News from Coventry Bees and Storm
A mixed bag of results over the past week was enough to see Coventry Buildbase Bees return to the top of the Elite League table.
A disappointing loss at Poole last Wednesday was followed by Friday’s home win against Leicester and on Monday a draw at Belle Vue was enough to provide the points needed to regain pole position.
Storm was also in action last Wednesday, losing to local rivals Birmingham at Perry Barr.
Poole 53, Bees 37
Both sides were up to strength although Bees had worries over three riders, Chris Harris, Danny King and Jason Garrity, who all received slight injuries in Monday’s British final.
Poole made the best start with an opening 5-1 over Stuart Robson and more worrying, Hans Andersen.
Bees’ reserves equalised in the next with their own maximum but Poole restored the lead in heat three after Joonas Kylmakorpi had pulled out with machine problems.
Two more shared heats followed before more problems came for Bees when a first bend mistake by Andersen brought down partner Harris. Harris picked himself up to win the rerun to keep the deficit to four.
Kylmakorpi won heat seven before Robson was controversially excluded for bringing down Kacper Gomolski when it was thought the home man was equally to blame.
Despite Bees mishaps Poole had failed to increase their lead and at the halfway stage the score was 26-22.
Heat nine was shared to make it six shared heats in a row.
It then started to go wrong with Dakota North and Maciej Janowski taking a maximum over the luckless pair of Andersen and Robson.
Harris and Kylmakorpi kept Davey Watt in last place in heat eleven before more misfortune struck Bees and virtually ended the contest in heat twelve. James Sarjeant was challenging Kyle Newman for the lead but took a nasty tumble on the last turn. After being taken to hospital it appears he has suffered no serious injury and is just battered and bruised. The resultant home 5-1 put Poole ten points ahead.
Chris Holder won heat thirteen from Harris but with Andersen again at the back, the match was Poole’s.
King won a shared heat thirteen before more problems came for Harris in the final heat. After making a slow start he wound it on and took the lead from Holder, only for his bike to cut out and leave him stranded. This gave Poole another maximum and the final score of 53-37 left Bees with no match points at all.
Bees’ scorers: Garrity 9(3), King 9, Harris 7(1),Kylmakorpi 5, Robson, Sarjeant 3, Andersen 1.
Bees 51, Leicester 39
There was a slightly strange look about the programme for this match. Bees were missing James Sarjeant after his crash at Poole while a series of injuries and departures left the visitors fielding no less than four guests. It also meant that out of the four listed fast track reserves only one, Jason Garrity was fit to take part.
It was Leicester making the early running with Jason Doyle and Ulrich Ostergaard taking a 5-1 over Stuart Robson and a still subdued Hans Andersen.
Bees reversed the deficit in the next before another maximum put Leicester back ahead in heat three.
It was becoming obvious that at this stage gates two and four were far the better and it was no surprise when Bees equalised again in heat four.
Heat five saw the first real race of the evening. Bees gated but lost out on turn two. Garrity regained third from Oliver Greenwood but Robson just missed out to Ostergaard it a close finish.
Leicester skipper Doyle won heat six after a battle with Joonas Kylmakorpi before another good race saw Chris Harris come from fourth to second and only a slight mistake on the final turn lost him the chance of a win.
A chance of a home 4-2 was lost in heat eight when Bees guest Josh Bates fell on the Coventry turn. Kylmakorpi easily won the rerun to leave the scores level at 24 each.
Garrity and Robson put Bees ahead in heat nine before Harris hit problems again in heat ten, a machine failure while in second place causing his withdrawal.
With Doyle winning his third on the trot, Leicester were still well in it.
Andersen turned in a better performance in heat eleven to pass both visitors out of turn two. Unfortunately the race was stopped due to a Grzegorz Zengota fall and in the rerun he was taken wide on the first turn and out of contention.
The gap was now back to two but another reserves 5-1 relieved the pressure.
Heat thirteen was shared before Bees sealed things up with a Kylmakorpi-King 5-1 in the penultimate heat.
Another 4-2 after a good rides by Kylmakorpi and Robson made the final score 51-39 to Bees which after the early heats flattered them slightly.
Bees’ top two of Harris and Andersen had a poor night by their standards, registering only eight points between them, but the efforts of the other five compensated for that.
Bees’ scorers: Kylmakorpi 10, King 9(2), Garrity 8(3), Robson, Bates 8(1), Andersen 4(2), Harris 4(1).
Belle Vue 45, Bees 45
Bees were still without Sarjeant but drafted in Paul Starke, who proved to be an able replacement.
Andersen had had his problems in recent matches but showed no signs of this after a good win in heat one. Unfortunately he received no backing as Robson suffered machine problems before the tapes went up and his replacement Garrity only reached the first corner before retiring.
It was no better for Garrity in the next as he again failed to finish. Fortunately Starke turned in a good ride to keep Bees on level terms.
The Aces went ahead in the next after Harris had lost out in a good race with Scott Nicholls. Craig Cook took third from Kykmakorpi.
Bees got back on level terms on the next before heat five was rerun after an awkward looking fall between Robson and Max Fricke. Both recovered for the rerun which saw Robson an easy winner. Unfortunately Garrity again failed to finish.
Andersen and Harris combined for a good win in heat six and put Bees four ahead.
The home side pulled two back in a heat seven which saw King fall twice.
Heat eight saw former Storm rider Stefan Nielsen take a nasty tumble on turn two but his partner Josh Grajczonek won the rerun to leave the halfway score at 25-23 to Bees.
The home team knowledge of a tricky turn two caught Bees napping in the next although King did well to regain second place.
The scores were now back level and heat ten was shared before the teams traded 5-1s in heats eleven and twelve.
Andersen and Harris kept out Nicholls and Matej Zagar in a tight heat thirteen to restore the lead but once again Belle Vue hit back, a good ride by Grajczonek getting him by King and putting everything onto the last race. Harris made the start but a mistake by Andersen on turn four put him out of the running but Harris held out to keep the scores level in a thoroughly entertaining meeting.
Bees had Andersen back to form but unfortunately Kylmakorpi had probably his worst night in Bees colours and with Garrity ineffective in his opening rides the remainder of the side did well to come away with two Elite League points.
Bees’ scorers: Harris, Andersen 11(1), Starke 6(1), King 6, Garrity 5, Robson 4(1), Kylmakorpi 2.
Birmingham 52, Storm 40
Both teams operated rider-replacement for this match, Birmingham for Sam Chapman and Bees for Luke Crang.
Tension showed after heat one was rerun after a false start. Home rider Adam Ellis got the verdict with Storm pair taking the minor places.
Birmingham moved ahead with two 4-2’s before heat three was shared to keep the lead to four points.
Bees then lost Conor Dwyer in heat five due to injury. Having already taken two rides the third was to prove unlucky after he laid down to avoid the fallen Adam Kirby. He was awarded third place but had to be withdrawn with a knee injury.
Heats seven and eight were shared before some good team riding by Tom Perry and Zach Wajtknecht gave the Brummies their first 5-1 and an overall eight point lead. They followed this up with a 4-2 in a heat ten rerun after Rob Shuttleworth had fallen.
Now ten behind, Dan Greenwood was given a tactical ride but could only finish second behind Perry.
A 5-3 heat advantage was gained from this and with Knuckey and Ritchings taking a maximum in the next, Storm were back to within four points.
It was not to last as two home maximums sandwiching a shared heat fourteen left the final score at 52-40 to Birmingham.
Team manager Laurence Rogers pointed to two things which probably cost Storm at least a point. The loss of Conor Dwyer and rider-replacement yielding just three were just too much.
Storm scorers: Knuckey 11(3), Greenwood, Ritchings 9(1),Shuttleworth 5(1), Dwyer 4(2), Walker 2.
Bees face a quick return with Belle Vue when the teams meet again at Brandon tomorrow night (Friday) and another exciting match is in prospect. The meeting starts at 7.30pm.
On Monday it is up the M6 with a local derby with Wolverhampton.