News from Coventry Bees and Storm
Coventry Bees maintained their position at the top of the Elite League with a convincing win over local rivals Wolverhampton in a match, which thanks to Bees overall superiority, failed to live up to the normal closely fought out contests between these two teams.
Coventry Bees 60
Bees were at full strength for this vital fixture, but made a couple of changes in the riding order. It was decided to move Chris Harris to number one with Hans Andersen coming in at number five. The other change, enforced by average regulations, saw Joonas Kylmakorpi and Danny King swap places. The visitors had to track a strange reserve pairing due to the unavailability of the regular pair.
Wolves number one Fredrik Lindgren has always ridden Brandon well and when the visiting pair made the start, home fans were worried. As it was, both Bees soon passed Lindgren but his partner fellow Swede Jacob Thorssell went on for a good win.
Jason Garrity and James Sarjeant gated in heat two but a third turn mistake by the latter let in Ashley Morris, so only a two-point advantage was gained.
Andersen won heat three but an excellent ride by King saw him go from fourth to second on the opening lap.
Kylmakorpi and Sarjeant led heat four but Tobias Musielak went between the pair coming out of the second turn, only for Kylmakorpi to regain the lead quickly.
Thorssell won his second ride in heat five despite a good effort by Garrity. With Stuart Robson in third the heat points were shared.
Harris and Andersen combined well to comfortably win heat seven and put Bees twelve points ahead.
Wolves then gave Thorssell a tactical ride for double points. After a restart due to moving at the tapes he could only follow Kylmakorpi home in a processional heat eight. This left the halfway score at 31-19 to Bees.
Wolves’ pair of Musielak and Ashley Morris made the start to heat nine but a turn two mix-up quickly turned a potential Wolves 5-1 into a Bees 4-2.
Lindgren and Thorssell recovered to take what was to be the visitors’ only maximum heat win in heat ten.
From then on however it was all Bees.
Harris held off an early Peter Karlsson challenge to win heat eleven with Stuart Robson passing Ricky Wells at the end of the second lap. Despite a shaky turn two by Sarjeant in heat twelve the Bees reserves held out for maximum points.
Another Andersen–Harris 5-1 made sure of the match before a good outside pass by King on Wells in the penultimate heat gave Bees another max.
Kylmakorpi and Harris made it four successive maximums in the final race to give Bees their highest win of the season.
With their top two of Lindgren and Karlsson presently out of form it was left to Thorssell to make any challenge to Bees superiority. His thirteen points far outweighed any of his colleagues.
For Bees, twelve heat winners and only two last places tells it all in what was another good all round team performance.
This win virtually ensures Bees of at least a place in the end-of-season play-offs and with nearest rivals Poole losing on Monday night, top place becomes more of a possibility.
Kylmakorpi again proved what a good signing he has been with a fine fifteen-point maximum. Solid support came from the rest of the team in a match in which they were seldom troubled.
Bees’ scorers: Kylmakorpi 15, Harris 11(3), Andersen, Garrity 9, Robson 6(2), King 5(2), Sarjeant 5(1).
With successive GPs taking place, there is now no Bees home match until the end of the month.
Instead it is the turn of Coventry Storm to take centre stage. On Friday they, unbelievably, ride their first home National League match of the season. They could not have picked tougher opposition as Birmingham, one of two teams to drop out of the Elite League, have at the time of writing ridden and won all eight matches and are well atop of the National League. Storm have done well on their travels and with the chance to prove themselves on their home circuit a thrilling match is in prospect. The Brummies narrowly beat Storm in the Elite Fours held at Brandon recently. The match starts at the usual time of 7.30pm. Admission price is just £10 with kids free.
Coincidently Storm visit the other Elite track that dropped down from the top flight, Eastbourne, on Sunday.