After another home defeat last Friday, Bees came back well to record their first Elite League win of the season at Wolverhampton on Monday.
Before Friday’s match Bees made a couple of changes to their side, bringing in Josef Franc to replace Jason Bunyan as the doubling-up partner to Adam Roynon and brought in promising Swedish youngster Mathias Thornblom to replace Henning Bager.
It must be hoped that Monday’s win has changed the course of Bees season and there is still a faint hope of reaching the play-offs.
Bees 42, Swindon 48.
Bees fielded their usual top five but paraded their new-look bottom end for the first time.
Chris Harris originally led heat one but appeared to be lacking speed and was eventually overtaken by Hans Andersen on the final lap.
The new reserve pairing did not make the hoped-for impression with the visitors taking a comfortable maximum heat win in heat two.
Bees made the start to heat three but Simon Stead went by Kenni Larsen to keep the visitors ahead.
A twice started heat four saw Peter Kildemand take the lead but a mistake on the Coventry turn saw both Scott Nicholls and Dawid Lampart by.
Larsen fell on the first turn to heat five after a tangle with Lasse Bjerre. A restart with all four was ordered. Andersen won the race with Edward Kennett in close attendance but unable to get by.
Bees looked set for maximum points in heat seven but Harris pulled out with machine problems on the last lap leaving Aaron Summers to take the flag.
A shared heat eight saw the visitors lead by 27-21 at the halfway stage.
Heat nine was rerun after last-placed Kennett fell while entering the third turn. In the rerun it was Kildemand from the gate despite an early effort by Larsen.
Harris won heat ten before an exciting heat eleven saw both Bees eventually pass Andersen to bring them back to within two points.
Franc came in for Thornblom and won a shared heat twelve to keep Bees in the hunt.
Heat thirteen saw Bees draw level. Swindon led from the start but a good move by Nicholls saw him pass both riders coming out of turn two. Harris took time to get moving but eventually passed Kildemand and it took all of Andersen’s experience to prevent him from taking second spot.
Swindon took a 4-2 in the penultimate heat to go two ahead.
It now all depended on the final races and Bees hopes were immediately dashed when Harris failed to leave the tapes after another engine failure. The Swindon pair took a 5-1 and with it three more match points.
This was another night blighted by machine failures and falls. Without these Bees would probably taken at least two points. Nicholls and Summers were the best of the side with Franc turning in two good wins. Although Thornblom was off the pace reports indicate that he was not on his own equipment so judgement must be reserved for the moment.
Bees’ scorers; Nicholls 12, Summers 8(1), Franc 6(1), Harris 6, Kennett, Larsen 5, Thornblom 0.
Wolverhampton 42, Bees 47.
Bees went into this match without either of their new signings. Adam Roynon was again available to take his new number two spot and Mathias Thornblom had a prior booking, which was known to Bees at the time of his signing. Bees recruited National League rider Cameron Heeps and this proved an inspired choice as his points almost certainly pulled things Bees way.
It was not the best of openings for Bees, for despite the sunny weather drawing a big crowd, track conditions were difficult in the early stages and the Bees pair of Harris and Roynon, were well beaten by their opposite numbers in a scrappy opening heat.
Summers steadied the ship with a win in heat two. Heeps faded after a good battle with Jacob Thorssel.
A tight turn one saw Bees again miss out in heat three, the home 5-1 making the score 13-5 and Bees fans fearing the worst.
Tai Woffinden won heat four. Nicholls struggled on the first corner but recovered to take Thorssel. Thorssel fell on the second lap, giving Bees a share of the points.
Bees made the start to heat five only to see the race stopped after Robert Miskowiak fell on the first turn. In the rerun Harris and Roynon effectively blocked out Ricky Wells on the first turn and went on to record Bees first maximum of the night.
Wolves led in heat six but Nicholls soon got the better of Fredrik Lindgren but was unable to catch Ty Proctor.
Heat seven was stopped after Matej Kus fell on the first turn. There was then a delay for, believe it or not, the sun was making visibility difficult going into the first turn. When racing resumed Kennett contrived to fall at the same spot and was also excluded. The two-man rerun saw Woffinden make the start only to make a big mistake at the end of the lap and let Larsen in.
Heat eight was another incident packed race. Wolves led from the tapes. Roynon completed a superb overtaking move to lead on the back straight. A Thorssel mistake then let in Heeps. Thorssel then fell on the second lap and the race was stopped. In the restart Roynon came down after some rough treatment by Proctor. He was re-instated but at the third time of running could make no impression on the hard riding Proctor and Bees had to settle for a share of the points and trailed by 26-21 at the halfway stage.
Nicholls took advantage of a Miskowiak mistake to win heat nine before Larsen shot out of the gate to win heat ten. With Kennett finally getting the better of Proctor on the third lap, Bees were gradually getting back into the match.
Everybody was looking to Harris to beat Woffinden in heat eleven but it was Roynon who did the trick leading from the start and denying every attempt by the GB international to get by. Harris finished third to bring Bees to within one point.
Kennett passed Miskowiak at the end of the first lap to win heat twelve and with Summers taking third over Thorssel, who this time managed to stay afloat, Bees were ahead.
Nicholls rode a good first corner to take the lead in heat thirteen. Woffinden took an awkward looking tumble at the end of the first lap, causing yet another stoppage. Lindgren took advantage of the restart to lead from the off and keep the single point separating the sides.
Once again heat fourteen was to be vital to Bees cause. Larsen made the start. Behind him Wells and Kus got into a tangle and went wide on turn two, allowing Heeps to come through and ride the race of his short career to hold second place.
This virtually sealed the match for Bees and a 4-2 would have even given them an extra league point. As it was the Wolves pair led from the start and although both Nicholls and Harris got by Proctor there was no catching Lindgren.
Although it was slightly disappointing to miss out on the bonus point most people would have been happy with any points at all after the first three heats.
This was a much better performance with all riders coming up with points at the right time. Larsen took three wins after his opening reverse while Nicholls was always in the mix. Harris was slightly subdued and still lacks speed. Roynon, Heeps and Summers all rode well, the reserves well outscoring their counterparts who seemed unable to stay in the saddle, registering four falls between them.
Bees’ scorers; Larsen 10, Nicholls 9(2), Harris 8, Roynon 6(2), Heeps 6(1), Kennett, Summers 4.
There is no match this weekend but Bees have rearranged the washed out fixture with Wolverhampton for the following Friday.