Bees get off the mark in Elite League.
COVENTRY Buildbase Bees dug in and showed terrific character to record their first win of the Elite League season in a tough contest at Brandon last night.
As expected, the fast-gating Ipswich team put the Bees under early pressure and Coventry's cause was not helped when reserve Andreas Messing was taken to hospital after a clash with Ipswich guest Shaun Tacey in Heat 2.
The two rides collided as they exited the fourth bend and Messing was sent over the rear of his machine, causing some concern over his neck amongst the medical staff.
Tacey was excluded, but Messing's withdrawal still meant the Witches took the lead on the night - and it left Stanislaw Burza taking seven rides for the Bees.
Burza turned out to be a hero later in the meeting, as did winter signing Simon Stead, but there was an uncomfortable first half of the match for the home side first with the Witches threatening an away win.
Chris Harris and Billy Janniro collected a rousing 5-1 in Heat 3 to put Coventry ahead, but the same pairing were on the wrong end of a shock reverse two heats later, when they were outgated by Robert Miskowiak and Piotr Swiderski and could find no way through.
With Ipswich one point to the good, there was then a succession of shared races with Jarek Hampel, in the Witches team on a fiveyear old 6.23 average, showing his Grand Prix form to win his first two rides.
Hampel was finally beaten in Heat 9 thanks to a brilliant ride by Janniro to force him aside at the end of the second lap, but that was a damage limitation move as Harris had already fallen on the third bend to gift Tacey a point.
Heat 10 saw the meeting turn back in the Bees' favour with Rory Schlein, who has been low on confidence of late, making a terrific start to lead and the value-for-money Olly Allen held Steve Johnston and Chris Louis at bay for the vital second spot.
And then it was Burza who stepped up to the plate by holding Miskowiak off for a crucial third in Heat 11, and then incredibly combining with Harris for a match-changing maximum over Louis in the next.
Stead then showed exactly why the Bees signed him over the winter by swooping around Hampel at the end of the first lap in Heat 13, and Ipswich's last throw of the dice backfired when ex-Bees man Johnston ran a last place in the penultimate heat when on a tactical ride.
Allen, fully deserving his Heat 15 nomination after a great display, then put the icing on the cake for Bees with a last-race 5-1 with Stead to round off an excellent second half of the meeting, and one which should give their confidence a massive boost after Monday's setback against Eastbourne.
BUILDBASE BEES: Simon Stead 13+1, Olly Allen 12+1, Stanislaw Burza 9+3, Billy Janniro 8+1, Rory Schlein 5+1, Chris Harris 5+1, Andreas Messing 0.
IPSWICH: Piotr Swiderski 10+1, Jarek Hampel 10, Tobias Kroner 6, Robert Miskowiak 4+1, Steve Johnston 3+1, Chris Louis 3, Shaun Tacey 1+1.
GOOD MOVE... Simon Stead showed why Bees took him on over the winter