Bees too hot to handle
COVENTRY proved too hot for Ipswich Witches to handle in last night's Elite League speedway meeting at Foxhall Stadium.It was the Suffolk club's sixth home defeat of a disappointing year, although they put up a plucky fight against a Bees side that has now confirmed a top two finish - with home advantage in the play-off semi-finals.
By Elvin King
COVENTRY proved too hot for Ipswich Witches to handle in last night's Elite League speedway meeting at Foxhall Stadium.
It was the Suffolk club's sixth home defeat of a disappointing year, although they put up a plucky fight against a Bees side that has now confirmed a top two finish - with home advantage in the play-off semi-finals.
The Ipswich defeat was no great surprise such is the gulf between the top and bottom of the league.
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Coventry have now won their last 15 league meetings - an Elite League record - and eight of these have been away from Brandon, which is also a record.
With Grand Prix stars Scott Nicholls and Chris Harris leading the way and the rest of the side having sky-high confidence, Coventry are a considerable force right down their order.
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The Witches, who now have five league meetings to ride, were seeking points in their quest to overtake Eastbourne and Reading - third and fourth from bottom respectively.
But as hard as they tried on another eventful and exciting night of speedway the outcome was never seriously in question with Coventry victorious four times out of four against the Witches this season.
Nicholls started in expected style with a comfortable tapes to chequered flag victory, with re-juvenated American Janniro holding off a determined challenge by Tobi Kroner for the opening two circuits.
Marcin Rempala carried on his good form from the previous Foxhall meeting with a faultless heat two win, but Zibi Suchecki had to give second best to a pair of buzzing Bees with both Janniro and Steve Johnston forcing their way through.
Kroner made the best break in race three, but was overhauled by GP surprise packet Harris on the third lap. At the same time Chris Louis, who was pushed wide on the first turn, was overtaking Martin Smolinski for the second drawn heat running.
Heat four was another 3-3 with Robert Miskowiak winning his battle at the back with Johnston in a race won by Rory Schlein.
Coventry made it four race winners in the opening five heats when Nicholls gated and then held off Louis' challenge with Smolinski finding a way beyond Kroner for third place to stretch the Bees' lead to six points.
But Ipswich were in no mood to wave the white flag, and Miskowiak made a lightning start to win heat six and earn the Witches their first heat advantage thanks to Kim Jansson holding off Janniro for third place.
Miskowiak did not have such good fortune in his next outing when he found himself close to the first bend air fence. He was left trailing and unable to make up any ground as the Bees flew to their second 5-1 of the night to open up an eight-point lead.
This was extended to 10 points in the following race when Schlein took a rider replacement outing to chalk up three points and Johnston went beyond Jansson on the second lap for third place.
With Louis wearing the black and white helmet colour to signify he was riding for double points in heat nine there was a prolonged problem with the starting gate.
It took the combined efforts of most of the stadium crew to get everything back in working order with Louis then missing the start and having to set about chasing the two Coventry men.
He went beyond Schlein with little trouble and was battling on the inside of Janniro when the American lost control and hurtled off into the first bend fence.
It was certainly not a cut and dried decision, but Louis was riding hard but fair and he would have been unlucky to have been excluded.
Janniro was soon back on his feet, but out of the re-run where Louis went around Schlein on the first two bends to earn a fine 8-1 with Kroner.
Heat ten took three attempts to get going with Smolinski taking a sliding tumble at go number two when Ipswich were in a 5-1 situation. All four riders were allowed back both times with Louis making a sweet pass on Smolinski coming out of the fourth bend of lap three to take the chequered flag.
Janniro looked to have a rolling start to follow home Nicholls in heat 11 before Harris had little difficulty winning heat 12.
Miskowiak denied Nicholls a maximum in heat 13 when no points for Suchecki meant the rider replacement facility for the injured Jesper B Jensen accrued seven points. Coventry gained a paid 10 points from the same facility for Oliver Allen.
Kroner won heat 14 in style and was nominated in heat 15 where Louis took advantage of a tiny slip-up by Schlein to grab second place on the final circuit after team riding from Schlein and Harris.