Bees sting Witches

Coventry Bees 49 Ipswich Witches 41DESPITE their former World Champion Billy Hamill scoring only five of their points Bees had the necessary sting in their tail to see off the Witches challenge in this Elite League clash at Brandon on Saturday evening.

Coventry Bees 49 Ipswich Witches 41

DESPITE their former World Champion Billy Hamill scoring only five of their points Bees had the necessary sting in their tail to see off the Witches challenge in this Elite League clash at Brandon on Saturday evening.

With Coventry in the top half of the table struggling Ipswich were maybe not expected to prove too strong an opposition, but to their credit they made the home side work hard for the points.

They hung in there for most of the meeting, only slipping away when what little dirt there was available moved to the outside.

This favoured the brave and there was non braver than Stuart Robson who proved match winner for the Bees, in the penultimate heat, when he passed Leigh Lanham and Craig Boyce to take the checkered flag.

Ipswich received a late boost with Scott Nicholls declaring himself fit to ride, albeit with a fibre glass boot protecting his broke left ankle.

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It was only three weeks since he sustained the injury in the Slovenian Grand Prix and he must have been wary of damaging it further, but you would never have known, that such was his committed performance to the Witches cause.

His return started badly when he was excluded from his first ride, after Andre Compton fell, but he then reeled off four straight wins before finishing second to home star Andreas Jonsson in the final heat, by which time victory was out of reach.

While the Bees scored solidly throughout Ipswich were virtually a four man side.

They used riders replacement for still injured Joonas Kylmakorpi and this accrued just two points, when Craig Boyce came in as a tactical substitute.

Jeremy Doncaster was disappointing, failing to score, while Newcastle Davey Watt, guesting for Chris Slabon, scored just two points.

Slabon was racing in a World Under 21 qualifying round alongside Jarek Hampel. His place was taken by Peterborough's Sam Tesar, who looked to be an astute choice of guest when he raced to victory in his first two heats, before falling away as the track conditions changed.

Leigh Lanham enjoyed his best Witches meeting for a while, being paid for nine points from the floating reserve position, while Craig Boyce blew hot and cold during his nine point total.

Tesar raced to victory in heat one before Bees guest Compton won the Reserves heat from Langham and a hard chasing Robson. Lee Richardson chased Craig Boyce hard for a couple of laps in heat three before falling away.

Then came Nicholls exclusion in heat four. The Witches man was slow away but he cut back coming out of the second bend on the first lap, clipping Compton as he went past.

In the re-run Andreas Jonsson raced to victory ahead of Watt.

Tesar was passed by Thomas Topinka briefly in heat five but the Witches guest kept the throttle on to race hard underneath him going into the third bend, before racing away.

Ipswich pulled level with an excellent 5-1 in the sixth, courtesy of Nicholls and Lanham, who was chased hard by Billy Janniro for most of the race, Hamill struggling at the back.

Heat seven saw the best race of the night when Jonsson roared around the outside of Craig Boyce as if he was standing still. Robson then set after the Australian for the remainder just pipping him with inches to spare on the line.

Heat eight saw a reserve change by the Witches with Lanham coming in and finishing second, although he couldn't get near Janniro as the Witches went six behind.

Tesar was brought in as a tactical in the next and it looked good for a while with him following Nicholls for a couple of laps before Richardson found his way past.

Boyce held off the early challenge of Janniro to race away in the tenth, with Hamill then taking up the challenge but never getting close as the Witches went to the interval four down.

That was increased to six again in the 11th when Jonsson easily won from Tesar with Doncaster tailing off at the back for his fourth no score.

Nicholls came in as a tactical in heat 12 and duly won, but with team mate Boyce finishing last the visitors were still trailing by six.

Boyce had been taken out by Compton on the first corner but recovered to go third, passing Richardson but was then repassed by the Coventry man.

In heat 13 Nicholls became the first rider to beat Jonsson but Tesar was stranded at the back as the home side stayed six to the good.

Then came Robson's heroics in heat 14 before Jonsson defeated Nicholls in the 15th.

After a solid performance on his return to the saddle Scott Nicholls admitted that his injury has been playing on his mind throughout the meeting. He said: "I was very wary of putting any weight on my ankle as I didn't want to knock it, but as the meeting went on I settled down and started to gain confidence.

"I was also very tired after sitting around for the last couple of weeks as I am not usually one to take it easy and prefer to keep myself busy.

"In heat four the decision was really a 50/50 for the referee. I missed the start and had to cut back but as I went under Andrea coming out of the second bend he was coming across from the outside and we kind of met in the middle, I think it was unfair to exclude me but then it would have been unfair to exclude him also."

LEIGH LANGHAM:" I was racing with a new pair of handle bars tonight and I think these suited me.

"They are designed to keep your weight forward and all the GP boys seem to be using them as they give you less chance of lift when you sit back on the bike.

"I found it very tiring though, as the change of position on the bike affected my arms with the amount of rides that I had early in the meeting."

CRAIG BOYCE: "I am still struggling to get my confidence back after my crash as Newport recently, although I am starting to feel better on the bike.

"I kept changing my bikes tonight as while one seemed too powerful the other was not powerful enough."

STUART ROBSON: "I am pleased with how my night went and as the track got slicker on the inside it seemed to play into my hands giving me plenty of opportunities to go in search of drive."

DAVEY WATT: "I didn't think I did too bad tonight. By the time I got my set up it was a little too late but I enjoyed riding round here as along with Poole I think it is one of the best tracks in the country.

"I have been guesting in the Elite League a fair bit and will decide at the end of the year if I want to step up.

"I have not received any firm offers but I have had a few enquiries."

SAM TESAR: "I was pleased with how I went tonight, I scored about what I would normally do round here.

"It started off well but when the track slickened off my engine didn't like it and I may be should have swapped bikes like Boycie."

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