COVENTRY Storm were beaten 54-36 at play-off bound Eastbourne in their penultimate away fixture of the season on Sunday.
The depleted City Gearboxes Storm battled away at one of the toughest away venues in the league and threatened a shock in the early stages when they opened the match with two 4-2s, including a good Heat 2 victory from Callum Walker.
Captain Liam Carr declared himself fit to race despite crashing out of the National League Riders’ Championship on Saturday, and led the way with three race wins.
That would have been four but for Carr coming to grief at the end of lap three when leading Heat 6 – and that was a double blow for the Storm, because a re-run was ordered from which the Eagles took a 5-1 when in the initial staging Callum Walker had been ahead of Kelsey Dugard.
The home side gradually extended their lead in mid-meeting with back-to-back 5-1s in Heats 9 and 10 with Ellis Perks and Georgie Wood both piling up bumper scores in the absence of regular Eagles No.1 Adam Ellis.
That put them 38-22 up but the Storm largely pegged things thereafter with a series of 3-3s, although they had to wait until Heat 15 for a fourth race victory as Carr got the better of Perks and Wood.
Manager Laurence Rogers said: “It was a battling performance and the final scoreline did not reflect the efforts of the Storm boys.
“Although in pain, Liam notched two fine wins before crashing out in Heat 6 when in a comfortable lead, thankfully with no ill effects, and ended the meeting with a superb Heat 15 win when Callum was on the tail of Perks and Wood.
“Tom Woolley was a good guest battling away to paid eight, so overall it was another pleasing performance.”
The Storm are back in action at Brandon on Friday when they complete their home programme with matches against Stoke (7pm) and Rye House.