News from Coventry Bees and Storm
With no Bees action over the weekend all eyes were focused on City Gearboxes Storm who faced a busy spell of three matches in two days.
After losing at Stoke on Saturday they contested a double header against firstly King’s Lynn and then into a quick revenge match against Stoke.
On a hot and dusty Brandon they achieved wins over both teams, with identical scorelines to keep alive their chances of a National League play-off place.
Stoke 50, Storm 40
Storm included new signing Mark Baseby, while their hosts included captain Jon Armstrong, who it was earlier rumoured had retired.
Rob Shuttleworth won heat one for Storm but Dan Greenwood just missed out on third to Chris Widman.
Storm reserves were easily outpaced in heat two as Stoke opened up a four-point lead.
Storm looked to reverse this in the next but Danny Phillips went by Baseby on the second lap to restrict Storm to four points.
Stoke then took a 4-2 before Storm hit back in a good heat five. Former Storm rider Ryan Terry-Daley made the start but Shuttleworth and Greenwood passed him on successive laps to bring the scores level.
Stoke put in two more 4-2’s to go back four ahead.
Shuttleworth won a shared heat eight after a good tussle with Widman. This brought the score to 26-22 in favour of Stoke at the halfway stage.
Heats nine and ten were shared before Stoke went further ahead after Greenwood lost out to Lee Payne.
Storm could not make inroads into the deficit after the next three heats were shared.
The home side finished up on a 5-1 in the final heat which was rerun after Knuckey had fallen on the first turn.
This made the final score 50-40 to Stoke which unfortunately cost Storm a league point for losing by six points or less.
Storm scorers: Knuckey 9(1), Shuttleworth 9, Ritchings 8, Greenwood 7(1), Baseby 6, Callum Walker 1, Jamie Holder 0.
Storm 50, King’s Lynn 43
Storm had Conor Dwyer back after injury, while their visitors were led by Jake Knight, son of former GB international, Richard.
Storm started well with maximum points in a strung out opening heat.
Josh Bailey won heat two for the visitors after Dwyer had led for a couple of laps. With Layne Culpitt taking third, just two points separated the teams.
Lynn led from the start in heat three but good rides by Knuckey and Baseby completely overturned it and gave Storm the maximum they needed at this stage.
The visitors again made the start in heat four but Storm could not repeat their previous efforts and the lead was back to two.
After taking a 4-2 in a rerun heat five, Storm went further ahead with a heat six maximum.
Another 4-2 brought the gap to ten and enabled the visitors to use a tactical ride in heat eight. It was impressive reserve Josh Bailey who was given the honour and he responded with the required six points. Storm held the minor places to leave the halfway score at 29-22.
Heat nine was shared before another Storm maximum increased the lead to eleven.
Lynn replied with a 4-2 in heat eleven and after heat twelve was shared, took a 5-1 in controversial circumstances. Greenwood won the race but after a protest by the opposition was excluded for a faulty exhaust.
Heat fourteen was shared before controversy reared its head again in the final race. In what appeared to be a little on the tit-for-tat side Bailey, who took third spot after Shuttleworth had fallen, was excluded after a Storm protest over him not having a back wheel spoiler. Shuttleworth was awarded third and the final score amended to 50-43 to Storm.
Storm scorers: Shuttleworth 12, Knuckey 11, Greenwood 9(3), Ritchings 7, Dwyer 6(1), Baseby 4(2), Halder 1.
Storm 50, Stoke 43.
Storm replaced Halder with Callum Walker, while Stoke fielded the previous night’s septet.
The Storm pair of Greenwood and Shuttleworth made the start to the opener, but the experienced Armstrong made it into second at the end of the third lap.
Heat two was deemed a false start but Dwyer fell on the second turn after the red light came on. After some delay he was able to carry on but came in last as the visiting reserves took a 4-2 to level things up.
Baseby and Knuckey went ahead out of turn two and were never troubled in scoring a heat three maximum.
Payne won heat four for the ‘Potters’ but Storm held the minor places to keep ahead.
Armstrong won an exciting three way battle in the dust of heat five but once again Storm managed a share of the points.
Greenwood rode a good race to win heat six and with Shuttleworth third, the lead was increased to six.
Phillips was a good winner of heat seven and with his partner Terry-Daley in third, Stoke were proving to be no pushovers.
Dwyer won heat eight with Shuttleworth working his way through from the back for second place. This left Storm more comfortable with the halfway score at 28-20.
Heat nine was shared before Shuttleworth won heat ten with Greenwood working hard to take third spot.
Armstrong took a tactical ride in heat eleven and was an easy winner. Storm took second and third to restrict the heat points to 6-3.
Baseby took heat twelve. Dwyer rode well to hold second place, only to fall on lap three.
Two 4-2’s ensured the points for Storm before Stoke finished up with a heat fifteen maximum after Knuckey had fallen on the second lap.
Storm scorers: Greenwood, Knuckey 11, Shuttleworth 7(1), Baseby 6(2), Ritchings 6(1), Dwyer 5, Walker 4(1).
With the conditions as they were, the track staff were constantly on the go and did a good job in containing the dust and making the track raceable.
Danish Grand Prix
With only five rounds to go, another disappointing performance on Saturday leaves the GP Challenge as Chris Harris’ most realistic hope of a place in the 2016 competition.
On a temporary Horsens track that proved difficult to ride and caused a number of falls, Harris could just manage two points and finished bottom of the pile.
He was out in a heat one which included two of the top three in the ratings and was last in a processional race.
It was a long wait until his second ride in heat eight. After making the start, a mistake on the first turn unsettled him and he again finished last.
His points came in a controversial heat twelve. He was holding second when Peter Kildemand attempted to go by on the back straight. There was little room and Kildemand came down. Some observers thought Harris was to blame but as he was ahead of the Swindon rider he was not excluded. In the three man-run off he just held out for second. Two more lasts finished off a miserable night.
Despite being involved in three separate falls Kildemand won the final from Matej Zagar and Michael Jepsen Jensen.
Of the top three in the rankings only Tai Woffinden made the final but was excluded after Kildemand took his third fall. Despite this Woffinden increased his lead in the rankings by four points and now has 91. Nicki Pedersen has 78 and Greg Hancock and Matej Zagar tie for third with 65 each. Harris is in fourteenth place with 34 points.
After a spell of inactivity last week it is back to business for Coventry Bees with three matches in the next week.
They finish off their away matches for the regular season with visits to Swindon on Thursday evening (13th) and go to King’s Lynn next Wednesday. They will be hoping for more success on the road, which has been their strong point this campaign.
On Friday a big crowd is expected at Brandon when they entertain Leicester in another local derby. Bees have done well so far in these matches and will be hoping for another three points from a side that has seen a few changes in personnel this season. They are led by GP rider Jason Doyle who is backed up by the Polish duo of Gregorz Walasek and Szymon Wozniak. Bees also make a change in the riding order as in the August averages, Hans Andersen is no longer a heat leader so will have to ride at either number two or four. There is also a doubt about the fitness of Stuart Robson, who took a nasty fall at Lakeside. The meeting starts at 7.30pm.