Speedway: Former Bee is champion in Cardiff

Alan Goodman
Alan Goodman

There was no Elite League Speedway last weekend as all eyes were focused on Saturday’s British Grand Prix, writes Alan Goodman

Three coaches plus many, many other Coventry fans made the trip to Cardiff to sample the marvellous atmosphere this particular meeting generates.

Fans from all tracks mingle without a hint of trouble to make it a day to remember.

Held in the Millennium Stadium it is undoubtedly Britain’s speedway showpiece of the year.

While Chris Harris is Bees’ main interest, there were two other team members in the field.

Competition reserve Michael Jepsen Jensen made his second appearance as former champion Chris Holder pulled out having not recovered from his injuries sustained before the Denmark round.

Also on the introduction parade was Jason Garrity who had been awarded one of the reserve positions.

Jensen was the first of the Bees in action, taking second place to Darcy Ward in a processional heat one.

Harris was out two heats later and after missing the start worked his way into third place after a good battle with Troy Batchelor.

Jensen then earned himself a good two points in heat five, following Tai Woffinden home with Nicki Pedersen and Batchelor battling it out at the back.

Harris then got the Coventry contingent to their feet with a heat seven win over Jarek Hampel and Matej Zagar.

The Bees pair were out together in heat nine and it was a 5-1 with Jensen leading the way from Harris with another ex-Bee, Martin Smolinski, in third.

With three out of their five races over both riders were in the top eight scorers, Jensen on seven and Harris on six and signs of a semi-final place looking good.

Jensen carried on well, working his way into second place in heat 13 after making a poor start.

It was not so good for Harris who, after missing the start, he could only watch as Woffinden, Andreas Jonsson and Fredrik Lindgren battled it out in a terrific race.

Jensen also suffered a blip in his fifth outing. Leading into turn one, he was last coming out of turn two and could make no impression on the other three.

For Harris it was a win or nothing in heat 20.

Unfortunately it was nothing as he failed to finish the race.

Jensen’s heat 17 blip did not cost him a semi-final place but unfortunately a mistake in the semi at the end of lap two put him into third and then half a lap later he went crashing out after a challenge by Krzysztof Kasprzak.

With no tape exclusions and few falls, Garrity never had the chance to get any track action but will certainly benefit by being in the pits.

Although Woffinden headed the scorers he did not finish up as champion.

The honour went to ex-Bees favourite Greg Hancock who won a close final.

Third place went to Darcy Ward.

Woffinden actually increased his overall lead and now leads Hancock by 98 points to 87. Ward lies in third with 76.

Bees resume their league campaign tomorrow (Friday) when they host Belle Vue.

The Aces are led by former Bees skipper Scott Nicholls and also include Matej Zagar and Craig Cook who both appeared at Cardiff. One of their fast track reserves is Storm number one Stefan Nielsen.

A good meeting is in prospect and starts at 7.30 p.m.

Bee’s position in the Elite League table may have altered due to the withdrawal of Birmingham through financial difficulties.

An amended table will shortly be issued by the BSPA.