BOTH the Buildbase Bees and Sheffield will be relatively satisfied with the outcome of this week's challenge fixtures as they prepare for the start of the serious action next week.
Whilst the two matches have once again underlined the gap which exists between Elite and Premier Leagues, the two teams have produced plenty of good racing and all of the riders have come through the opening week unscathed.
A walkover Bees success at Brandon would have done nobody any favours, but that was never on the cards thanks to the battling spirit shown by the Tigers, with Joel Parsons impressing at reserve and guest Tai Woffinden showing why he could well be a superstar of the future.
For Bees, there was a highly efficient and unbeaten home debut for Simon Stead with a 12-point maximum, whilst skipper Chris Harris and Billy Janniro were close to full houses themselves only to be upstaged by Woffinden in Heat 15.
And Olly Allen has slotted straight back into fast-gating form, as he showed in Heat 1 with a flying start from gate two as Rory Schlein was initially squeezed out by Andre Compton. That left the Australian at the back, and although he went inside Richard Hall on the fourth bend, he was unable to catch Compton in the remainder of the race.
Parsons rode an impressive race to take Heat 2 ahead of the new Bees reserves, who both had their moments later in the meeting, and Harris then showed some of his typical racers instinct in Heat 3 after being out-gated and finding himself in last place. Within a lap, though, he was at the front after a charge around the outside which even seemed to surprise team-mate Janniro as he moved into first place.
Stead quickly moved clear of Ben Wilson on the second bend of Heat 4 with Stanislaw Burza finding his way through on the inside, and Bees made it a hat-trick of 5-1s in Heat 5 thanks to the Harris/Janniro combination.
That run came to an end thanks to a mechanical failure in the next race because Schlein and Allen looked set for maximum points only for Allen to seize an engine and coast to a standstill halfway through the heat.
But Bees quickly returned to taking heat advantages, first from Stead and Andreas Messing in Heat 7 although Woffinden was clearly sizing the track up and gaining in speed during that race, with Ricky Ashworth falling on the second lap.
Hall, in his first meeting back from injury last August, charged around Burza to take second place in Heat 8 and there was then an unexpected battle in Heat 9 as Harris appeared to lose power midway through the race and ended up fighting side-by-side with Parsons for second place, just taking the verdict on the line for another 5-1 with Janniro.
Woffinden then found the drive to take him all the way around Allen and Schlein on the second bend of Heat 10 to become Sheffield's second heat winner of the night, and the Tigers' sole heat advantage came courtesy of the tactical ride in Heat 11 with Compton's second spot behind Schlein double-up, Hall taking advantage of an early mistake by Messing for third.
With the Bees reserves learning their new home circuit, Burza went a little too wide in the opening stages of Heat 12 which gave Parsons and Woffinden the opportunity to take second and third places behind Harris, before a routine 5-1 in Heat 13 from Stead and Schlein as Compton's machine expired on turn two.
There was some good team-riding between Janniro and Messing in Heat 14 as the Swede held Ashworth at bay on the inside allowing his partner around the outside, and that extended the lead to 30 points before a terrific finale from Woffinden.
The youngster gated and went clear with Parsons as Janniro and Harris got into early difficulty, and although both Coventry riders passed Parsons, Harris couldn't find a way through, with a last-bend outside surge ended by a mechanical problem which dropped him adrift by the finishing line. Woffinden, however, thoroughly deserved his second win of the meeting and clearly has a big future.
So with useful points scored by all of their riders and everyone having taken at least eight rides across the two opening meetings, the Buildbase Bees now move on to commence their Craven Shield defence next week - they are more than ready to face old rivals Wolverhampton.