SPEEDWAY: Alan Goodman’s Column

Two fixtures against Peterborough

With only one Elite League match under their belts Coventry Buildbase Bees have already hit injury problems with the news that new number one Hans Andersen has broken bones in his foot after a freak training accident. He received his injury after tripping over a branch during a training run in the woods. Although most teams were in action at some time or other on Good Friday Bees managed to obtain suitable guest replacements for their fixtures with Peterborough. Bees came out of the day with four League points although there was a feeling among fans that they should have taken all seven after leading until the last heat in the morning fixture at Alwalton.

Peterborough 46, Bees 44.

Elite League

Bees were without their usual opening pair, with Niels Iversen guesting for Andersen and Richard Sweetman’s doubling up partner, Travis McGowan coming in at number two.

It was McGowan who made the start to heat one but Nicki Pedersen soon took the lead with Bees being content with a share of the heat points.

Heat two was also shared. Przemyslaw Pawlicki looked an easy winner but a late burst by Norbert Kosciuch gave him a fright before getting the verdict.

Bees went ahead in the next thanks to a smart piece of riding by Ryan Fisher. After exchanging the lead a couple of times with Krzysztof Buczkowski he took Buczkowski wide coming out of turn two which allowed partner Kenni Larsen to come through on the inside for second place.

Edward Kennett and Pawlicki took maximum points from heat four to open up an eight-point lead.

Bees came out worst in a first bend tussle in heat five. McGowan was taken completely out of the running while Iversen eventually worked his way into second but failed to catch Buczkowski.

Kennett defeated Pedersen in heat six before hard riding by Fisher earned him a good win in heat seven.

Dakota North was well ahead in heat eight and looked set for a win. Pawlicki had other ideas and a superhuman effort saw him reel in his man and take the lead on the last lap.

Buczkowski rode well to pass Kennett for a win in heat nine. His actions however did not help his team as it cost them the chance of giving Pedersen a ride for double points in the next.

Pedersen duly won heat ten with Linus Sundstrom taking second after Fisher fell on the last bend after working hard to get second place. This maximum heat win was the start of the Peterborough revival.

Bees made the start to heat eleven and were in a 4-2 position but with McGowan and Iversen both losing out to their respective opponents the heat score was reversed and Bees were only two ahead.

A good turn two by Fisher in heat twelve saw him team up with Pawlicki for maximum points and increase the lead to six.

For the first time in the match Kennett missed out at the start and in now dusty conditions could only watch as Pedersen and Troy Batchelor collected a vital heat thirteen 5-1.

Bees needed at least three points from heat fourteen and Pawlicki appeared to have the race won but a little bit of what appeared to be ‘showboating’ allowed Kosciuch to snatch the verdict on the line.

Scores were now level and it was set up for an exciting final race. It proved that and more. After numerous passes and repasses a blanket could have been thrown over all four riders as they crossed the finishing line. The eventual verdict was a win for Pedersen from Fisher with Batchelor taking the all-important third to give Peterborough a two-point victory, the first time they had led throughout the meeting.

There was a lot of feeling that Bees should have won this one, one factor being as to whether McGowan should have taken his fourth ride. As it was it proved a good morning’s entertainment and the large crowd must surely have gone away wanting more.

For Bees Pawlicki was top scorer with paid fourteen. Iversen managed just seven points from the number one spot whereas Andersen would probably made a few more. Fisher was good value for his eleven points, most of which were earned riding the fast outside line.

Bees scorer’s; Pawlicki 12(2), Fisher 11, Kennett 8, Iversen 7, Larsen 3(1), McGowan 2(1), Morris 1(1).

Bees 54, Peterborough 38.

Elite League.

Another large crowd gathered at Brandon to see these two teams meet for the fourth time this season. Old favourite Chris Harris, now with Belle Vue, was drafted into the number one position with rider replacement being utilised at number two. For Peterborough Richard Lawson replaced North in the second reserve spot.

Pedersen led from the start in heat one with Bees looking set for a share of the points. Pawlicki however, got into trouble on the Rugby bend second time around and after almost hitting the fence lost third place to Sundstrom.

Peterborough looked set to double their lead in heat two until Pawlicki cashed in on a mistake by Kosciuch on the last lap to take the lead.

Buczkowski won a shared heat three to keep the visitors ahead.

Bees drew level in heat four. Kennett shook off an early challenge from Batchelor who eventually lost out to Morris for third place.

Fisher led from the gate in five and kept calm despite being under pressure from the visiting pair. Back marker Larsen made up ground and passed Pedersen on the last lap.

Harris and Batchelor bumped in what appeared to be a most unsatisfactory start to heat six. Kosciuch was taken wide and out of it. Harris took the lead with Pawlicki following home after a tremendous cut-back at the end of the third lap.

A ragged first turn to the next saw both Buczkowski and Morris come to grief on the first bend with the Peterborough man excluded. In the rerun Kacper Gomolski led from the tapes.

Peterborough made the start in heat eight. Lawson was soon accounted for but Sundstrom was a different proposition, winning in the fastest time of the night.

The visitors were proving sharp from the starts and led again in heat nine. Fisher went too wide on the first turn and got caught up in the loose shale. Larsen went by Kosciuch but could make no impression on Batchelor. Fisher recovered to take third place. At this stage Bees led by 30 points to 24.

Once again Bees were slow from the start and although Harris and Pawlicki went by Buczkowski there was no catching Gomolski.

There was controversy in heat eleven. After Pedersen had moved at the start a restart was ordered. Pedersen led from the tapes. Kennett gave chase and took his man wide at the end of lap three, causing Pedersen to clip the fence. This let Morris through for an unexpected but welcome 5-1. This did not please the former World Champion and words were exchanged at the end of the race and in the pits afterwards.

Bees took a 5-1 in heat twelve before Pedersen was given a tactical ride in heat thirteen. Kennett made the start while Pedersen seemed to be fighting a battle with his own partner. He eventually got clear but far too late. To add insult to injury Harris slipped by Batchelor on the last lap for a Bees 4-2.

Buczkowski was given the second tactical ride in the penultimate race. Larsen made the start with Morris soon slipping into second to secure all three match points for Bees.

Pedersen finally gained revenge by winning heat fifteen from Harris and Sundstrom to make the final score 54-38 to Bees.

This was a good all-round team performance. Particularly impressive was Morris whose performances are far in excess of those expected from him, given his limited experience.

Bee’s scorer’s; Pawlicki 11(2), Kennett 10(1), Harris 10, Fisher, Larsen 8(2), Morris 7(2).

Due to Bees late admittance to the league and their fixtures having to be slotted in where possible they are left without a fixture this weekend and their next match is on Friday May 6th against Wolverhampton.

This does at least give them time to fully assess the Andersen situation. If the injury is going to be long term they will consider signing a replacement. If not they will carry on using guests.

This weekend sees the start of the GP season with the first round in Leszno, Poland. Despite him not riding at Brandon this season there will be plenty of Bees fans following the fortunes of Chris Harris.

Alan Goodman.