COVENTRY Storm are back on top of the National League after an emphatic 59-33 win over Kent at Brandon.
The visitors were limited to just three heat wins all night by an impressive all-round show from the City Gearboxes Storm, who also ran only two last places - both of which came when the meeting was already well settled in their favour.
A whirlwind start to proceedings left the Storm 40-16 up after nine races, although there was still plenty of interest in the remainder of the meeting thanks to the efforts of Kings’ No.1 Steve Boxall.
The visiting captain had two ferocious battles with Coventry’s Joe Jacobs, the Storm man falling under Boxall’s challenge in Heat 13 to end his unbeaten run – but Jacobs gained a measure of revenge by defeating Boxall in a titanic scrap in Heat 15, with Boxall’s second place enough to deny Robert Branford a maximum.
With solid contributions from the rest of the team led by Brendan Johnson with paid-ten, the Storm were always in control in a meeting which featured multiple re-starts, especially in the early stages with the referee unhappy with movement at the start.
Luke Crang and Kent’s Ben Morley were penalised for breaking the tapes, whilst Storm skipper James Sarjeant was handicapped in Heat 4 after being judged to have delayed the start – and the reserves’ race took a total of four attempts to run!
With the Storm ten points up in the early stages, Boxall’s attempt to go for double in Heat 5 was thwarted by Branford, whilst the other tactical ride was less successful with Benji Compton relegated to third place by Branford and Johnson in Heat 9.
At that stage, the Storm looked set for a total score well above 60, but the Kings did well to peg things thereafter, helped by a fall caused by mechanical failure for Martin Knuckey in Heat 10, and Jacobs’ fall and disputed disqualification in Heat 13.
But the result still stands as the Storm’s biggest win yet, and although their play-off rivals have matches in hand, Coventry have points on the board and a priceless away win already in the bag.
Co-boss Laurence Rogers said: “It was good to bounce back after the problems of Tuesday night (at Dudley) and the boys were on fire. Every one of them did a great job.
“The team spirit was brilliant, it’s so pleasing to see them all helping each other and we want to stay top. The riders are all on a high and now we want to go to Stoke next Saturday and get something there.”
COVENTRY 59: Robert Branford 12+1, Joe Jacobs 12, Brendan Johnson 9+1, James Sarjeant 8+1, Luke Crang 8+1, Martin Knuckey 5+2, Ryan Terry-Daley 5+1. KENT 33: Steve Boxall 14, Ben Morley 7, Benji Compton 6, Connor Coles 3+1, Adam Kirby 2+1, Lee Geary 1, Mark Baldock 0.
COVENTRY 59 Joe Jacobs 3 3 3 X 3 = 12 Martin Knuckey 1 2* 2* X = 5+2 Robert Branford 2* 3 3 3 1 = 12+1 Brendan Johnson 3 1 2* 3 = 9+1 James Sarjeant 1* 3 2 2 = 8+1 Ryan Terry-Daley 3 1 1* 0 = 5+1 Luke Crang 2* 2 3 1 = 8+1
KENT 33 Steve Boxall 2 4^ 3 3 2 = 14 Mark Baldock 0 0 0 = 0 Ben Morley 1 2 2 2 0 = 7 Connor Coles 0 0 1* 2 = 3+1 Benji Compton 3 1 1^ 1 = 6 Lee Geary 1 0 0 0 0 = 1 Adam Kirby X X 1 M 1* = 2+1