CHRIS Harris has praised his Coventry Bees team-mates for their battling display as they came agonisingly close to an Elite League point losing but lost out 42-50 at Belle Vue on Bank Holiday Monday, writes Observer speedway reporter Robin Allen.
Bees’ first trip to the National Speedway Stadium produced a meeting high on excitement but ultimately an early 14-point deficit proved too much to overcome despite their best efforts following a brave fightback late into the meeting.
“It was a hard day for me, but as a team the boys fought back well from being 16 points down at one stage,” said Harris “Jason (Garrity) was probably our man of the match, he had some fantastic rides against some good riders.
“When we were so many points down we had a couple of talks and fired the boys up, Sarj (James Sarjeant) had some good races and it was nice to see Kacper score a few after the week he’s had.
“I bought a fairly strong engine from having been here before guesting for Swindon, but I felt like I was lacking some speed. No excuses, though, they were quick out of the start, and the track is a fantastic shape for racing.”
The Aces were 19-5 up after four races thanks to a combination of fast starts and a remarkable ride by Steve Worrall to pass both Bees guests Ashley Morris and James Sarjeant after being handicapped 15-metres for touching the tapes.
The spectacular Jason Garrity picked up four points on a tactical ride in Heat 5, headed by Max Fricke, and a 4-2 followed in Heat 6 with Krzysztof Kasprzak out-front and Chris Harris third after a frantic scrap with Scott Nicholls.
Belle Vue re-asserted control with a 5-1 and 4-2 in the next two races – the latter seeing Garrity and the Worrall brothers engaged in a dramatic three-way battle – and that left them 33-17 up after eight heats.
At that point, the Bees mounted their comeback, firstly with Sarjeant making a fast start in Heat 9 and being joined up-front by Morris for a 5-1 over Joe Jacobs and a slowing Fricke.
Garrity then superbly went from fourth to second, passing both Craig Cook and Nicholls, in Heat 10 to join Kasprzak for a 5-1 which narrowed the gap to eight points.
Danny King won Heat 11 as Fricke and Matej Zagar combined to swamp Harris off the fourth bend as the Aces stemmed the tide, and they edged two further points ahead with a 4-2 in the second reserves’ race.
That became more significant after Bees slammed in a big 5-1 from Heat 13 as Harris led from the front and Kasprzak overhauled Zagar and Cook on successive laps, leaving the score at 43-37 with two heats to go.
The Aces secured victory on the day in Heat 14 with Nicholls holding off a strong challenge from King, whilst Morris unluckily hit trouble at the end of the first lap which allowed Richie Worrall through.
That left Bees needing a heat-advantage from the last race for a league point, but Zagar took the lead for the home side whilst Kasprzak and Harris battled with Nicholls, and although Kasprzak established himself in second spot he just ran out of time to make the pass on the Aces number-one.