Elite League: Coventry Bees 52, King’s Lynn Stars 38
- Credit: Matthew Usher
King's Lynn were unable to strengthen their position at the top of the Elite League table as they were beaten at Coventry last night.
A controversial meeting, including a dispute over the Bees' line-up and issues over the track, suddenly turned against the Stars with a sequence of mid-match falls and mechanical issues conspiring against them.
Former Coventry rider Scott Nicholls was guesting for the injured Niels-Kristian Iversen, and Lynn found themselves racing a five-man team from even before the start as they successfully protested the inclusion of Luke Priest at reserve.
Priest had been due to replace Jason Garrity, but was not on the Fast Track Draft List, whereas Stars youngster Tom Stokes had been added to the list earlier in the week and was therefore eligible to replace the unavailable Simon Lambert.
When the action finally got underway, Lynn were strong favourites and provided winners in three of the first four, races with Kenneth Bjerre looking impressive. Two of those heats resulted in 4-2s, with Rory Schlein given a tough battle by home reserve James Sarjeant for third place in heat three.
The top home pairing of Hans Andersen and Chris Harris levelled the scores in the fifth heat, and the Stars were suddenly under pressure when Schlein inexplicably fell on the last bend of heat six when leading and Lewis Kerr also came to grief in the next race.
With the gap at six points and a patchy first bend causing problems, Lynn suffered disaster in heat 10 when Schlein fell lap and Nicholls ground to a halt in the re-run.
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A tactical ride for Bjerre in the 11th failed to have the desired result as Harris took the win for Coventry, and the Stars riders contrived to finish in the wrong order to only take a 4-3 rather than a 5-3.
The home side had momentum on their side and guest Stuart Robson held Robert Lambert at bay in heat 12 before Harris produced a remarkable ride to go around Bjerre on the last lap of the next heat to secure victory. Lynn were left trying to rescue a point and Kerr kept them in with a chance by winning heat 14 with Porsing third, but Harris completed a six-ride maximum in the last race with Andersen in second for a 5-1.
Coventry (number of rides): Hans Andersen 10+2 (5), Stuart Robson 11+2 (5), Ben Barker r/r, Max Fricke 7+1 (5), Chris Harris 18 (6), no rider, James Sarjeant 6+1 (5).
King's Lynn: Kenneth Bjerre 8+1 (5), Robert Lambert 5 (4), Scott Nicholls 5 (4), Nicklas Porsing 6 (4), Rory Schlein 2+1 (5), Lewis Kerr 9+1 (5), Tom Stokes 3+1 (3).