Coventry Buildbase Bee’s slim play-off hopes ended in a tough contest on an ultra-slick Eastbourne circuit on Monday night. Bees needed to take at worst one point but they even failed on that score, going down by 53 points to 40.
Eastbourne 53, Bees 40
For once Bees tracked their best side with only the suspended Edward Kennett missing. The Pawlicki brothers have been conspicuous by their recent absences and once again there were worries when they were held up in traffic en route to Sussex and the start time was put back for fifteen minutes to allow for their arrival.
When proceedings finally got underway, Bees gated with their opponents in heat one but Eastbourne led coming out of turn two thanks to Simon Gustafsson putting his track knowledge to good use rode to an opening 5-1 to immediately put Bees under pressure.
Cameron Woodward has been a thorn in Bees side over the past couple of weeks and again he was in the thick of it, winning heat two. The Bees pair soon disposed of Timo Lahti for a share of the points.
Przemyslaw Pawlicki fell at the start heat three but got off the track before the race was stopped. It made no difference as Ryan Fisher finished third after initially leading Lewis Bridger.
Bees pulled two points back when Nick Morris made the start and held back home number two Joonas Kylmakorpi for a great win. Larsen took third to put Bees six behind.
Emil Sayfutdinov found a narrow gap between Woodward and the Arlington fence to force his way into the lead in heat five. Unfortunately Larsen, who bravely turned out despite having had a broken wrist confirmed in the week, struggled at the back.
Alun Rossiter made a surprise move by bringing Nick Morris into heat six as a rider replacement for Kennett. This effectively left Bees reserves to face arguably the home sides strongest pairing. It proved a good move as Morris outgated Bjarne Pedersen for another good win. Piotr Pawlicki took third to put Bees back in the hunt.
The match was getting very tense and heat seven was run three times. At the first attempt Przem. Pawlicki had his front wheel taken away by Woodward which resulted in a nasty tumble. In the rerun Fisher fell when attempting to regain second from Timo Lahti and was excluded despite contact from his opponent. At the third attempt Eastbourne took a 5-1 over an obviously shaken Pawlicki.
Woodward gated in heat eight but Morris took the lead along the back straight. Unfortunately Morris could not hold the advantage and despite a good effort had to be content with second place. Larsen took third to leave Bees trailing by 28-20 at the halfway stage.
Pawlicki jr. Fell at the start of heat nine but was allowed back in the restart. Sayfutdinov was an easy winner but Pawlicki struggled at the back despite Bridger almost falling on the third lap.
Morris came in for the elder Pawlicki in heat ten but the move misfired after Morris took a nasty tumble after being boxed in when entering the first turn. This obviously affected him as he struggled at the back as the home side took maximum points to put Eastbourne twelve ahead.
This led to Sayfutdinov being given a tactical ride in heat eleven. He was an easy winner and Larsen managed third place to give Bees a 7-2 heat advantage and a glimmer of hope.
Morris came in for Fisher in the next. The move looked to have worked as Morris chased the fast gating Gustafsson. It ended in tears as Morris took a tumble into the fence after almost completing a good overtaking move. This signalled the virtual end of Bees championship hopes for this season. Piotr Pawlicki managed second in the restart but it was now over.
Sayfutdinov tried hard to win heat thirteen but had to be content with second place.
Eastbourne finished up with a 3-3 and a 4-2 to take the match by 53 points to 40 and leave Lakeside with the final top four place.
Bee’s middle order let them down in this match. Sayfutdinov and the two reserves did the bulk of the scoring with Larsen, Fisher and Przem. Pawlicki contributing just ten between them. Considering the problems they have encountered this season they could be reasonably satisfied with fifth place in the league and next year, starting on an even playing field could well be in contention for the major honours.
Bees’ scorers; Sayfutdinov 15, Morris 9(1), Piotr.Pawlicki 6(1), Przem. Pawlicki 5, Larsen 3(1), Fisher 2.
Nordic Grand Prix.
Emil Sayfutdinov reached the semi final stage in Saturday’s Nordic GP at Vojens in Denmark. Although he finished in last place it was enough to keep him in overall seventh in the rankings and keep him well on course an automatic place in next year’s contest.
For Chris Harris however it was another torrid night with only a win in his final race keeping off the bottom of the pile. Barring a miracle he will have to rely on a wild card pick for next season as he lies a massive 37 points behind eighth man Kenneth Bjerre with just two meetings to go.
The meeting was won by Greg Hancock who has an overall lead of thirty-one points and will almost certainly be crowned 2011 World Champion in Croatia a week on Saturday. Second on Saturday was Jason Crump with Fredrik Lindgren taking the other rostrum place.
Bees finish their Elite League fixtures tonight (Thursday) with the visit of King’s Lynn. The stars have a strong top two of Kenneth Bjerre and Niels Kristian Iversen. They also include ex-Bees, Olly Allen and Filip Sitera.
Although now out of the play-offs Bees have arranged home and away fixtures with both Birmingham and Wolverhampton and with local honour at stake these promise to provide a good finish to what has been a traumatic season for Bees.