Last meeting of season on Friday
Despite the weather, Coventry managed to ride their two scheduled meetings and can therefore finish the season with everything tidied up.
Niels Kristian Iversen was a worthy winner of Friday’s prestigious Brandonapolis. The rain held off sufficiently for the Bees promotion to stage their first Elite League level meeting since September 6th. Conditions however were not ideal and riders found difficulty in coping with the wet conditions. Iversen himself was an early victim, locking up on turn three in his first ride and bringing down Ben Barker. Fortunately neither rider was hurt and both carried on to play a big part in the final outcome. Iversen could only manage third place behind Chris Harris and Hans Andersen in his second outing and at this stage his chances seemed over. However eight points from his next three outings gained him a place in the semi-final. At this stage of the proceedings the rain was getting heavier and the races were spread out. Ben Barker fell at the first attempt to run the semi-final and in the rerun it was Iversen and Harris who went on to join automatic qualifiers Andersen and Bjarne Pedersen.
A further delay came when Andersen took a tumble out of turn two, causing a further delay in repairing the safety fence. When the final got underway it was Iversen from the gate with Harris second and Pedersen third.
Credit must go to all of the riders who gave their all in tricky conditions. Particularly outstanding was Dane Kenneth Hansen who thrilled the crowd, coming from the back to score most of his points. His ride in heat fifteen was particularly good for after seeming well behind on the back straight a burst speed sew him go by both Aaron Summers and Krzysztof Kasprzak in the space of half a lap. His bursts around the tricky fourth turn made him the most exciting rider on view. Another rider Jakub Jamrog, although only scoring four points, due to a couple of falls, impressed when winning heat five in by far the fastest time of the night.
Coventry riders Scott Nicholls and Grzegorz Zengota finished mid-field with seven and six respectively, while Aaron Summers managed just four.
Leicester 59, Bees 35.
(East Midlands Bowl 1st leg.)
This was Bees first trip to Leicester’s Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium and certainly was no improvement on their previous travels this season. Leicester are in the lower Premier League and were allowed to strengthen up for these trophy matches. They spared no expense and a side containing four Grand prix riders were no match for Bees who included a couple of their own assets and also booked in Brandonapolis winner, Niels Kristian Iversen to lead the side.
Bees made a poor start with Scott Nicholls losing his steel shoe in the opening heat leaving Iversen to take second place.
Bee’s reserves were outpaced in the next before Leicester took maximum points in heat three to open up an early ten-point lead.
The next two races were shared, heat six mainly to a tactical ride from Iversen which yielded four points.
Two more home maximums followed before the second tactical ride, this time from Nicholls, brought another four points to share the heat and bring the score at the halfway stage to 35-17 in favour of Leicester.
A home 5-1 and 4-2 followed before Bee’s took their first heat advantage of the night, thanks to Iversen and Nicholls who took a 4-2 over Hans Andersen.
Kasprzak won his fourth ride on in heat twelve with Grzegorz Zengota and Aaron Summers holding the minor places.
Bee’s then came back with another 4-2, thanks once again to Iversen who beat Bjerre with Barker taking third.
Leicester finished off with two 4-2’s to make the final score 59-35 and leave Bees with a mountain to climb on Friday.
Bees team manager Gary Havelock bemoaned the fact that a few of the Bees side had seen very little racing over the past few weeks and were slightly rusty. Also Leicester have aims of moving into the Elite League next season and were determined to put on a show.
Bee’s scorers; N.K.Iversen 12, R.Fisher 7, S.Nicholls, B.Barker 5, A. Summers 3(1), G.Zengota 3, J.Sarjeant 0.
The second leg will now be Bees final meeting of the season and they will be making a big effort to pull back the deficit. Teams have yet to be announced but it will be no surprise if Bees try to match their opponents for strength. The meeting takes place tomorrow (Friday) at 7.30 p.m.
Coventry has announced that they will be staging the sport’s winter outdoor meeting, The Christmas Cracker on Sunday December 29th.
Full details will be revealed over the coming weeks.