News from Coventry Bees and Storm
Coventry Buildbase Bees carried on their recent good work with a win over Poole at Brandon on Friday which now takes then to within reach of a play-off place. But for the brilliance of Darcy Ward they would have taken all three league points available but had to settle for two with the visitors taking one.
Coventry 47, Poole 43.
It was two strange looking sides that took to the track for the meeting of probably two of the biggest rivals in the Elite League.
Poole were without Premyslaw Pawlicki and Maciej Janowski who had been ordered by their Federation to attend practice for the weekend’s two Grand Prix qualifying rounds. Simon Gustafsson and Daniel Nermark guested. Also Josh Grajczonek made a return to the track after his crash at Brandon a couple of weeks ago.
While Hans Andersen and Chris Harris had opted to miss the practices and fly out on the day, injuries had decimated Bees lower order with three guests in the shape of Aaron Summers for Kyle Howarth and Joe Jacobs and Simon Lambert filling the two reserve spots.
Poole did however have Darcy Ward in their ranks and he and partner Vaclav Milik led into the first turn. Andersen moved into second at the end of the first lap but could not catch Ward.
Bees made the start to heat two but the visitors Kyle Newman stuck to the inside line to come out ahead of turn two and lead to the end.
Bees were still behind but an eventful heat three saw them take the lead. Entering the first turn Nermark picked up grip, lifted and took himself and Harris into the fence. Rather surprisingly all four riders were allowed in the rerun. A good first turn put Bees ahead and on their way to maximum points.
Bees again led from the start in heat four. Milik went into second at the end of the first lap and then went into the lead when Kenneth Hansen made a big mistake on turn two of the final lap.
Andersen and Harris worked their magic in heat five, Andersen taking Gustafsson wide, allowing the latter to come through on the inside and take another 5-1.
It was then discovered that Nermark had withdrawn from the meeting with a finger injury.
Ward easily won heat six but reserve Ben Hopwood fell on the second lap so no advantage was gained. Summers rode a good race in heat seven to hold out the persistent Poole pair for the fourth shared heat out of seven.
Michael Jepsen Jensen won heat eight with a sluggish Hansen just holding out Gustafsson.
At this stage the score was 28-20 to Bees.
The next three heats were shared; the high spot was in heat ten when Andersen passed Milik on the outside of the back straight with little room to manoeuvre.
Milik won heat twelve and with Newman taking third, Poole were now just six behind.
Bees tried to stop Ward in heat thirteen but failed. Harris took him wide on the first turn to lead out of turn two. Harris unfortunately failed to shut the door and Ward went between him and the fence for a good victory. Andersen took third to keep the heat scores level.
Grajczonek won heat fourteen from the gate with Hansen virtually giving up the chase and settling for second. Lambert rode a good race to hold out Newman for the point that ensured victory.
Heat fifteen took a similar course to heat thirteen with Harris again failing to finish off the attempt to keep Ward at bay. With Milik taking third over an all at sea Jensen, Bees had lost the chance of taking all points available.
Bees’ scorers: Harris 11(1), Andersen 9(1), Jensen 7(3), Hansen 7, Lambert 5(1), Summers 5, Jacobs 3(3).
Grand Prix Qualifiers
Chris Harris is going to have to sweat it out on his chances of competing in next season’s competition. It looks very unlikely that he will finish in this season’s top eight to gain automatic qualification and on Saturday he could only finish in eighth position in the GP Challenge semi-final at Czestochowa. It was a very tight meeting with Harris finishing just two points behind eventual winner Kenneth Bjerre. He then beat Swedish rider Oliver Bentzen for the reserve spot in the final in Italy.
Hans Andersen had a much better night winning the semi-final in Croatia.
There was some good news for Jason Garrity in the week. After his performance at Wolverhampton in the British Final he has been given one of the reserve spots for the British GP at Cardiff. Although he will only get a ride if someone is injured or excluded for a tapes offence it is a feather in the cap of a rider who has performed well in the reserve berth for Coventry. The other reserve is Ben Barker.
There is now a match at Brandon tomorrow night. With neither Bees nor Storm having a league fixture the management were struggling to fill the slot.
It has now been confirmed that Coventry Storm will face Cradley in what is now the second leg of The Travel Plus Trophy. The first leg at Brandon was abandoned when the early season track problems came to the fore. The Cradley leg has been ridden with Cradley holding a 48-40 advantage. This sets things up for a good meeting. Start time is the usual 7.30pm.
Bees should be in action tonight (Thursday) when they visit Swindon for an Elite League match.