THE Buildbase Bees finally grabbed their second away win of the season to significantly boost their chances avoiding the Elite League's bottom two places.
Facing the unbeaten former club skipper Scott Nicholls in the last race, the odds on a Coventry win were long - but Pairs champions Hans Andersen and Chris Harris produced the goods again to snatch a one-point success for their depleted side.
Andersen and Harris were the only two regular members of the team to be present at Arlington, but the guest riders all made important contributions.
And those who felt that the patched-up team would struggle to score more than around 30 points would have received a major surprise with the final outcome as the Buildbase Bees pulled back a 10-point deficit with five heats to go.
Andersen found himself under early pressure as he trailed both Nicholls and Lewis Bridger in the opening race, but having cleared team-mate Ryan Fisher he managed to overhaul Bridger, who may have been suffering some problems towards the end of the heat.
That gave the Eagles a 4-2 to open up with, but Bees turned that around in Heat 2 as Fisher took advantage of his track knowledge with a fast start and a clear win - and just as in the reverse fixture at Brandon, it was youngster Joe Haines who rode a good race for second place ahead of James Brundle and Tomas Suchanek to give the Bees a 5-1.
Heat 3 provided a good first-lap battle between rival skippers Harris and Lee Richardson, the Eagles man going around his fellow countryman on the back straight after Harris had made the better start. Third place for Cameron Woodward over Shane Parker brought the home side level at 9-9.
It was a series of 4-2s, in fact, which put Eastbourne into an apparently comfortable lead, the next one coming in Heat 4 with Edward Kennett gating over guest Rory Schlein and Brundle this time defeating Haines in the battle for the third place point.
Heat 5 was re-started after Fisher crashed on the second bend, and although his team-mate was excluded Andersen took advantage of a second chance to cut under Richardson coming off turn two to become the Bees' second heat winner of the meeting.
There was more first-bend action in Heat 6 with Fisher tangling with Bridger in the early stages and the referee ruling all four back - and in the re-run, Nicholls was convincing as he took his second win, this time over Schlein, with Bridger salvaging third place by overtaking Fisher, who subsequently fell on the last bend.
Kennett picked up his second win of the night in a shared Heat 7 as the Eagles heat leaders continued to dominate the meeting, but on this occasion Bees packed second and third with Suchanek struggling - only for Eastbourne to go six points up with another 4-2 in Heat 8, Bridger hitting the front ahead of Schlein and Brundle again defeating Haines for third.
However, Schlein was well worth a win from the meeting and having expected to get one in his rider-replacement outing, he got things right in Heat 9 with Haines for a time holding what would have been a notable third place only for Richardson to make his way through at mid-distance.
A crucial turning point in the meeting came in Heat 10 as Harris initially hit the front but found himself under pressure from Bridger and Nicholls going into the third bend, with the home men challenging on the inside. The view from the Bees camp as Harris hit the fence and sustained significant bike damage was that he had been left with nowhere to go - but the referee was unmoved, Harris was excluded, and Bees subsequently went ten points down as Nicholls and Bridger saw off Parker in the re-run.
What that did do, though, was open up the avenue of a tactical ride, Andersen's double-points outing being combined with a Harris as rider-replacement - and it produced maximum rewards after yet another re-run.
Bees felt that Kennett had fallen unaided going into turn one but all four back was the decision; however, the Eagles were not to gain from that as Andersen and Harris made the start and went away for an 8-1 to slash the lead to just three points.
It could have come down further in Heat 12 only for a super ride by Richardson to re-pass Harris and take the flag after the two had traded places on a couple of occasions - but Bees remained well in touch as Fisher took third ahead of Brundle for his first point since Heat 2.
However, the home side appeared to have taken a vital step towards victory with a 4-2 in Heat 13, especially as Nicholls appeared to be in unbeatable form as he made it 12 points out of 12. Kennett was beaten by Andersen but held on to third from Schlein, and that was 43-38 with two heats to go.
However, Bees refused to give in and for a time held an unexpected 5-1 position in Heat 14 with Fisher riding a stormer - and although Woodward managed to make his way past Parker for second, the more experienced Australian still took the big third place which kept the team in with a chance in the last race.
But it was still going to be a tough task against Nicholls and Richardson, and with a 5-1 the only requirement from the race. Bees had come close away from home on several occasions this season only to fall short at the final hurdle - but this time was different.
Bees won the toss, took gates one and three, and Andersen and Harris scorched out of the traps to lead a hard-charging Nicholls for the entire race, Nicholls at one stage making a determined move inside Harris going into turn one but being repelled in style by his successor as Coventry captain.
There were celebrations from the rest of the patched-up team as the Bees pair crossed the line, and celebrations too from the supporters whose long journey had been more than worthwhile - and Bees are now firm favourites to avoid that unwanted bottom two position after a night when, for once this season, it did go right!
EASTBOURNE 46 Scott Nicholls 3 3 3 3 1 = 13 Lewis Bridger 1 1 3 2* = 7+1 Lee Richardson 3 2 1* 3 0 = 9+1 Cameron Woodward 1 1* 2 2 = 6+1 Edward Kennett 3 3 1 1 = 8 Tomas Suchanek 0 0 0 = 0 James Brundle 1 1 1 0 0 = 3
BUILDBASE BEES 47 Hans Andersen 2 3 6^ 2 3 = 16 Simon Stead Rider Replacement Chris Harris 2 2 X 2* 2 2* = 10+2 Shane Parker 0 1* 1 1 = 3+1 Rory Schlein 2 2 2 3 0 = 9 Ryan Fisher 0 3 X F M 1* 3 = 7+1 Joe Haines 2* 0 0 0 = 2+1