Storm lose two riders with serious leg injuries and broken arm
Coventry were involved in two exciting weekend matches against Belle Vue, but not with the hoped for outcome. After narrowly winning at Brandon on Friday, they took time to adjust to the new National Speedway Stadium track in Manchester and despite a second-half comeback failed to take a league point after losing by eight points.
For Coventry Storm it was a disaster. In Sunday’s match at Mildenhall they lost Martin Knuckey with serious leg injuries and Jamie Halder with a broken arm. They now have a break and will be urgently seeking replacements.
Bees 46, Belle Vue 43
Bees were without Krzysztof Kasprzak (In a World Championship qualifier) and Josh Bates (injured) so included Fredrik Lindgren and Robert Branford as guest replacements. Belle Vue fielded the same side that won at Poole four days earlier.
It was a bad start for Bees as Lindgren was an early faller and Jason Garrity lost out to Max Fricke for second to give the Aces the first of a sequence of seven maximum heat wins.
Kacper Woryna won heat two while James Sarjeant came from the back to take second place on the line.
The scores were now level but Danny King and Chris Harris easily won heat three to give Bees the lead.
Bees were then on the wrong end of a Worrall twins max which once again brought the scores level.
There was slight controversy in heat five as both Garrity and Woryna fell on the first turn and although the latter’s appeared to be more in avoidance, both riders were excluded giving the visitors an unchallenged 5-0 heat win.
Belle Vue took the sixth before Bees had a stroke of good fortune in the next. Harris led from Scott Nicholls and Lindgren. A 4-2 looked in the offing but Nicholls’ motor gave out on the last lap to put Bees back in the hunt.
The visitors gated in heat eight but both Bees were by Joe Jacobs on turn two for the first shared heat of the night which left the halfway score 26-21 to the visitors.
Garrity was again in trouble on the first turn to heat nine but recovered to take the lead at the end of lap three. With Woryna taking third Bees now trailed by just three.
A good first turn saw Harris round both Aces to take the lead in heat ten. Unfortunately partner King came to grief on turn four so no advantage was gained.
Lindgren and Garrity took the lead out of a tight first turn to heat eleven and held out to put Bees back ahead.
Heat twelve looked to be shared until race leader Steve suffered machine trouble on the final turn allowing Woryna and Sarjeant to take their second 5-1 in the reserve heats.
A Belle Vue 4-2 brought them back to within three points and there was still all to fight for.
A good first turn gave King the three points desperately needed and Bees now needed just two points from the final heat.
A first bend swoop gave Harris the lead and despite King again falling Bees were home and dry in was an exciting meeting.
This was a good all-round performance. Harris was back to his usual self while Bees reserves outscored their opposite numbers by fifteen points to six.
Bees’ scorers: Harris 13(1), Woryna 8(1), Sergeant 7(2), King 7, Garrity 6(1), Lindgren 5(1), Branforth 0.
Belle Vue 50, Bees 42.
Bees had Ashley Morris in for the still injured Josh Bates but otherwise the teams were the same as the first match.
Belle Vue took an early lead with maximum points after Garrity had been excluded for breaking the tapes.
Sarjeant split the home pair in heat two before the Aces rattled in two more maximums to make the score 19-5 after four heats.
This put Bees quickly into tactical territory and Garrity was given the black and white helmet in heat five. He made a great start but unfortunately the race was stopped. At the second attempt he was not so well away and had to be content with four points for second place. With Woryna coming third, Bees did at least have a heat advantage.
Kasprzak and Harris looked set for a 5-1 in the next but Harris had to be content with third after a scrap with Nicholls.
Aces took a 5-1 in the next and were only prevented from recording their fifth of the match thanks to the efforts of Garrity who took second after drifting wide on the first turn. This left the halfway score at 33-17 to Belle Vue.
Bees were now, however, getting to grips with the track and Morris and Sarjeant took a heat nine max to begin Bees fightback.
This was repeated in the next with Kasprzak winning and Garrity again coming from the back.
King won a shared heat eleven before Woryna split the fast gating home pair in the next.
Kasprzak and Harris took heat twelve to give Bees the chance of an upset.
It was not to be as a machine failure for Morris in heat fourteen enabled the Aces to take the points needed for a win.
Zagar won a shared heat fifteen to leave Bees just two points short of taking a league point.
Despite the poor start this was a good effort by Bees and all riders contributed. Credit must go to Garrity who scored a lot of his points from the back and was good value for his paid nine return.
Bees’ scorers: Kasprzak 11, Garrity 8(1), King 7, Harris 6(1),Sarjeant 6, Woryna 3, Morris 2(1).
Mildenhall 61, Storm 29
Storm operated rider-replacement for the still injured Liam Carr and included Kyle Roberts as number eight.
Mildenhall opened with a 4-2 before Halder and Callum Walker combined well to put Storm ahead.
This was reversed in the next before successive 4-2 put the Tigers 18-12 up.
Another home max came in a controversial heat six when Ryan Terry-Daley was a faller after Alfie Bowtell had cut across his path.
It all went wrong in heat seven. In a tight first turn Martin Knuckey clashed with Jon Armstrong and took a horrific tumble after being thrown in the air and colliding with the outer stock car protective barrier. There was an hour’s delay while he was treated on the track and removed and transferred to a county ambulance and taken to hospital with a badly fractured leg.
This appeared to knock the heart out of the team and Mildenhall steadily increased their lead with three 5-1’s, the third of which saw Halder fall when leading and sustaining a broken arm after being hit by the following riders.
Now down to four riders Storm could put up little resistance and finished up on the wrong end of a 29-69 scoreline.
Best for Storm were Dan Greenwood and Callum Walker. Everybody did their best but the other events made it an afternoon to forget.
Storm scorers: Dan Greenwood 12, Callum Walker 8, Ryan Terry-Daley 4, Jamie Halder 3(1), Conor Dwyer 1(1), Martin Knuckey 1, Kyle Roberts 0.
With the sidecars at Brandon on Friday (June 3rd) the only action for fans is on Monday when Bees visit Wolverhampton. These local derbies always provide some exciting racing and Bees will be hoping to improve their away record against a team that is led by Danish International Fredrik Lindgren and includes former Bees Joonas Kylmakorpi and Kyle Howarth.
Storm has not got a match until June 10th and will need the breathing space to regroup and recruit new team members.