News from Coventry Bees and Storm
After a near three week break, Coventry Buildbase’s Bees return to action did not go to plan.
After an away defeat at King’s Lynn in controversial circumstances on Wednesday, things got even worse on Friday when an under-strength Bees were taken to the cleaners by a fired up Swindon side.
These two defeats cost Bees their top of the table placing and now sees them in a dog-fight for the remaining three play-off places.
There were also problems for City Gearboxes Coventry Storm after their match against Cradley was called off late in the afternoon.
King’s Lynn 54, Bees 35.
Both teams had injury problems but King’s Lynn pulled the master stroke in replacing Vaclav Milik with Swedish international Fredrik Lindgren. A recent run of low scores by Lindgren made this move possible. Adam Ellis replaced Lewis Kerr, with rider replacement being utilised for Robert Lambert.
Bees had Matej Kus replacing the still unfit Stuart Robson. There were also worries over Jason Garrity and Danny King, who were nursing injuries gained during the past week.
King’s Lynn made the early move with Niels Kristian Iversen and Nicklas Porsing leading out of turn two. A good effort by Chris Harris was not enough to prevent a home maximum.
Jason Garrity won a restarted heat two with James Sarjeant moving into second on lap two to bring the scores level.
Lindgren proved his worth by winning heat three, the first of three successive shared heats.
Hans Andersen won a two-in-one heat four before Ellis vindicated the home choice of guests by taking heat five.
Heat six was the start of Bees’ downfall. The riders were tightly bunched coming out of turn two before Harris picked up unwanted grip and reared up. Unable to correct he had to jump off the bike to escape injury. With Harris excluded, Lynn took maximum points from the rerun despite a last gap effort by Joonas Kylmakorpi.
Iversen and Lindgren led heat seven but Andersen capitalised on a second lap error by the latter to take second place.
Kenneth Bjerre won a shared heat eight to leave the halfway score at 27-21 to the home side.
Sarjeant and Andersen led heat nine. Unfortunately Andersen, in trying to shepherd his partner home, lost out to Porsing on the third lap.
The best race of the night came in heat ten. Harris and Kus made the start but Lindgren went between the pair on the third turn of lap one. Harris soon regained the lead but Kus retired when in third place
It was now learned that Danny King had pulled out of the meeting due to an earlier back injury.
Bees were allowed to invoke the injured rider replacement rule which did not go down well with the home management.
Andersen immediately came in as a replacement in a race which went wrong for Bees early on. Iversen made the start with Andersen and Kylmakorpi in pursuit. Unfortunately a mix-up coming out of turn two saw Kylmakorpi almost hit the fence and was out of the running. The resultant 4-2 increased the home lead to six.
Heat twelve finally put the nail in Bees coffin. Sarjeant anticipated the start was given a fifteen metre handicap. In the restart Garrity led from the start with the two home riders outside of him. Both Lynn riders went down on the first turn and although Garrity never moved off the line he was excluded. To add further salt to the wound Sarjeant was deemed to have dropped his clutch before the tapes went up and was also excluded. This left the home riders to ride unopposed for a 5-0 race win.
This appeared to hit Bees hard and despite a good ride by Harris to split the home pair in heat thirteen, the match was gone.
Once again Lynn made the start to the penultimate race and although Andersen went by Bjerre, the score was now 49-34 with even the chance of a bonus point gone.
Lindgren and Iversen came out of a tight first turn in the final to take maximum points and complete a miserable night for Bees.
Andersen, relegated to a second string berth, was top scorer for Bees with Harris chipping in with seven.
Bees’ scorers: Andersen 10, Harris 7, Garrity 5(2), Sarjeant 5(1), Kus 4, Kylmakorpi 3, King 1(1).
Bees 36 Swindon 55.
Both teams were hit by injuries and unavailability, Bees more so than their opponents.
Already without Stuart Robson, they were also missing Hans Andersen, competing in the Danish Final and Jason Garrity, back injuries. With Friday night a busy night, there were big problems in obtaining suitable guests. Grzegorz Walasek and Danny Ayres were brought in with rider-replacement being operated for Robson. Also Danny King was still nursing a back injury and was not fully fit. The visitors had their top five intact but had to bring in James Wright and Storm rider Rob Shuttleworth in the reserve spots.
With the line-ups as they were most people forecast problems for Bees and unfortunately were proved right.
Swindon were quick from the gate and a heat one 4-2 from Darcy Ward and former Bee Aaron Summers over Harris gave them an early lead.
Wright won heat two from Sarjeant with Shuttleworth third after Ayres had fallen on turn two.
Nick Morris and Troy Batchelor took a maximum in heat three despite a good round the board’s effort from King. This put them 13-5 up and Bees already knew something special was needed.
Although Grzegorz Zengota and Summers won the next two heats, Bees filled the minor places to keep the deficit to eight.
Swindon were back in the driving seat in the next. Ward and Batchelor led from the start. An early challenge from Walasek filtered out and King also took a tumble on the Coventry turn.
With the deficit now twelve, Bees gave Harris a tactical ride for double points. Kylmakorpi and Harris made the start and led with Morris and Zengota in close pursuit. To gain maximum points the Bees two needed to change places, but with the closeness of the four riders this was proving difficult. Kylmakorpi slowed on the run-in and many in the stadium thought that Harris had won it. The referee thought differently and Bees only had a 7-1 race win.
Heats eight and nine were shared, the latter seeing Walasek and Sarjeant comfortably in the lead before Sarjeant fell at the end of the second lap.
The match vanished from Bees in the next two heats. Ward and Summers took a 5-1 in heat ten before Bees conceded the second 5-0 in three nights in heat eleven. Once again Swindon led from the start with Harris chasing. Sarjeant pulled out with machine problems before Harris took a nasty tumble on the Coventry turn at the end of lap three, leaving just two finishers.
Bees’ reserves took a consolation 5-1 in the next but it was too late.
Two more visiting maximums put the Robins well ahead and a win for Harris in the final race still left the score at an embarrassing 55-36 to Swindon.
This was a night to forget for Bees. Constantly outgated, they were never really in the hunt. They now have over a week to recover and make the moves necessary to regain their winning form.
Fortunately a place in the top four still looks an almost certainty, but it will be difficult to regain top spot.
Bees’ scorers: Harris 10, Walasek 9, Sarjeant 8(3), Ayres 4(1), Kylmakorpi 4, King 1.
Storm v Cradley
Heavy rain at lunchtime made the start time of 4pm a no-goer. After a track inspection, weather permitting, it was decided that the match would start two hours later at 6pm.
The sun then came out and things looked good. Unfortunately some five minutes after the turnstiles had been opened it appeared that some of the riders were still not happy over conditions and after another track inspection the referee decided that the track was still not fit and the meeting abandoned. With two double header meetings already programmed, this now leaves Storm with a massive struggle to get their remaining fixtures ridden.
Storm ride the first of their double header fixtures tomorrow night (Friday) when they entertain Kent King’s and then Mildenhall Fen Tigers. The meeting starts at the slightly earlier time of 7pm.
With a GP taking place in Poland on Saturday, Bees will have a home match against Lakeside on Bank Holiday Monday. The ‘Hammers’ track a side led by former Bee’s favourite Andreas Jonsson.
Start time is 7.30pm.