COVENTRY extended their Elite League advantage back up to seven points with an emphatic 60-32 win over local rivals Wolverhampton at Brandon.
Not only was it the Buildbase Bees’ biggest victory of the season, it was their best result over the Monmore men in a league match since way back in September 1997.
On that occasion Bees won 60-30, and this result effectively matched that as Friday’s match saw Wolves gain two ‘free’ points from a tactical ride which was not available in the early days of the Elite League.
And in a solid all-round team display in front of a big crowd, the meeting was a personal triumph for Finnish star Joonas Kylmakorpi who raced to a full 15-point maximum with five super winning rides.
Skipper Chris Harris dropped just one point himself in a successful shift at No.1, whilst Hans Andersen enjoyed his best Brandon night for some weeks with three race wins - and the points scoring continued right down the line.
The final margin would have been worse for Wolves had it not been for the contribution of Swedish rider Jacob Thorssell, who won three of his first four outings - but those were the visitors’ sole successes, although reserve Ashley Morris was unlucky not to add to his two-point score.
Wolves pegged the Bees to just a two-point margin in the first two heats, as Morris pounced on James Sarjeant going wide on bend four in Heat 2 to split the home duo - but Andersen bolted from the start in Heat 3 with Danny King working his way around first Peter Karlsson and then Ricky Wells to secure the first 5-1 of the night.
Bees moved into an eight-point lead, a margin which was maintained across Heats 5 and 6 with Thorssell fending off Jason Garrity in the former race whilst King was squeezed out in the next.
But Andersen and Harris dominated Heat 7 to extend the margin to twelve points, and Morris suffered the misfortune of disqualification in the next when he had come to grief in a first-bend incident and left the track for bike repairs, which may have meant the sounding of the two-minute warning (and the requirement to stay on track) for the re-run was premature.
As it was, Kylmakorpi saw off the double-points effort of Thorssell for a 4-4 outcome, and there was a further blow for the visitors when Morris and Tobiasz Musielak made good starts in Heat 9 only for Musielak to lift into his team-mate’s path allowing Stuart Robson to make his way to the front and Garrity to steal third place.
A 5-1 from Thorssell and Freddie Lindgren in Heat 10 did give Wolves hope of at least salvaging a league point, as at that stage the Coventry advantage was down to ten.
But Harris saw off Karlsson in Heat 11 with Robson producing an excellent overtake of Wells for third place - and then with the scores at 40-28, the visitors collapsed.
The Bees reserves took a 5-1 from Heat 12, Sarjeant slipping inside Matt Williamson on the second lap to team up with Garrity, and that was the start of four successive maximum advantages.
Andersen took charge of Heat 13 with Harris riding a superb first lap to charge inside Karlsson on the third bend, whilst Kylmakorpi hit the front again in the next with a determined King again using the outside to good effect to join his partner.
There was to be no stopping Kylmakorpi in the finale either, as with Harris riding shotgun perfectly the home side hit the 60-point barrier with the Finn completing a perfect score.
Harris said: “Everyone did their job tonight, and it’s good for our confidence especially as we’ve got another big break now before our next match.
“Our aim is to finish top so that we can pick where we want to go, and it’s much easier to be out there on top rather than chasing, which can be hard work!
“I’m sure the other teams will be looking at us and hopefully getting a bit scared now. It was another great reception from the crowd, they lift us when they get behind the team like that, and it shows in our performance.”
Bees now lead Poole by seven points, and the Pirates are scheduled to race their three matches in hand, away at Swindon and Wolverhampton and at home to Wolves, before Coventry go back into action at Lakeside on July 27.
BUILDBASE BEES 60: Joonas Kylmakorpi 15, Chris Harris 11+3, Hans Andersen 9, Jason Garrity 9, Stuart Robson 6+2, Danny King 5+2, James Sarjeant 5+1. WOLVERHAMPTON 32: Jacob Thorssell 13, Fredrik Lindgren 6+1, Tobiasz Musielak 5, Peter Karlsson 3+1, Ricky Wells 2, Ashley Morris 2, Matt Williamson 1.
BUILDBASE BEES 60 Chris Harris 2 2* 3 2* 2* = 11+3 Stuart Robson 1* 1* 3 1 = 6+2 Danny King 2* 0 1 2* = 5+2 Joonas Kylmakorpi 3 3 3 3 3 = 15 Hans Andersen 3 3 0 3 = 9 Jason Garrity 3 2 1 3 = 9 James Sarjeant 1 1 1 2* = 5+1