KENNI Larsen swept to a superb six-ride paid maximum as the Buildbase Bees established an eleven-point advantage to take to Purfleet for the second leg of their KO Cup tie on Saturday.
The popular Dane had been frustrated with his display in Coventry’s shock home defeat by Birmingham on Monday but he hit back to top form against the Hammers with his unbeaten performance.
And skipper Chris Harris also reeled off five straight wins from his regular rides, although he missed out in the special KO Cup match-race against Peter Karlsson, clutch problems for Harris helping the Lakeside man to claw three points back for his side.
But this was a much better night all-round for Coventry with Edward Kennett also back on-song as the home side collected eleven of the regular fifteen heat wins, with only the unlucky Adam Roynon missing out.
Lakeside kept things tight early on with the scores level at 21-21 after seven races, but Bees began to extend their lead when guest Peter Kildemand partnered Larsen to a 5-1 in Heat 9.
Further maximum advantages followed in Heats 12 and 13, Kildemand providing a spectacular burst of speed to make it into second place behind Harris in the latter, leading to the Hammers calling for the match-race under the new regulations.
Harris and Karlsson battled strongly for a lap with Karlsson re-taking the lead at the end of the first lap and Harris then striking trouble later in the race, but the Bees captain – who had earlier clocked the fastest time of the season - was back to winning ways in the finale well backed by the hugely impressive Larsen as Bees edged their lead back over the ten-point mark.
Aaron Summers returns to the team for Saturday’s return fixture at Purfleet with Bees therefore operating rider-replacement for Scott Nicholls; whilst the Hammers use Kauko Nieminen and Justin Sedgmen in their double-up positions.
Harris said: “It would have been a few more points if the match race had gone the right way, but Lakeside have a very strong team and they aren’t challenging at the top of the Elite League table for nothing.
“But tonight showed how good a team Coventry is when we all click. Now we have to go down there and push them, I know they’re very good at home but I don’t see why we can’t go through.
“The track was fantastic tonight so fair play to the track staff, they got it how we wanted so the rest of it is down to us. It was a bit disappointing in the match race but the clutch burnt out on the second lap, but otherwise the bike felt good all night.”
BUILDBASE BEES 52: Kenni Larsen 16+2, Chris Harris 15, Edward Kennett 10, Henning Bager 6+1, Peter Kildemand 5+2, Adam Roynon 0, Aaron Summers R/R.
LAKESIDE 41: Peter Karlsson 11+1, Kim Nilsson 10+2, Robert Mear 8, Davey Watt 5, Ashley Birks 4, Stuart Robson 3+2, R/R.