COVENTRY suffered a night to forget at Swindon as the in-form home side ran up a 60-31 win against the Buildbase Bees.
It was not a result which significantly damages the Bees’ play-off aspirations, as fifth-placed Eastbourne were also heavily beaten at Wolverhampton, but it was certainly a hefty statement of intent from the Robins, who only have one more match remaining as they bid to secure a top four spot.
Their impressive recent run has been built on the form of second-strings Nick Morris and Dakota North, and the former collected a paid maximum from five rides with North adding paid-eleven, whilst the Bees failed to truly fire in any department of the team.
Reserve James Sarjeant did all he could with paid-nine, and guest Max Fricke gave an admirable display too, as he took the notable scalp of home No.1 Peter Kildemand in Heat 10 when collecting second place on a tactical ride.
But Bees’ top men both had a frustrating time, Hans Andersen running two rare last places before changing bikes to good effect and winning his next two rides – whilst skipper Chris Harris found himself outmanoeuvred in his opening outings before grinding to a halt in his last.
In the first seven races, reserve Nathan Greaves was the only Swindon rider to drop any points as the meeting was all-but done and dusted with the home side 31-11 up.
Harris had lost out to Troy Batchelor in a titanic scrap for second place in Heat 3, and he was then undone by Simon Gustafsson and North in a hectic first-lap battle when he was going for double in Heat 6.
Fricke became the Bees’ first winner when he took the flag in Heat 8 ahead of Gustafsson and North, and Bees pegged the Robins’ scoring for a six-race spell, Heat 12 ending as a 3-2 to Swindon as Kyle Howarth fell when chasing Morris and then Greaves failed to finish the re-run.
But the Robins finished with two 5-1s as Sarjeant replaced the point-less Kenneth Hansen in Heat 14, and then Morris took advantage of a re-run in Heat 15 after he had jumped the start and then tangled with Andersen, to complete his paid maximum.
Bees boss Gary Havelock said: “We didn’t seem to have the right set-ups early on, our guys were just spinning and when theirs were going around you could hear their engines had a completely different tone.
“Hans had two rides, swapped bikes and looked a different rider, but Jason Garrity who is probably our best gater couldn’t make a start to save his life.
“It’s one of those nights, a bad day at the office, but I don’t think it was any lack of effort or commitment. We’ll go away and re-group quickly.”
Bees will need to hit back in Friday’s double-header at Brandon against Eastbourne, which could give them the opportunity to clinch their play-off place depending on results involving the Eagles and Swindon on Wednesday.
SWINDON 60: Nick Morris 14+1, Steve Worrall 10+2, Simon Gustafsson 10, Troy Batchelor 9+4, Dakota North 9+2, Peter Kildemand 8, Nathan Greaves 0. COVENTRY 31: James Sarjeant 8+1, Max Fricke 8, Hans Andersen 7, Kyle Howarth 3, Jason Garrity 2+2, Chris Harris 2, Kenneth Hansen 1. Elite League points: Swindon 3 Coventry 0
SWINDON 60 Peter Kildemand 3 2* 1 2 = 8+1 Nick Morris 2* 3 3 3 3 = 14+1 Simon Gustafsson 3 3 2 2 = 10 Dakota North 3 2* 1* 3 = 9+2 Troy Batchelor 2* 3 1* 1* 2* = 9+4 Nathan Greaves 0 0 R R = 0 Steve Worrall 3 2* 3 2* = 10+2
BUILDBASE BEES 31 Hans Andersen 0 0 3 3 1 = 7 Kyle Howarth 1 2 0 X = 3 Max Fricke R 1 3 4^ 0 = 8 Kenneth Hansen 0 0 0 = 0 Chris Harris 1 1^ 0 R = 2 Jason Garrity 1* 1 1* 0 = 3+2 James Sarjeant 2 1* 2 2 1 = 8+1