.