FOR the second away match in succession, a last-heat 5-1 destroyed the Buildbase Bees' chances of coming away with a positive result.
On this occasion at Foxhall, they went into Heat 15 three points down, so nothing less than a maximum advantage would have done, but just as at Belle Vue it was the home duo who took the points.
Chris Harris and Rory Schlein were the men involved for the Bees, but the outcome was harsh on the duo as they had been outstanding throughout the meeting and, along with Olly Allen, kept the team in touch when they seemed set for a comfortable defeat.
It all started well with a 5-1 to Bees in the first race, which produced an exciting first lap when Piotr Swiderski went wide on turn two, Robert Miskowiak cut inside Harris only to be re-passed exiting turn four and then going down at the start of lap two. Miskowiak was excluded and the re-run saw Harris and Allen gate on Swiderski to bring home the race advantage which they held at the time of the stoppage.
However, the lead did not last long because Bees were set for a night of struggle at reserve with Andreas Messing falling on turn four of Heat 2 and Stan Burza unable to find a way past Chris Schramm, even though the Witches rider lost plenty of momentum on the third lap when he had to remove his goggles after being filled in.
Swiderski recovered from his first-ride third place and formed a potent top duo with Jarek Hampel, and it was Hampel who took Heat 3 ahead of a pursuing Simon Stead with Steve Johnston third to put the home side ahead - but Bees levelled the scores straight away with Schlein showing his liking for Foxhall by seeing off Miskowiak in Heat 4 and Messing holding Schramm off for third.
Heat 5 was shared with Harris doing everything but pass Hampel, the Bees skipper on occasions actually being delayed by errors from his opponent, but the Witches really took control of the meeting during the mid-stages as Bees struggled to put together competitive pairings. Swiderski got the better of Schlein on the second bend of Heat 6 with Burza pulling out in the early stages having damaged back muscles leaving the start-line.
It turned out to be his last action of the night, giving Messing three rides on the trot, and they started in unhappy fashion with Tobias Kroner, who was a real trump card for the home side, heading home team-mate Miskowiak for a 5-1 over Stead and Messing.
A 4-2 in Heat 8 with Allen between the Witches rides extended the lead to eight points, and although Schlein rode a superb race to see off Hampel in Heat 9, the Witches moved twelve clear in the next with Swiderski an all-the-way winner, and Allen suffering engine trouble on the third lap which stopped his momentum and allowed Kroner to find a way through on the inside.
Not surprisingly, Harris donned black and white in Heat 11 and produced a determined ride to move Miskowiak out on turn one and then make his way past Kroner on turn three, and with Allen also holding Miskowiak at bay for third, a useful 7-2 got the gap back to seven points.
The Witches regained the ascendancy in Heat 12 when Stead was out-gated by Hampel and Schramm, although he did manage to come past the Ipswich reserve at the end of the first lap to at least prevent a 5-1.
It left Bees needing a dramatic finish, and their hopes were raised by an excellent 5-1 in Heat 13 as Schlein shot off gate 4 and Harris controlled things on the first and second bends for them to move clear of Swiderski and Miskowiak to cut the Witches' lead to five points.
They still needed something unexpected from Heat 14 and they got just that as Messing, who had scored just one point from six rides, managed to hold off Johnston for all four laps behind clear race winner Schlein and Kroner to set up a last-heat decider.
It was 5-1 or nothing for the Bees in Heat 15, and the gate positions for Harris and Schlein were exactly the same as they had used for the previous Heat 13 which had seen them secure maximum points. The outcome, however, was different on this occasion with the Witches riders storming from the start, and although Harris got alongside Hampel on a couple of occasions, he couldn't complete the move and it wasn't going to be enough.
Once again, therefore, a feeling of what might have been at the end of a Buildbase Bees away match and clear indications of where they need to improve when they make their second Elite League visits of the season to a number of circuits.
IPSWICH 50 Piotr Swiderski 1 3 3 3 1 3 = 14 Chris Louis Rider Replacement Jarek Hampel 3 3 2 3 2* = 13+1 Steve Johnston 1 0 1* 0 = 2+1 Robert Miskowiak X 2 2* 0 0 = 4+1 Tobias Kroner 3 1 3 2* 2 2 = 13+1 Chris Schramm 2* 0 1 1 = 4+1
BUILDBASE BEES 43 Chris Harris 3 2 6^ 2* 1 = 14+1 Olly Allen 2* 1* 2 1 1 = 7+2 Simon Stead 2 1 0 2 = 5 Billy Janniro Rider Replacement Rory Schlein 3 2 3 3 3 0 = 14 Stan Burza 1 0 R = 1 Andreas Messing F 1 0 R 0 0 1 = 2