FOUR heat advantages in the concluding five races stung Coventry Bees’ hopes of pulling off a dramatic win against the Poole Pirates on Wednesday night.
Bees were racing their second ‘challenge series’ fixture after the club were axed from the SGB Premiership just weeks before the season was due to start.
An ongoing off-track dispute between multiple parties continues to rumble on, leaving heartbroken Coventry fans without a SGB Premiership team to support.
However a series of challenge fixtures against Premiership teams are keeping Bees’ name in the spotlight – with the latest fixture taking place in Poole.
Bees welcomed 2010 Elite League title winning duo Chris Harris and Alun Rossiter to the side while Stefan Nielson came in to replace Kenneth Bjerre – who signed with Belle Vue Aces after Bees’ axe from the league.
On a clear night, Bees started the meeting promisingly as British Champion Danny King earned a tapes to flag victory in heat one ahead of Poole’s Jack Holder and Krzysztof Kasprzak.
Two race advantages in heats two and six handed Poole a four point advantage – a figure Pirates boss Neil Middleditch would have been pleased with after Lewis Kerr was involved in two heavy crashes.
Jason Garrity was in the thick of the action in heat seven when rounding Danish international Hans Andersen at the end of the first lap.
Andersen returned the favour just a lap later though as Garrity got held up by team mate Lasse Bjerre.
A shared heat eight was followed by Pirates’ third race advantage of the night in heat nine when Brady Kurtz earned his third win of the night while Kerr finished third.
Lasse Bjerre took the flag in heat ten to leave Bees just four points behind with five races remaining – and a shock away win still very much on the cards.
However the quality of Poole’s strong side shone through as Pirates picked up 20 points from the concluding five heats with wins for Hans Andersen, Lewis Kerr and Brady Kurtz – who completed his programmed rides unbeaten.
Despite the loss, Bees temporary manager Alun Rossiter said he enjoyed the night and added it was nice to return to Poole – a venue where Bees lifted the 2010 Elite League Championships.
He said: “It’s devastating to not have Coventry in the league this year.
“It’s a massive club. With the football not doing well and the speedway gone, it’s so disappointing.
“Hopefully something can be done to lift the spirits up there and get the track situation sorted out for next year.
“I know a lot of effort is being put in to keep the name alive, and it would be a travesty if it was lost.
“It does need to come back quickly, because nine times out of ten when tracks shut down they don’t come back.
“It would be so sad to see the demise of Coventry Bees – they’re such a big club, and they deserve better.”