SPEEDWAY: by Alan Goodman

Alan Goodman
Alan Goodman

News from Coventry Bees and Storm

It was a busy weekend for Coventry riders on both the team and individual front, but not the most successful. Bees finished two away matches with just one solitary Elite League point while Storm lost their unbeaten National League record with a home defeat on Friday.

Eastbourne 61, Bees 30.

Elite League

It was a much depleted Bees team that turned out for this fixture at the tricky Arlington raceway. Hans Andersen was involved in the European Championship, a competition that is not recognised by the BSPA, so no senior guest replacement was allowed. Chris Harris was in Finland taking part in the GP and his planned replacement, Adam Skornicki was injured on Thursday leaving Bees no option but to utilise rider-replacement. Also reserve Jason Garrity was required by parent club Rye House, so Stefan Nielsen deputised. With Steve Worrall making up the numbers, Bees were always facing an uphill struggle.

Problems started as early as heat one when Kyle Howarth was excluded for bringing down Timo Lahti on the second turn of heat one. Ryan Fisher managed to split the home pair in the rerun to limit the home side to a 4-2 heat advantage.

Bees were actually on the way to a 5-1 in heat two until Nielsen was excluded for allegedly bringing down Lewis Blackbird. In the rerun Eastbourne blocked out James Sarjeant to reverse the original possible outcome.

Fisher rode a good race to pass Lewis Bridger to share heat three.

Eastbourne then began to take control taking two 5-1’s and a 4-2 to lead 21-10 after six races.

Fisher had fallen in the previous heat while on a tactical ride but Kenneth Hanson took four points out of the second in an incident packed heat seven. At the first attempt Nielsen was brought down by Dan Halsey and then in the rerun suffered machine problems leaving Hansen to take second behind Lahti.

Bees then fell further behind to trail by 42-19 at the interval stage.

The match was then over for Bees and it was a matter of saving face. After conceding ten more points in the next three races, Hansen, having his best meeting for some time won the final two races to make the final score 61-30, which considering the scratch side Bees put out was not a bad result.

Bees’ scorers: Hansen 12, Fisher 7, Howarth 4, Nielsen 4, Steve Worrall 2, Sarjeant 1.

Wolverhampton 43, Bees 47

Elite League

A heavy downpour some half an hour before the start put this fixture in doubt but extensive track work got the meeting on although conditions were never going to be ideal.

Bees were back to full strength while the hosts fielded World Champion Tai Woffinden and Piotr Pawlicki, who impressed in Bees colours a couple of seasons ago.

Hans Andersen won heat one but Howarth hit problems and finished last.

Bees went ahead in heat two. The pair made a good start but Joe Jacobs went by Sarjeant on the back straight.

Pawlicki was a good winner of heat three with another ex-Bee Ricky Wells passing Fisher on the first lap for a home 5-1.

Garrity and Sarjeant replied with a 4-2 to bring the scores back level.

The sides then traded 5-1’s to continue the stalemate.

Two more shared heats followed before a 5-1 from Bees reserves regained the lead.

It lasted just one heat before the Wolves were back level.

There was controversy in heat eleven. Bees made the start but a good ride by Pawlicki saw him come from the back to take the verdict over Hansen on the line, although the Bees rider thought he had just held out.

Jacob Thorssell rode a good race to win heat twelve. Sarjeant came second but Garrity pulled out with machine problems.

Wolves went four up in heat thirteen with another win for Pawlicki. Harris just held out Woffinden after Andersen had retired with engine problems.

Hansen won heat fourteen but with Garrity again retiring, Bees now needed maximum points to draw the match.

It was not to be with Pawlicki completing his maximum. Hansen and Harris took the minor places after Woffinden hit trouble to give Bees a league point.

Bees’ scorers: Hansen 9(1), Garrity 9, Harris 7(2), Sarjeant 7(1),Andersen 7(1), Fisher 3, Howarth 1.

Coventry Storm 42, Mildenhall 47.

National League

This was a closely fought match with the opening five races shared.

Mildenhall went ahead in heat six before Storm levelled in the next.

More shared heats followed but Storm’s best chance of going ahead was lost in heat ten when Nielsen, paired with Sarjeant suffered machine problems, leaving his partner to go it alone. More problems for Nielsen in the next gave the visitors a four point lead which the held on to until heat fifteen.

Storm now needed a 5-1 to draw but with only two riders finishing, the final result was 42-47.

Storm scorers: James Sarjeant 11, Dan Greenwood 9(3), Oliver Greenwood 9, Stefan Nielsen 7(1),Ryan Terry-Daley 4(2), Martin Knuckey 2.

Finnish Grand Prix.

Chris Harris was again in the lower reaches of the field in this third round of the competition.

On a narrow track where getting to the first turn was vital, Harris, not the best of trappers, had to earn his four points from the back.

In his first race after losing out on the turn, he used the outside line to good effect passing Jarek Hampel to take second place.

Again in his next race he had to come from the back to take third from Niels K.Iversen and then almost caught Fredrik Lindgren on the line.

Another third place taken from the back left him on four points from three starts and surprisingly just on the semi-final qualifying mark.

Unfortunately two last places put him out of the running.

It was however a better performance and gives hope for the remainder of the series. Matej Zagar won the meeting with Tai Woffinden in second and Fredrik Lindgren third.


Bees have two exciting home meetings in prospect over this coming weekend. Tomorrow (Friday) they entertain Eastbourne and with a full team in action they will be keen to avenge last week’s defeat.

On Monday they face local rivals Birmingham, who are led by Danny King and also include Ben Barker, well known to Coventry fans. Both meetings start at 7.30pm.

Storm are away at Scunthorpe on Monday in the second part of a double header.

Alan Goodman