SPEEDWAY by Alan Goodman
Busy Bees riding tonight, tomorrow and Monday!
Coventry fans were faced with a busy Easter with four meetings of varying kinds scheduled for the period.
And despite the atrocious weather, three of them went ahead, the only casualty being the Elite League match at Leicester on Saturday night.
Bees opened their British League account with a win over local rivals Leicester. The visitors were the favourites of most pundits to finish in the bottom reaches of the league.
However, with a particularly strong bottom end they ran Bees perilously close with Bees top end strength getting the advantage in the latter races.
On Sunday Bees travelled to Glasgow to ride the local tigers in an inter-league challenge. In poor conditions they managed to overcome an early deficit and snatch a one-point victory in the last races.
On Monday in an incident packed meeting Storm lost their opening National League match to South Coast visitors, Eastbourne.
Bees 49, Leicester 41
Both sides were at full strength for this Good Friday encounter, having undertaken some changes during the winter.
Bees hit early trouble when Jason Garrity fell on the first turn and was excluded. Patrick Hougaard led the rerun for the visitors but Krzysztof Kasprzak found his way by on the third lap for a share of the points.
Leicester showed their new found reserve strength with maximum points in the next despite a good effort by James Sarjeant.
Sebastian Ulamek took the lead in the next but Danny King went by on the back straight with Chris Harris coming through for a maximum at the end of the second lap.
Josh Auty won heat four with Szymon Wozniak taking third after Kacper Woryna pulled out with machine problems.
Leicester made the start to heat five but Sarjeant found a way by Auty on the second lap.
Leicester was now showing that they were not to be taken lightly and led by four points at this stage.
Bees took a 4-2 in the next before an exciting heat seven saw Kasprzak and Harris go either side of Grzegorz Walasek coming out of turn two of the first lap. This put Bees ahead for the first time.
Auty won a shared heat eight to leave the halfway stage scores at 25-23 to Bees.
The visitors went back ahead in heat nine with maximum points after Sarjeant had been excluded for a tapes offence.
King and Harris brought Bees back with a maximum of their own before in what was now becoming a fluctuating affair, Ulamek defied every effort by Kasprzak to take the lead and with Walasek third the scores were now back level.
Sarjeant was a good winner of a shared heat twelve.
Harris and Kasprzak then again used turn two to good effect and passed Ulamek to take another maximum.
Heat fourteen was one of the best of the night. Walasek led from the start but was passed by King on the first lap. A second lap mistake by Woryna put him at the back but a great effort to regain third earned him the applause of the crowd.
Ulamek made the start to the final race but although Harris got by to complete a deserved maximum, King had to settle for third. This made the final score 49-41 to Bees.
Bees top end strength carried them through with the trio of Kasprzak, King and Harris dropping just three points between them. Conversely, the visitors reserve pairing outscored Bees pair by eleven points.
Bees’ scorers: Harris 13(2), King 12(1), Kasprzak 10(1), Bates 4(1), Woryna, Sarjeant 4, Garrity 2
Glasgow 45, Bees 46
Bees were without Jason Garrity and Josh Bates due to Sheffield commitments but drafted in Storm riders Liam Carr and Martin Knuckey.
The home side took an early lead after Kasprzak retired at the end of heat one and increased it in the next with another 4-2.
King was Bees first heat winner in a shared heat three before Harris lost out to former Bee Aaron Summers in the next.
The next three heats were shared with Kasprzak, Harris and King winners.
Another home 4-2 left the halfway score at 28-20 to the Tigers.
Bees looked like getting it together in the next but Knuckey fall when on a Bees 5-1.
King split the home pair in heat ten but the resultant 4-2 put Glasgow 35-255 ahead and on the verge of springing a surprise.
Kasprzak took a tactical ride in heat eleven but could only manage second place.
An eventful twice run heat twelve saw both home riders excluded and Bees grateful for the 5-0 race win.
Harris and Kasprzak got it together for a heat thirteen maximum, which closed the gap to just one point.
Bees took a 4-2 in the next to lead for the first time before a Harris win in the last heat sealed victory by 46-45.
This was an entertaining meeting raced in poor weather conditions.
Bees’ scorers: Harris 14, King 11, Kasprzak 9(1), Woryna 4, Sarjeant 3, Carr 3, Knuckey 2(1).
Storm 41, Eastbourne 49.
After the previous night’s storms it was a surprise that this meeting went ahead but an even bigger surprise was the amount of watering needed to keep the dust down.
Storm was at full strength but the visitors had Ellis Perks as a guest and operated rider replacement.
After a shared opening heat, Storm went ahead in heat two. This did not last long as the excellent visiting pair of Jake Knight and Georgie Wood took a maximum in the next.
After a shared heat four, two 4-2’s put Storm back ahead but it was Knight and Wood who restored the lead in heat seven.
A 3-3 in heat eight left the score at 23-25. Storm may consider themselves slightly fortunate to be in contention at this time as the luckless visiting reserve Charley Powell had fallen three times in the earlier races when in favourable positions.
At this point it was learnt that Storm’s Ryan Terry-Daley had pulled out of the meeting through sickness.
It was the efforts of Liam Carr and Dan Greenwood that kept Storm in the hunt and with ten heats gone they trailed by four.
Heat eleven more or less ended it for Storm after Martin Knuckey had to withdraw after a nasty collision with Perks on the back straight.
Knight and Wood took another maximum in heat eleven and all Storm could do was to share the last three heats to make the final score 49-41 to the visitors.
Storm looked a trifle track rusty against a team that had seen more action already this season.
Storm scorer’s; Liam Carr 12, Dan Greenwood 11(1), Callum Walker 5(2), Jamie Halder 5(1), Conor Dwyer 4(1), Martin Knuckey 3, Ryan Terry-Daley 1.
Bees should ride at Swindon tonight (Thursday) before entertaining Wolverhampton tomorrow (7.30pm). The visitors have Fredrik Lindgren and have further strength in former Bees, Joonas Kylmakorpi and Kyle Howarth.
Bees also travel to King’s Lynn on Monday for a televised Elite League fixture.