News from Coventry Bees and Storm
Another good weekend for Coventry Buildbase Bees saw them hold their place at the top at the Elite League.
An exciting home match against Belle Vue on Friday was followed by another of Bees famous comebacks at Wolverhampton on Monday when after going eight points down after five races they pulled things back, with the help of four maximum heat wins in the last five races, to win by ten.
Bees 47, Belle Vue 43.
After drawing just four days earlier this clash was expected to provide fireworks which indeed it did.
Bees were still without James Sarjeant and brought in Lewis Rose as a guest while their opponents were missing Max Fricke and Craig Cook. Bee’s specialist Aaron Summers came in for Friske with rider-replacement being operated for Cook.
The choice of Summers was soon vindicated when he won heat one. His partner Matej Zagar followed him home with Hans Andersen coming in third.
Despite Steve Worrall making the start, the Bees pairing of Jason Garrity and Rose were soon by to bring the scores level.
A series of shared heats followed although not without incident.
Zagar won heat three from Chris Harris with Danny King beating Scott Nicholls in a good race for third place.
Josh Grajczonek passed Danny King at the end of the first lap to win heat four before Stuart Robson could consider himself a tad fortunate after falling on the first turn to heat five. He appeared to fall under his own steam but was allowed back in the rerun and took second spot behind Summers with Garrity third.
King won heat six, before Harris went from third to first to pass the fast starting visiting pair in the next. Andersen failed to finish with machine problems.
Summers won his third on the trot in heat eight with both Bees passing Worrall on the back straight for the sixth 3-3 in succession. This left the halfway score at 24 each.
Things warmed up even further in the next. The Belle Vue pair made the start but Robson went from third to first on the back straight with Garrity coming through to second on the third turn. This put Bees ahead for the first time in the match.
Heavy rain started to fall during heat ten and it caught the riders out. Zagar was the winner with Joonas Kylmakorpi and Harris second and third some distance behind. The time for this race was over a second slower than those previous.
Fortunately the shower was short lived and after interval racing continued as before.
Andersen again lost out on the first turn of heat eleven and it was left to Robson to hold out Nicholls and restrict the visitors to a 4-2 race win.
Garrity was the centre of attraction in the next two heats but for the wrong reasons. Worrall and Stefan Nielsen made the start to heat twelve. Garrity was soon by Nielsen and caught up with Worrall but when attempting an inside pass on the last turn, the Aces man fell and Garrity was excluded after being adjudged the cause. The visitors were awarded a 5-1 which put them back ahead.
Garrity was brought in for the out-of-touch Andersen in the next and was involved in more controversy when Nicholls fell on turn two as Garrity went underneath. This time the race was not stopped and Garrity took third place behind Zagar and Harris. Heated words were exchanged between the two riders in the pits afterwards but there was no change in the decision.
After a poor start Kylmakorpi had got things together and was an easy winner of heat fourteen. King lost out on second place after good race with Grajczonek. This left the scores level with one heat to go.
Kylmakorpi’s efforts earned him the nomination with Harris in the final heat and it paid off as the Bees pair raced from the start for an untroubled match-winning maximum. This made the final score 47-43 to Bees.
Apart from another poor display from the troubled Andersen there were plenty of plusses in this match. An exciting contest was watched by a good crowd who would surely want more after this.
Bees’ scorers: Harris 10(2), Kylmakorpi 9(1), King 8, Garrity 7(3), Robson 7, Rose 5(3), Andersen 1.
Wolverhampton 40, Bees 50.
Both teams were at full strength for this vital fixture, Bees welcoming back James Sarjeant after injury.
As appears to be the norm these days Bees were on the receiving of a 5-1 in the opening heat. Although gating behind Jacob Thorssell, both Robson and Andersen were passed by Fredrik Lindgren coming out of turn two. Andersen eventually limped home with machine problems.
The reserves can normally be relied upon to level things up but it was not the case on this occasion. Sarjeant was penalised fifteen metres for a tapes offence and was then excluded for leaving the track before the restart. When the race got underway Garrity struggled and could make no impression on the home pair.
Kylmakorpi and Harris brought Bees back in to contention with a heat three maximum over Peter Karlsson.
King won a shared heat four before Thorssell and Lewis Blackbird restored Wolves eight-point lead after another maximum.
Fears over Andersen were soon dispelled when he combined with Harris to lead heat six.
A chance to draw level was lost in heat seven. Kylmakorpi and King made the start but King drifted wide on turn two and was relegated to the back.
Garrity was the next to receive a tapes handicap in heat eight. Robson rode a good race to regain second place after losing out to Josh Bates but Garrity was unable to make up his handicap. This left Bees trailing by 27-21 at the halfway stage.
Garrity used turn two to good advantage in winning heat nine but partner King got caught up in traffic and finished at the back.
Andersen won heat ten and at 33-27 down, Bees fightback began.
Kylmakorpi made the start to heat eleven and Harris came through for maximum points on turn two.
Garrity won heat twelve with Sarjeant, who had been a disconsolate figure earlier on joined him with a well-earned second spot.
This put Bees ahead for the first time and the Andersen-Harris combination increased the lead in a heat thirteen restarted after Andersen had been the victim of first bend bunching.
King was the next to go through the tapes but was replaced in heat fourteen by Garrity. Ricky Wells won the race but Kylmakorpi and Garrity tucked in behind him to make sure of the match.
It was left to Andersen and Harris to make sure of the extra match point by winning by seven points or more. Their task was made easier after Thorssell was another tapes offender and as no replacements are allowed in heat fifteen he had to take the handicap. The Bees pair were virtually untroubled in the rerun and Bees had pulled off another superb victory by 50 points to 40.
This was another good team effort and with biggest rivals Poole losing at Belle Vue, Bees remain firmly at the top of the Elite League table.
Bees’ scorers: Harris 12(3), Andersen 11(1), Kylmakorpi 10(1), Garrity 9(1), Robson, King 3, Sarjeant 2(1)
With the British Grand Prix taking place in Cardiff there is no Elite League action this weekend. Chris Harris competes at Cardiff with Jason Garrity named as one of the meeting reserves.
Storm go to Kent on Monday hoping to gain revenge over a King’s side that ended their Knock-Out cup hopes.