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SPEEDWAY: The vikings are coming; CUP CRUNCH FOR BEES.

Byline: MIKE BERRY

THE Victor Chandler Bees aim to repel a Viking invasion at Brandon tonight.

They need both victory and the aggregate bonus point against Premier League visitors Hull Vikings to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the British League Cup.

The five group winners and the three best runners-up make up the last eight, and Bees, currently second behind section leaders Sheffield, need to overturn their recent 47-43 defeat at Hull to stand a chance of progressing in the competition.

American skipper Billy Hamill is missing on a compulsory racing return to the States, and neither Andreas Jonsson nor Lee Richardson are available to replace him. Jonsson rides in tonight's Slovenian Grand Prix at Krsko while Richardson is still sidelined after aborting his comeback from a broken collarbone at Poole in midweek. He could be missing for another three weeks.

With Scott James also injured, Bees boss Colin Pratt has therefore had to recruit two Conference League riders as replacements, with Wolverhampton's Graham Jones filling in for Hamill and Bees junior Carl Downs coming in for James.

Downs also rides in tonight's Bob Tanser Memorial Trophy second half event after returning to the track following a brief spell in 'retirement'.

Hull include former Coventry favourite Shaun Tacey, who rode for Bees between 1994 and 1996, and again between 1998 and 2000. Bjorn G. Hansen, Hull's new Swedish rider who is on Oxford's asset base, has made a successful start to life with the Vikings and could pose a big threat to Coventry's hopes of maintaining their 100 per cent home record in the competition.

The turnstiles open early this evening at 5.30pm to allow fans to watch the Grand Prix from Slovenia in the Brandon bars. The GP coverage starts at 6pm.

Coventry: Stuart Robson, Jason Bunyan, Ryan Fisher, Graham Jones, Billy Janniro, Carl Downs, Richard Hall

Hull: Garry Stead, Shaun Tacey, Bjorn G. Hansen, Simon Cartwright, Paul Thorp, Benji Compton, Barrie Evans
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 12, 2003
Words:330
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