COVENTRY missed out on a point for the first time away from home this season as they went down to a 41-49 defeat at King’s Lynn on Wednesday.
The Buildbase Bees were left to rue a number of incidents which went against them at the Adrian Flux Arena as they remained in touch for much of the meeting but just fell short in Heat 15.
A cruel mechanical failure for the impressive Joonas Kylmakorpi and a controversial refereeing decision in Heat 11 were sources of frustration, along with a dropped point in Heat 8 and the continued absence of James Sarjeant following his weekend crash at Glasgow.
Sarjeant’s ranking as 11th amongst the Tier 2 riders in no way reflects his ability or scoring level, and with replacement Connor Mountain unable to trouble the scorers it was good news for Bees that Jason Garrity was in race-winning form.
But with Hans Andersen not scoring in his opening two rides – suffering a breakdown in his second – Bees dropped to a ten-point deficit after six races.
The Stars took 5-1s in Heats 1 and 5, Garrity and Kylmakorpi winning their first outings for the Bees, and a King’s Lynn 4-2 in Heat 6 with Chris Harris splitting Rory Schlein and Nicklas Porsing led to Coventry using the tactical ride facility in the next.
They looked to be heading for a 5-3 as Kylmakorpi held second spot behind Iversen, but carburettor problems exiting the very last bend resulted in him slipping to the back with the Stars taking a fortunate 4-2 as a result.
Heat 8 saw the Bees on a 5-1 through Garrity and Stuart Robson until Robson slowed going into the last lap enabling Porsing to split the pair – and with Bees then reducing the gap to eight points, they saw both of their riders on the deck in Heat 11, Harris and Danny King seemingly being brought down by Iversen on turn two.
The referee, however, elected to allow all four riders back for the re-run, which Iversen duly won with Harris passing Robert Lambert on the last lap to prevent a 5-1.
Bees doggedly remained in touch as Garrity forced his way to the front of Heat 12 and Harris won a fine Heat 13 for what would be Iversen’s sole defeat of the night.
A shared Heat 14 left the Bees needing to take a race advantage from the final race to salvage a league point, and they looked set to do exactly that as Kylmakorpi headed Iversen, with Harris holding back Rory Schlein for third – but frustratingly for the visitors, Iversen made it past Kylmakorpi at the start of the last lap to maintain the Stars’ eight-point margin.
Bees boss Gary Havelock said: “It’s very disappointing. If we didn’t have bad luck at the moment, we wouldn’t have any luck at all.
“I still think there’s an awful lot more to come from this team, I genuinely believe we haven’t really got out of second gear yet, and we just need to ride this rough spell through.
“Of course we missed James, and then you add in the four points Joonas would have got when he broke down coming out of the last corner, Robbo’s point, and the fact that Niels-Kristian Iversen just basically decided not to turn and put two of our riders in the fence – I actually expected one of our riders to get disqualified for that with the way things have been going, so all-four back was a bit of an improvement!”
With Poole being held to a home draw by Belle Vue, Bees maintain a seven-point lead at the top of the Elite League table ahead of another away fixture, at Lakeside, on Friday.
KING’S LYNN 49: Niels-Kristian Iversen 14, Rory Schlein 11, Lewis Kerr 8+1, Robert Lambert 6+3, Nicklas Porsing 5, Ashley Morris 4+2, Kenneth Bjerre 1. COVENTRY 41: Joonas Kylmakorpi 10, Jason Garrity 10, Chris Harris 9+2, Danny King 5+1, Hans Andersen 4, Stuart Robson 3, Connor Mountain 0.