TEN heat winners on an away circuit is an impressive statistic and one which will generally lead to an away win - and that was exactly what happened as Eastbourne collected the Elite League's first three-pointer at Brandon.
Scott Nicholls' free-scoring contribution was fully expected, but what the Buildbase Bees hadn't bargained for, and what they couldn't repel, were some eye-catching displays lower down the Eagles order which was marked by a constant ability to make the gate.
Coventry were frequently lacking in that department, and indeed in the first eleven races their only wins had come from the consistent starting of Olly Allen (twice) and from Simon Stead in Heat 4 - and on this occasion, they ran out of fortune in their policy of packing the places in the races they did not win.
A variety of mechanical problems did not help, but Eastbourne also had their moments of ill fortune too, and it is impossible to record that this was anything other than a deserved win for the visitors.
Nicholls opened proceedings with a fast start from gate 3 to just get the better of Allen, whilst Rory Schlein managed to make it around Lewis Bridger on the second lap to protect a 3-3, which was again the outcome in Heat 2 - the first race which Bees were hoping to take points.
Young Simon Gustafsson, however, had other ideas, and he rode a perfect four laps to hold off Stan Burza and keep the scores level.
Then in Heat 3, Cameron Woodward and Lee Richardson made the start, and although Chris Harris managed to pass his opposing skipper at the end of the first lap and create a gap for Billy Janniro at the same time, Woodward incredibly held on at the front for his first-ever race win at Brandon.
Bees appeared to have weathered the early storm when they went in front in Heat 4 thanks to a good start from Stead and an intelligent move by Burza to come around James Brundle on the third bend, and Nicholls was then a clear winner of his first clash with Harris in Heat 5.
However, Bees' problems really mounted in Heat 6 when Schlein was timed out due to a faulty plug and had to go back 15 metres - and although Allen limited the damage by winning the race, Schlein could not make it through from the handicap and another 3-3 ensued.
Then in Heat 7 Richardson hit the front and Woodward rode a superb first lap to get around Stead on the back straight for a shock Eagles 5-1 which turned the match in their favour - and it seemed to inspire the other Eagles riders who got them into a winning position across the next four races.
Allen produced a good first bend to overcome the fast-gating Gustafsson in Heat 8, but Bridger picked up his first point of the meeting with a mid-race pass of Burza, and then Kennett sensationally held both Harris and Janniro at bay during a frantic battle in Heat 9.
Richardson and Woodward scented their opportunity in Heat 10 and they edged the Eagles further in front with a 4-2, Schlein going from fourth to second as Allen swung wide on the fourth bend and Woodward crucially splitting the Bees - and it was virtually game over after Heat 11 thanks to a terrific ride by Nicholls, who was outgated by Stead but managed to force inside him off the second bend - and also ease Stead out to create a gap for Bridger to follow him through.
Bees were heading for a ten-point deficit in Heat 12 but were handed a lifeline when third-placed Gustafsson dropped a chain and fell, leading to a re-start which saw Harris elbow Richardson aside on the run to the first bend.
But with the gap at six, Eastbourne were still in control and Nicholls kept them in that position by heading Stead again in Heat 13 after a good battle, Stead taking the lead into turn three but Nicholls cleverly switching back to re-take the position.
The Eagles' points were safe in Heat 14 when Woodward again made an excellent start, and Janniro suffered mechanical failure whilst he was chasing - so the only question which remained concerned Nicholls' pursuit of a maximum on his Brandon return.
The Bees asset found himself third early on but moved past Stead to chase Harris - and then there was drama in the closing stages of the race as Nicholls made an inside pass on turn four of lap three, only to be immediately re-passed as Harris cut back. Nicholls then went for the kerb himself on the pits bend but ended up getting too close to Harris, clipped the Coventry man's rear wheel, and fell heavily. Fortunately he was able to clear the track essentially uninjured, and Stead followed through to complete a consolation 5-1 for the Bees.
So far from the start to the Elite League season that the Buildbase Bees were looking for, and they will be chasing a significant improvement in their gating when in-form Ipswich arrive at Brandon on Friday.