COVENTRY enhanced their position at the top of the Elite League with a convincing 57-33 win over injury-hit King’s Lynn at Brandon on Monday.
The Buildbase Bees are now eight points clear of the second-placed Stars, who battled hard in their depleted state to offer up some entertaining action in front of a big Bank Holiday crowd.
Danish superstar Niels-Kristian Iversen produced two sublime rides in Heats 13 and 15, and late replacement Michael Palm Toft also proved to be a surprise package.
But the Bees were much the stronger team throughout, with solid points throughout the line-up and only three last places in the fifteen races - along with another bumper total of 17 (paid 19) from reserves Jason Garrity and James Sarjeant.
King’s Lynn were without two of their regular top three due to injuries sustained in Poland on Sunday, Rory Schlein’s being the most serious as he required lengthy surgery on back injuries, which thankfully appear to have proved successful.
Palm Toft stepped in for Schlein with the rider replacement facility in operation for Kenneth Bjerre, who was out with an injured hand.
And for six races the Stars held the Bees to just a four-point lead, despite the fact that Iversen won only one of his opening three outings as impressive rides from Hans Andersen in Heat 1 and Danny King in Heat 6 gave them victories over the Grand Prix man.
The Stars’ other guest Adam Roynon worked hard to deny Sarjeant second place in Heat 2, although Sarjeant got his revenge in Heat 4, and teenager Robert Lambert got the better of Garrity in Heat 5 in a Lynn 4-2.
But from Heat 7 onwards, the meeting changed completely as first Andersen and then guest Scott Nicholls both overtook Palm Toft for the first 5-1 of the night, and it was rapidly followed by three more. Sarjeant charged around the outside in Heat 8 with King holding second ahead of Lambert; and then Robson also used the wide route to success in the next with Roynon and Nicklas Porsing nearly colliding as they tried to respond.
Trailing by 16 points, the Stars nominated Iversen for a tactical ride in Heat 10 but Nicholls made a perfect start and was joined by Joonas Kylmakorpi who held a clever inside line to leave the visiting No.1 unable to score double points.
That ended the match as a contest but Palm Toft secured a notable win in Heat 11 when he pounced as Andersen appeared to be trying to help partner Robson through - and after the Bees reserves romped to a Heat 12 5-1, Iversen got the better of Andersen after a three-lap chase in Heat 13.
King made it four unbeaten rides as he picked up a 5-1 with Kylmakorpi in Heat 14, but he was destined not to go through the card despite the fact that he and Andersen both made the start in Heat 15.
With a Bees 5-1 looking likely, Palm Toft again used the inside to good effect as the home riders drifted wide, and with Iversen quickly moving into third place he then wound up speed to go around Andersen on the final lap, to give the Stars some late consolation.
Coventry boss Gary Havelock said: “I’m very pleased - obviously they were slightly depleted but at the end of the day there’s four riders in a race and you can only beat the other two guys you’re at the tapes with.
“Not being together for a couple of weeks was a bit of a concern, but all of the boys have been riding and we seemed to pick up where we had left off at Leicester, which was the plan!”
COVENTRY 57: Danny King 11+1, Hans Andersen 10+1, Jason Garrity 10+1, Scott Nicholls 7+3, Joonas Kylmakorpi 7+2, James Sarjeant 7+1, Stuart Robson 5. KING’S LYNN 33: Niels K Iversen 13+1, Michael Palm-Toft 8, Robert Lambert 5+1, Adam Roynon 4, Nicklas Porsing 2, Ashley Morris 1, Kenneth Bjerre R/R. Elite League points: Coventry 3 King’s Lynn 0
BUILDBASE BEES 57 Hans Andersen 3 3 1* 2 1 = 10+1 Stuart Robson 0 0 3 2 = 5 Joonas Kylmakorpi 2 1 2* 2* = 7+2 Danny King 3 3 2* 3 0 = 11+1 Scott Nicholls 1* 2* 3 1* = 7+3 Jason Garrity 3 2 2* 3 = 10+1 James Sarjeant 1 1 3 2* = 7+1