SPEEDWAY: By Alan Goodman

Alan Goodman
Alan Goodman
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News from Coventry Bees and Storm

The Speedway season may soon be coming to an end but there is still plenty left for Coventry fans to enjoy as both Bees and Storm have reached the final of their respective league play offs, giving the chance of a league double.

Storm overcame Kent on Friday and now meet old adversaries Cradley on Monday, October 20 (Home) and Tuesday 21st (Away).

Bees are renowned for their exploits on away tracks and pulled off yet another great win at fortress Blunsden by beating bookies favourites Swindon to go into a final against Poole or King’s Lynn, the match being rained off on Monday and is rescheduled for tonight (Thursday).

Storm 54, Kent 39.

Storm went into this match with a five point deficit from the first leg encounter at Sittingbourne. Storm was without the injured Oliver Greenwood and Stefan Nielsen. Rider replacement was utilised for the latter and Joe Jacobs was brought in as a guest for Storm’s skipper. Kent tracked a full side.

It soon became obvious that track conditions were tricky at the least and Kent took an early lead in a thrice run heat one which finished with just two riders and even more oddly the winner Simon Lambert started off a fifteen metre handicap after a tapes offence.

Storm took a 5-1 in the next after both visitors fell at various times before heat three was shared after the visitors David Mason took a fall and was out of the meeting.

Storm increased their lead on the night to nine in the next two races.

Two shared races followed before a Kent maximum heat win brought the aggregate scores back to level pegging.

James Sarjeant was almost invincible and took his third win in heat nine and with Dan Greenwood in second, Storm were back on their way to the final.

Kent led from the start in heat ten but reserve Danny Ayres fell with partner Ben Morley unable to avoid him. With Morley unable to take part in the rerun it left the other reserve Jason Garrod to unsuccessfully take on the Storm pair of Jacobs and Luke Priest.

Lambert took a tactical ride in the next and was leading until partner Aaron Baseby fell. In the restart Sarjeant made no mistake.

A second visitor’s tactical saw them take a 5-3 heat win before a Storm 4-2 left Kent needed two maximums to force a tie on aggregate.

Heat fourteen saw them set for the first one but Dan Greenwood just managed to split the pair in a blanket finish on the line.

A Storm 5-1 in the final heat left the score 54-39 and the aggregate score 98-88 to Storm.

The meeting was littered with falls with all but two of the thirteen riders falling at one stage or other.

Sarjeant was in fine form, scoring an eighteen –point maximum and received good backing from Dan Greenwood with paid sixteen.

Storm scorers; James Sarjeant 18, Dan Greenwood 14(2), Joe Jacobs 7, Martin Knuckey 6(1), Luke Priest 5(2), Ryan Terry-Daley 4(1).

Swindon 45, Bees 50.

Bees suffered a 31-60 hammering on this same track a month ago and despite holding an eight point lead from the first leg they were still second best in many people’s eyes.

The Swindon track staff had worked tirelessly to get the track into shape after the morning’s rain and must be congratulated on their efforts. Bees had Max Fricke guesting for the injured Ben Barker but otherwise the teams were unchanged from Friday.

Peter Kildemand won a shared heat to open proceedings before Bees went ahead in the next thanks to a good ride by James Sarjeant.

Even better was to follow as Bees took a 5-1 through Chris Harris and Fricke, who was soon proving what a good choice of guest he was.

A 4-2 from Kyle Howarth and Sarjeant put Bees in the driving seat although the home side hit back with a Kildemand-Troy Batchelor 4-2 in the next.

Bees immediately came back with a Hans Andersen–Harris 5-1 to open up a ten point lead on the night.

Nick Morris was given a tactical double in what turned out to be an incident packed heat seven. Kenneth Hansen led from the start from Morris. Jason Garrity went into second place entering the third turn. Home rider Steve Worrall was a faller on that turn. Bee’s hopes of a maximum only lasted until the next turn when first Garrity got into trouble on a sticky patch and let Morris through. Hansen was also in trouble further round and only just avoided coming to grief. Morris took his chance and went on to take the six points with the Bees pair coming in behind.

Howarth and Fricke were turning out to be Bees top men and their fast starting saw them take another 5-1 in heat eight to leave the aggregate score at 80-61 to Bees.

Bees were gating well all night and Sarjeant won heat nine from Worrall and Garrity.

This gave Swindon the opportunity to use their second tactical and Kildemand was the rider given the black and white helmet.

It was Fricke again who made the start against the home number one and he raced home, probably helped by Harris’ early challenge on Kildemand giving him chance to get clear, for his second win of the night.

Swindon made the start to heat eleven but Andersen soon split the pair, with the resulting 2-4 securing Bees final place.

Howarth won heat twelve but with the final place ensured, Bees appeared to take their foot off the pedal slightly with Swindon winning the next two races.

Howarth won the final race to make the score 50-45 to Bees and 99-86 on aggregate.

With Andersen and Harris scoring just thirteen points between them it was left to the lower order for the scoring with Howarth and Fricke in particular outstanding. Sarjeant also rode well, his slick starting giving him a well earned seven points.

It was Bees gating on the night that won the match as they frequently led into the first turn.

Conditions were not ideal and it appeared that Bees wanted it more than their opponents.

Bee’s scorers; Howarth 13(1), Fricke 10, Harris 7(1), Sarjeant 7, Andersen 6(1), Garrity 4, Hansen 3(1).

Preview.

There is no meeting tomorrow (Friday) but on Monday Bees stage the first leg of the Elite League play–off final. Unfortunately as the Poole – King’s Lynn meeting was rained off and is due to be re staged tonight, Bees opponents are not yet known. The second leg, wherever, will be held on Wednesday (15th).

Providing there is enough support there will be a coach running to the second leg. Further details can be obtained by telephoning 01788 562132.

Alan Goodman.