BEES began the 2015 season with a 63-27 thumping on the road at Leicester on the first leg of their East Midlands Bowl meeting.
Very little went according to plan for Gary Havelock’s side at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium on Sunday afternoon as they came up against a Lions side who will be hard to beat at home in the Elite League this season.
Bees were always going to be somewhat on the back foot with the absence of No.1 Hans Andersen due to family reasons, and the rider-replacement facility for the Dane was worth just two points, which clearly widened the margin between the teams.
A series of falls and mechanical problems also cost Bees points, starting when James Sarjeant came to grief when third in Heat 2, whilst Jakub Jamrog crashed out of second spot on the fourth bend in Heat 4.
Jason Garrity was next to hit the deck as he got out of shape on turn two in Heat 5, whilst the gremlins struck Stuart Robson, who twice retired from races, and Jamrog who also suffered a breakdown.
Leicester had few such problems and there were impressive debuts from Mikkel Michelsen and Szymon Wozniak in particular, whilst Jason Doyle eased to a five-ride paid maximum and Josh Auty was unbeaten from four outings.
The general story was that the Lions were far sharper from the starts, and the only real exception came when Danny King collected a race win for the Bees in Heat 3, their sole success of the day, with a good ride from the outside.
Havelock said: “It was a meeting to blow the cobwebs away although obviously it would have been nice to put on a better show for the fans who came here.
“It’s always difficult starting away from home, whether it’s a challenge match or not, and it will definitely be a different story on Friday. We’ll bounce back, and we certainly want to start off with a win at home.”