News from Coventry Bees and Storm
It was not a good weekend for Coventry Buildbase Bees as they went down by 48 points to 41 in a match against the early Elite League table toppers, Poole, who leap frogged over Coventry in the week.
Earlier in the week Storm were also involved in a battle between the potential National League top two. In a battle with Cradley, they went down by 43-47 and came away with a league point in what was their first match of the season.
Bees 41, Poole 48
Before the start a healthy crowd paid tribute to the late Nigel Boocock.
Bees were still without Stuart Robson and drafted in Cameron Heeps for the second match running while Rory Schlein again faced Bees as an opposite number two, this time replacing Josh Grajczonek. Stefan Nielsen also rode for the Pirates as reserve.
It was not a good start for Bees as former World Champion Chris Holder and Schlein easily outpaced Hans Andersen for an opening 5-1.
After a nervy start to heat two the visitors Kyle Newman passed Jason Garrity on the first turn while James Sarjeant had to get by Nielsen for a share of the points.
Poole took another 5-1 in heat three which saw Chris Harris excluded after a last bend dash saw him bring down Maciej Janowski, although many observers thought the Poole man fell of his own accord.
Yet another visiting 5-1 followed and Bees now knew they were in for a tough time.
Schlein won a shared heat six to bring the scores to 21-9.
Bees were now able to use a tactical ride for double points. With a strong Poole combination in heat six they declined to do so, a decision a majority of the crowd agreed with. Such was Bees luck on the night, Danny King and Joonas Kylmakorpi outpaced Holder to give Bees their first maximum of the night and regretting how valuable the extra points would have been. After this race Janowski pulled out of the meeting with a knee injury.
Harris won heat seven with Andersen getting a reprieve after making a mess of turn one when Dakota north fell.
Tension was high between the two teams and heat eight was the fifth to be restarted after moving at the tapes. When it got underway Kylmakorpi led from the two visitors. Sarjeant made a good move to get into second coming out of turn two but ran out of room on the back straight and collided with his partner. Kylmakorpi easily won the rerun to leave the scores at 21-27 at the halfway stage.
Newman won a shared heat nine before Harris had to split the fast gating visitors in heat ten to salvage a point.
Another first turn mistake by Andersen put him out of the running in heat eleven leaving North and Janowski to take a virtual match winning 5-1.
More controversy came in heat twelve. Sarjeant and Garrity made the start and were heading for a maximum. Newman tried to go between the pair and brought down Sarjeant. Much to everyone’s surprise referee Jim Lawrence excluded Garrity. Sarjeant made no mistake the second time, winning from the gate.
Heat thirteen was unusual in many ways. Harris made a hash of the start. Holder then fell on the second turn. Andersen was the next to go suffering machine problems. This left Harris, who had made up a vast amount of ground, passing North on the line. By doing this he became the first and only rider to win a race of gate one.
King and Kylmakorpi took a maximum in heat fourteen, leaving Schlein to win a shared final race and ensure four league points for the visitors.
This was a night Bees will wish to forget. At the end of the day it was an almost hopeless task to recover from the early poor start which left them too many points to recover in the latter stages. Only Harris and Kylmakorpi came out with much credit. Andersen could manage just two points due to machine problems. Although Bees have a strong line-up, it needs all seven to be firing, especially against a team which will almost certainly in the running for honours in September.
Bees’ scorers: Harris 10, Kylmakorpi 9(3), King 7,Garrity 5(1), Heeps, Sarjeant 4(1), Andersen 2.
Coventry Storm 43
Both teams went into this first match of the season with much changed line-ups. Coventry only had Luke Crang, Dan Greenwood and Martin Knuckey from the team that finished runners up last season.
Storm opened up with a 4-2 in an opening heat awarded after two fallers were on various stages of the track.
Cradley took an easy 5-1 to take the lead in the next.
The next three races were shared before a 4-2 brought Storm back level.
Another shared heat followed before Arron Mogridge and rising star Ellis perks took a heat eight maximum to leave the halfway score at 26-22.
This lead was increased to six in heat nine.
Storm hung in with the next two heats shared before Perks took his third race win in heat twelve and with partner Max Williamson taking third, things were looking good for the Heathens.
Storm hit back well with a Crang-Greenwood 5-1, to put themselves back in contention.
Perks won heat fourteen to ensure his side of at least a draw.
Max Clegg led heat fifteen but Perks attempting to go inside Crang, brought the Storm rider down in a nasty looking accident and was excluded. The result did at least give Storm on National League point.
After the match Dan Greenwood beat Max Clegg for the match race Bronze Helmet and will defend it at his next official fixture.
Storm scorers: Dan Greenwood 13, Luke Crang 12(2), Darryl Ritchings (8), Rob Shuttleworth 5(3), Martin Knuckey 2, Stefan Farnaby 2, Connor Dwyer 1(1).
Bees have no match on Friday due to the first of the season’s Grand Prix being held the following night. They are away at Belle Vue on Monday when they will face a team led by former Bee Scott Nicholls, Matej Zagar and Craig Cook. The Aces are always difficult to beat on their own track and Bees will need to be on form if they are to recover from their present third place standing in the Elite League.
There is racing at Brandon on Sunday when the Storm are in action. Due to rider unavailability their opponents will be a team made up of joint Perry Barry tenants, Birmingham and Cradley who will face Storm in what should be an entertaining challenge match. The meeting starts at 4pm.