COVENTRY are back on top of the Elite League after a dramatic 45-45 draw at Belle Vue on Monday.
The Buildbase Bees took two points from a thriller of a meeting thanks to a magnificent Heat 15 ride from skipper Chris Harris to overtake Aces' No.1 Matej Zagar.
And that saw them extend their advantage over Belle Vue, who are rivals for a play-off place, as the home side were limited to just one point for a draw on their own circuit.
The teams had gone into the decider level after both had held four-point leads at various stages of the meeting.
Bees No.1 Hans Andersen was right back to form, and he went into Heat 15 unbeaten but found himself squeezed out from the outside on lap one.
With Zagar in front, the home side looked set to snatch a narrow victory, but Harris had other ideas and steamed under the Slovenian going into the second lap.
Bees' great record in Manchester had been put under threat by several early mechanical problems, with Kirky Lane specialist Jason Garrity particularly affected.
Garrity suffered trouble which was eventually traced to the rocker arm in his engine, and failed to finish any of his first three rides, eventually switching to machinery borrowed from Harris to get on the scoreboard.
But guest reserve Paul Starke did a fine job to pass Steve Worrall and win Heat 2, and the scores were level one-third of the way through the meeting with Stuart Robson cleverly working his way from third to first in Heat 5.
Andersen and Harris put Bees ahead for the first time with an emphatic 5-1 in Heat 6 but Danny King, an impressive winner of his first ride, took a heavy first bend spill in the next race and then fell again in the re-run.
Other riders were in the wars too, Robson and Max Fricke emerging unscathed from a heavy turn one clash, whilst Stefan Nielsen was fortunate to avoid injury from a spectacular turn two incident in Heat 8 when his flying machine nearly took Robson out.
The home side clawed their way level at 27-27 with a couple of 4-2s, with Nicholls and Craig Cook then both scrambling past Robson to prevent a Bees advantage in Heat 10.
It looked grim for the visitors when the Aces gated to maximum points in the next, but Bees hit straight back to level the scores again with a 5-1 from Garrity and Starke in Heat 12.
And they made themselves favourites for the win in a brilliant Heat 13 as Harris took Nicholls wide on turn one and Andersen switched back superbly to move into second place, the Bees pair then producing some excellent team-riding to keep Nicholls and Zagar at bay.
But the Aces came straight back in Heat 14 with a fast start from Cook, whilst Josh Grajczonek produced a fine effort to get the better of King on the third lap for a 5-1 to level the meeting again.
That earned Grajczonek the nod to partner Zagar in the decider, but although Andersen’s unbeaten run came to an end Harris’s heroics ensured the Bees would not be beaten, and took the larger share of points on offer.
Harris said: “Obviously we came here for the win so we’re a bit disappointed not to get it, but at least we came away with a draw and got two points.
“It was an up-and-down night for everyone - on Friday it was me and Hans who struggled, and tonight it was others, but we’re there or thereabouts and the results still show the strength in depth we have in the team, and it’s great to be leading it.
“Jason had a problem with his bike - we’d changed everything and then realised it was the rocker in the engine, and his spare one wasn’t up to it either. So he jumped on mine and had a win on it, which was good to see because it’s my Coventry engine so it was good to see somebody else use it and see what they think of it!”
BELLE VUE 45: Matej Zagar 9+1, Josh Grajczonek 8+2, Max Fricke 7+1, Steve Worrall 7+1, Craig Cook 7, Scott Nicholls 6+1, Stefan Nielsen 1+1. COVENTRY 45: Hans Andersen 11+1, Chris Harris 11+1, Paul Starke 6+1, Danny King 6, Jason Garrity 5, Stuart Robson 4+1, Joonas Kylmakorpi 2. Elite League points: Belle Vue 1 Coventry 2