HANS Andersen’s Purfleet master-class wasn’t quite enough to inspire the Buildbase Bees to an Elite League point at table-topping Lakeside on Saturday.
The Danish superstar piled up a 17-point total from five rides despite suffering from a nasty bout of food poisoning, and the 51-44 result in favour of the home side left Bees agonisingly short of taking some reward from the meeting.
It had been an excellent comeback in the second half of proceedings with Bees trailing by 16 points after Heat 10 but forcing plenty of nervous moments for the Hammers late-on.
Andersen’s near-faultless display was backed by another most impressive guest appearance from Max Fricke as well as all-action displays from Jason Garrity and Kenneth Hansen.
A Heat 1 win for Andersen over Peter Karlsson, with Fricke maturely keeping Richard Lawson at bay for third place, put Bees into an early lead and they would have extended it in Heat 2 but for Steve Worrall snatching the win from Garrity on the line after the duo passed and re-passed.
Lakeside hit the front with a 5-1 from Davey Watt and Lewis Bridger in Heat 3, and that sparked a run of advantages for the home side with Bridger going from fourth to second in Heat 5, passing first Hansen and then surging around Ryan Fisher off the last bend to secure another 5-1.
Bees trailed by ten points after Heat 6, Andersen dropping what turned out to be his only point to Watt in that race, and Lawson limited the visitors to a 5-3 when Hansen took a tactical ride in the next race and was kept in second place for four points.
Fricke was then unfortunate to lose out to Mikkel Bech in a ding-dong scrap for second spot in Heat 8, but the bottom line was another Hammers 5-1 as the home side’s lead continued to extend.
A 4-2 in the second reserves’ race continued Lakeside’s progression, whilst Fisher’s night was summed up in Heat 10 as he took the lead only to slam into the fence on turn two second time around, just after Karlsson took what became the lead from Chris Harris.
At 23-39 down, matters looked distinctly unpromising, but Andersen gated sharply and fended off Bridger for a six-pointer in Heat 11 with Hansen keeping home skipper Watt at the back for a most useful 7-2 to Coventry.
And the race of the night in Heat 12 saw the Bees get right back into contention as Fricke and Garrity came out on top in a frantic battle with Lawson, with the riders three-abreast down the back straight as Lawson tried to make a passing move on Garrity but ended up being trapped by the alert Fricke.
Another race advantage would have allowed Bees to salvage a league point, but although they provided the winner in each of the three remaining heats, their other rider was frustratingly kept at the back.
Andersen controlled Heat 13 from the tapes but Harris was kept out by Karlsson and Bridger; Hansen took a deserved win over Bech in Heat 14 but Garrity was relegated to the back by Ben Morley; and Andersen was again the dominant force in the final race but Hansen, off the outside, was just squeezed out by the combination of Karlsson and Watt to leave Bees just short.
Andersen said: “I don’t know how I managed to get through the meeting because halfway through I had to go out behind the pits area and was ill, and it’s been happening all day.
“I’ve got no strength in my body because there’s nothing in me – I’ve been trying to get some food in but it comes out as quickly as it goes in!
“So it was a very difficult night but I managed to put on a good show, and it’s just a shame that we didn’t get a point out of it because we definitely deserved it with the comeback we had.”
The two teams meet once again at Brandon on Bank Holiday Monday at 7.30pm.
LAKESIDE 51: Peter Karlsson 12, Davey Watt 10+1, Mikkel Bech 8+1, Lewis Bridger 7+3, Ben Morley 5+1, Richard Lawson 5, Steve Worrall 4. BUILDBASE BEES 44: Hans Andersen 17, Kenneth Hansen 8, Jason Garrity 7+2, Max Fricke 7, Chris Harris 3, James Sarjeant 1+1, Ryan Fisher 1.
LAKESIDE 51 Peter Karlsson 2 3 3 2 2 = 12 Richard Lawson 0 3 1 1 = 5 Davey Watt 3 3 3 0 1* = 10+1 Mikkel Bech 3 1 2* 2 = 8+1 Lewis Bridger 2* 2* 2 1* = 7+3 Ben Morley F 1 3 0 1* = 5+1 Steve Worrall 3 0 1 = 4
BUILDBASE BEES 44 Hans Andersen 3 2 6^ 3 3 = 17 Max Fricke 1 2 1 3 = 7 Ryan Fisher 0 1 0 F = 1 Kenneth Hansen 0 4^ 1 3 0 = 8 Chris Harris 1 0 2 0 = 3 Jason Garrity 2 1* 2 2* 0 = 7+2 James Sarjeant 1* 0 0 = 1+1