WHEN a visiting reserve scores TWENTY points, it’s fairly safe to assume that the home side is going to find it hard to win by a great distance – so the Buildbase Bees can be very happy with the outcome of this fixture.
Their seven-point win on the night, despite the efforts of Eastbourne’s Lukas Dryml, was enough to add three to their Elite League total and vault from ninth to fifth in the standings, and it was certainly a night to look at the positives.
A superb maximum from skipper Edward Kennett and a fine debut from Peter Kildemand were the stand-out displays but there were numerous other praiseworthy performances on a tough night in which both sides did well to get through fourteen races before rain forced a slightly early end.
It should have been two Coventry debutants, of course, but Emil Sayfutdinov’s Brandon bow remains something to look forward to after a crash in Poland on Sunday left him with concussion, but the remaining Bees riders aided by guest Rory Schlein got stuck in, and happily there were no injuries either despite several alarming-looking incidents on a highly eventful night.
The meeting got underway in good conditions, albeit with the threat of rain ever-present, and Eastbourne No.1 Bjarne Pedersen switched nicely inside Schlein off turn two to take the lead in Heat 1 with Lewis Bridger’s Brandon return not going the way he would have wanted as he ran a last place behind Kenni Larsen.
Kildemand’s first ride was eagerly anticipated as Bees fans waited to see if he could translate his Premier League form into points at Elite level – and the answer was an emphatic yes as the Dane roared round the field, including Dryml, to take a fine win with Nick Morris holding third place for a Bees 4-2. And that Kildemand win over Dryml looked ever more impressive the longer the meeting went on.
Bees certainly started in good shape as more advantages followed, with another 4-2 in Heat 3 headlined by another stunning ride by Przemek Pawlicki, who gradually reeled in Simon Gustafsson as the race went on before finally making his move off turn four into the last lap. Pawlicki came down the inside for the win, with Ryan Fisher third after a fast-gating Cameron Woodward had come down on the first bend.
Bees’ four point lead was then doubled to eight with an excellent 5-1 in Heat 4, Kennett taking an easy win but Kildemand holding an excellent line for second place over Joonas Kylmakorpi, which put the home side in control of the meeting as some threatening rain-drops began to fall.
Unpleasant conditions greeted the riders for Heat 5 and again the Eagles gated well, but Pawlicki managed to get himself ahead of Pedersen for second place, the Dane subsequently holding back Fisher for third, but this time Bridger was away and clear to put three points on the board for the Eagles.
The gap was therefore six ahead of an eventful Heat 6 which started with an awkward tumble for Larsen, who had been outgated but was trying to pass Timo Lahti into turn three only to skid on the wet surface, spin and fall heavily into the fence. The Dane required treatment but bravely took his final two rides and ended up making an important contribution to the Coventry cause.
Meanwhile, Schlein took the lead with a good cutback on Kylmakorpi in the re-run, although the Finn looked fast and was putting a challenge in before Lahti, some way behind the two up-front, inexplicably spun around on the third lap and was then unable to clear the track, resulting in a race stoppage and the heat awarded as a 3-2 to the Bees.
Kennett took control of Heat 7 early on for a shared race against Gustafsson and Woodward, but at that stage Dryml had raced only once – he would appear in all but one of the next seven races!
A fast start from the inside saw Dryml take the lead in Heat 8 with the returning Larsen battling away to get the better of Bridger in the first couple of laps, before then coming past fellow Dane Kildemand as the Bees swapped places on their way to another important 3-3.
There was more drama in Heat 9 with the Eagles gating on a 5-1, as they did on many occasions, but Kylmakorpi being forced wide on the second lap by a strong move from Fisher, with Kylmakorpi coming to a stop before he reached the end of the back straight. With only three men left in the race, though, it was destined to be another 3-2 because Pawlicki went too wide on lap three trying to pass his team-mate and slammed into the fence with quite some force before thankfully walking away from the incident.
So Bees took a six-point lead into Heat 10, and the next two races saw them extend their advantage, first with another good ride by Larsen to take him ahead of Gustafsson off turn two with Schlein covering third place – and then with Kennett neatly trapping Dryml off turn four on the second lap of Heat 11, making a passing move on the inside and then strongly repelling Dryml’s return challenge. Meanwhile, there was plenty going on behind them as Morris relegated Pedersen to the rear, lost his third place on the back straight for the final time but then maturely cut back off the final bend to beat Pedersen to the line for another big scalp.
What that did do was to increase the gap to ten points meaning that Dryml could take a tactical ride in Heat 12 – but the outcome wasn’t too disastrous as far as the Bees were concerned because Gustafsson, fortunately, made his worst gate of the night and was relegated to the back with Kildemand just holding on for third place after a close race between the two.
Once again the Eagles gated in Heat 13, but with Kennett’s outside run seemingly blocked by Dryml, Schlein suddenly picked up drive and clattered into Pedersen sending both riders down on the second bend. Both fortunately walked away from an awkward tangle, but Schlein was disqualified and Kennett found himself totally out-gated in the re-run – but this turned out to be not such a bad thing, because Pedersen and Dryml both headed for the outside allowing Kennett the freedom of Brandon to switch back, get his wheels in line and race clear for a fourth win.
With the rain continuing to threaten, maintaining a seven-point lead was very important for the Bees, whilst the Eagles went into the last two heats needing two 5-1s for a win on the night, but with only one more Dryml ride available.
Not surprisingly, he took it in Heat 14 and again the early signs were promising for the visitors as their pairing made it into the first bend ahead. But the Bees battled hard with Pawlicki going around Woodward on lap two, and next time around Morris salvaged a crucially important point by also passing his fellow Australian to leave the score at 46-39.
And that turned out to be that, because as the riders made their way off the circuit the rain suddenly came down much heavier than before, and track conditions were then deemed by both sides to be too dangerous to continue. It doubtless left the Eagles frustrated that they hadn’t taken advantage of Dryml’s superb night, but for the Buildbase Bees these were three important and hard-earned points, and despite recent results caused mainly by not being able to put out a full-strength team, they remain firmly in the race for the top four.
BUILDBASE BEES 46 Rory Schlein 2 3 1 X = 6 Kenni Larsen 1* X 2 3 = 6+1 Ryan Fisher 1 0 2 2 = 5 Przemek Pawlicki 3 2 X 2 = 7 Edward Kennett 3 3 3 3 = 12 Nick Morris 1 0 1 1* = 3+1 Peter Kildemand 3 2* 1* 1* = 7+3
EASTBOURNE 39 Bjarne Pedersen 3 1 0 2 = 6 Lewis Bridger 0 3 0 = 3 Simon Gustafsson 2 2 2 0 = 6 Cameron Woodward 0 1* 0 0 = 1+1 Joonas Kylmakorpi 1 2 R = 3 Lukas Dryml 2 3 3 2 6^ 1* 3 = 20+1 Timo Lahti 0 0 X = 0