SPEEDWAY by Alan Goodman
News from Coventry Buildbase Bees and Coventry Storm
The alarm bells are ringing out loud and clear at Brandon after Bees suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Swindon on Monday. The Robins had not won an away match but were clearly the better team and in truth the 50-42 scoreline flattered Bees who were never really in it.
Bees’ heat leaders let them down and the management have some work to do if the season is to bear fruit.
There was also disappointment for Storm on Saturday when they lost a tight match with Buxton by a single point.
Storm 44, Buxton 45
Storm were without number one Dan Greenwood and Danny Ayres guested. Buxton, whose top man was Greenwood’s namesake, former Storm rider Oliver, used rider replacement for Steve Jones.
Ayres rode a good race to win a shared heat one before the visiting reserves went ahead in the next.
A Liam Carr and Ryan Terry-Daley maximum put Storm back ahead but Buxton took advantage of a Martin Knuckey fall in the next to restore their lead.
A two-in-one heat five ended with Storm at the wrong end on both counts and the deficit was increased to four.
Ayres tried everything to get past Ryan Blacklock in the next but the points were shared.
Knuckey looked set to win heat seven but fell on the last turn and the fall ended his night’s racing after he aggravated a hand injury.
Conor Dwyer rode a good heat eight and with Callum Walker third Storm trailed 21-27 at the halfway stage.
Storm took a 5-1 and 4-2 in the next to bring the scores level with five races to go.
Jamie Halder led Greenwood until lap three of heat eleven but Buxton eventually to a 4-2 to regain the lead.
The scores remained level until Storm took a 4-2 in heat fourteen after a first turn pile-up, fortunately with no casualties.
Storm looked set to seal at least a point in the penultimate race when Carr and Halder led. Unfortunately Carr’s machine failed at the end of lap two but one lap later Ben Hopwood fell leaving Storm to take a 3-2 and lead by one point going into the final race.
After some visiting protests over the chain guard on Carr’s second machine, the race went ahead but with Carr off a 15-metre handicap. Buxton took the opportunity to gain the 4-2 needed to win by a solitary point.
Storm scorers: Ayres 13, Halder 9, Carr 8, Dwyer 6(2), Terry-Daley 6(1), Walker 2, Knuckey 0.
Bees 42, Swindon 50
Apart from rider/replacement being utilised for the still injured Kacper Woryna, both teams were at full strength.
Swindon made the start to heat one but Jason Garrity took the lead out of turn two and Krzysztof Kasprzak eventually made third to give Bees an early lead.
The reserves looked to take a share of the heat two points but James Sarjeant shed a chain on the final turn when in second place.
The visitors went ahead in the third when Nick Morris beat Chris Harris with Danny King last after falling on the first lap.
Four shared heats followed with Garrity and Sarjeant playing their part in the first two.
Harris kept Bees in the hunt in heat seven, working his way from the back for a good win.
Although Sarjeant split the fast-gating Robins pair in heat eight, Bees were 22-26 down at this point.
Bees had been in this position many times before and a late fightback had saved their bacon.
It was not to be this time as Swindon slammed in two 5-1’s to open up a twelve point lead.
Bees were now able to give a rider a tactical ride for double points. The problems showed up when the ride had to be given to Kasprzak, who up to this stage had just one point to his name. He did manage second place after making the start and with Garrity third, two points were clawed back.
A 5-1 in the reserves race gave Swindon the match with still three races to go.
Bees pulled the deficit to eight, leaving Swindon needing three points to take an extra match point. Although Kasprzak won the race Harris could not find a way past Nick Morris so Swindon got the point they needed.
Bees’ problems lay with the heat leaders. Although Kasprzak top scored with eleven, his points came far too late in the match.
Credit, however, must go to the two reserves Sarjeant and Bates, who were called upon to ride six times each and contributed a creditable fifteen points between them.
Bees’ scorers: Kasprzak 11, Harris 8(1), Bates 8, Sarjeant 7, Garrity 6(3), King 2(1).
Slovenian Grand Prix: After a good opening ride which saw him take second place over eventual runner-up Jason Doyle, Chris Harris could only manage one more point in the opening round of the 2016 series and finished in fifteenth place.
This weekend sees Brandon again staging two matches in four days. These two fixtures are both local derbies and should provide some entertaining racing.
On Friday Storm host Cradley, who this year are based at Wolverhampton. The ‘Heathens’ field a young side which includes Max Clegg, Jack Kingston and Luke Chessell.
On Monday it is the Heathens landlords that are at Brandon in an Elite League fixture. The Wolves have a strong Swedish double in Fredrik Lindgren and Jacob Thorssell and also include former Bees Joonas Kylmakorpi.
Both matches start at 7.30pm.