SPEEDWAY by Alan Goodman

Alan Goodman
Alan Goodman

News from Coventry Buildbase Bees and Coventry Storm

The past week has been busy for both Coventry sides as they try to catch up with their fixture backlogs. Four matches in five days tells the story.

While Bees finished their official fixtures, Storm managed to get two completed with the other abandoned in controversial circumstances due to late evening rain.

Bees 52, Lakeside 38.

Although the play –off teams and semi-final fixtures have been confirmed, this match went towards deciding second place in the Elite League table.

With this being a re-arranged fixture both teams were forced to track guests. Bees had Jacob Thorssell while their opponents used Ben Barker and Josh Bates. Bees also used rider replacement for Joonas Kylmakorpi.

Andreas Jonsson returned to his old stamping ground and promptly won the opening heat, passing Kyle Howarth in the process. With Chris Harris at the back, Lakeside had opened up an early lead.

Bee’s reserves did the business in the next before Harris recovered from his opening duck to partner Danny King to a second maximum and open up a six-point lead.

Thorssell split the visiting pair in the next before another ex-Bee, Edward Kennett, won a shared heat five.

Jonsson made the start to heat six and his partner Kim Nilsson went from last to second on the back straight to show that the ‘Hammers’, who needed victory to come from the bottom of the league, were not going to be pushovers,

The scores were now level but two successive 4-2’s put Bees 26-22 ahead at the halfway stage.

Heat nine was rerun after Howarth fell on the second lap. Although Jason Garrity made the start, Josh Bates used the outside line well to take the lead on the final lap.

King won heat ten with Thorssell getting third on a crowded back straight.

Howarth made the start to heat eleven and the crowd were then treated to vintage Harris as he worked his way through from last to second to give Bees a maximum and increase the lead to eight.

A maximum in the reserves race virtually sealed the match.

After a shared heat thirteen, Lakeside pulled two back in heat fourteen but Bees finished up with a maximum in the last after a mistake by leader Jonsson on turn three let in both Harris and King for a final 52-38 scoreline.

Although there was not much at stake, this was an entertaining match and gave Bees a valuable workout for Monday’s vital semi-final.

Bees’ scorers: King 14, Harris 10(3), Garrity 8(2), Howarth, Thorssell 7, Sarjeant 6(1).

Storm 52, Buxton 41

With Dan Greenwood out for the rest of the season, Storm booked Daniel Halsey to fill the number one spot. Martin Knuckey was made captain.

Bearing in mind the previous double header, a quick start was made and on what appeared to be a slightly sticky track, Halsey combined with Rob Shuttleworth for an opening 5-1.

A home 4-2 in the next gave Storm an early six point lead.

Two more of the same increased the lead to ten, giving the visitors to opportunity to give their number one Liam Carr a tactical ride for double points. Storm looked to take the minor places before Mark Baseby fell on the second lap. In the rerun Darryl Ritchings held Steven Jones back to restrict the visitors to a 7-2 heat advantage.

5-1’s were traded in the next two heats before Ryan Blacklock passed Shuttleworth to win heat eight and with partner Jones in third the halfway score was a close 27-24 to Storm.

Heat nine was shared before Storm took another 4-2. Storm then took a 5-1 and 4-2 in between three shared heats to finally win by a comfortable 52-41.

Storm scorers; Daniel Halsey 12, Darryl Ritchings 11, Conor Dwyer 8, Rob Shuttleworth 7(2), Martin Knuckey 7(1), Mark Baseby 5(1), Jamie Halder 2.

Storm 32, Rye House 19.

Abandoned after heat eight – rain.

After the first race was shared, Storm built up a steady lead until for the second match in succession the visitors used a tactical ride in heat five, with number Robert Branford collecting the six points. Storm managed the minor places, leaving the score a 20-13.

At this point the rain had increased and conditions deteriorated leaving riders just cruising around, mostly spread out until, with the score at 32-19 to Storm, the visitors refused to come out for heat nine. After a subsequent delay the meeting was called off. As heat ten had not been ridden a result could not be declared, which only added to Storm’s back fixture headache.

Storm 48, Cradley 44.

This match started at noon on Sunday due to Cradley having another fixture at Stoke some six hours later.

Both sides had guests at number one, Storm Danny Ayres and Cradley Ben Morley. The visitors also utilised rider replacement.

Storm looked set to take an early lead until race leader Ayres fell at the end of lap three.

More problems for Storm came in the next when Halder looped at the start. In the rerun Cradley looked set for a maximum but Arron Mogridge suffered machine problems and to complete their misery Dwyer took the lead at the end of lap three.

Heat three was shared before Knuckey rode a good race to pass Matt Williamson to win heat four and with Dwyer third Storm were one point ahead.

Another 5-1 in the next increased the lead to five before an eventful heat six. Cradley led before both Shuttleworth and Mogridge fell in separate incidents on turn four with the latter excluded. Williamson won the rerun for a share of the points.

Storm then took a 4-2 and 5-1 to lead by 29-18 at the halfway stage.

Williamson was given a tactical ride in heat nine and was a good winner. A mix-up on the back straight worked in Storm’s favour, reducing the race deficit to 3-6.

Heat ten was even more controversial. At the first attempt to run Mogridge fell, apparently unaided, on turn two. He was surprisingly allowed back in the restart but was unable to go so was replaced by fellow reserve Tyler Govier. In the second restart Ellis Perks took a nasty tumble on the back straight after clashing with Shuttleworth, who was excluded. Most people were watching this incident and were unaware that Govier had fallen on the Coventry turn. After some delay Govier was ruled out with an ankle injury and Mogridge was brought back in. Ayres won the rerun but that was not the end of the matter as Storm claimed that the rules did not allow for the reinstatement of Mogridge.

Nothing came of it and the meeting finally resumed. Storm then took a 4-2 before heat twelve was shared.

Morley and Williamson kept Cradley in the hunt with a heat thirteen maximum.

A Storm 4-2 settled the match before another Morley-Williamson 5-1 gave the final 48-44 scoreline a respectable look.

Storm scorers; Ritchings 11, Knuckey 9, Dwyer 7(2), Shuttleworth 7, Baseby 6(3),Ayres 5(1), Halder 3.

Due to Rye House picking up a point at Mildenhall and the cut-off point reached Storm finish outside of the top four in the League and will not therefore contest the end of season Gold Cup competition.

Slovenian Grand Prix.

Chris Harris again finished down the order at Krsko on Saturday but at least has the knowledge of knowing that he will be competing again in 2016 after taking one of the three places after the GP Challenge. After fortunately avoiding a nasty pile up in his first outing he went on to collect four points and finish twelfth.

The meeting was won by Greg Hancock form Tai Woffinden and Peter Kildemand.

Woffinden leads the series with 127 points. Hancock is second on 102 and Nicki Pedersen third with 98. Harris lies thirteenth with 43.

Preview.

Bees entertain Poole in the first leg of the Elite League play-off semi-final on Friday evening. The match was originally scheduled for last Monday but poor weather forecasts prompted the restage.

Poole has a strong side led by three Australians, Chris Holder, Davey Watt and Dakota North. Bees have Fredrik Lindgren as a guest for Joonas Kylmakorpi.

The second leg at Poole takes place on Monday.

There is a coach running to Poole and leaves the stadium at 2pm. Bookings can be made at the BOSS kiosk on Speed Square or by telephoning 01788 562132.

Alan Goodman