CLUB NEWS: Coventry enjoying early success

Coventry Cycle Speedway team raced to one of their best ever victories in their history by beating south coast glamour club Poole 106-92 in a thrilling Elite League encounter last Sunday in Dorset.

It was Coventry`s first ever Elite League away win, their first ever win at Poole in forty years and the victory sees Coventry top the early season Elite League table with two wins from two.

In fine sunny weather, a large seaside crowd assembled at the superbly appointed Poole venue. The early heats were fraught with tension, with both sides riding tactically in the early exchanges.

The home side, strengthened with the late addition of two world class Polish stars, provided the first man home in the opening three heats. Australian Bobby McMillan was Coventry`s first heat winner in heat 4.

Teenage whiz kid Mason Phillips, showing a new found gating prowess, powered to the front in heat 5 for Coventry but teammate Ben Higham, despite four laps of intense pressure was shut out at the back. Skipper Myke Grimes took heat 6 for Coventry.

Two points down entering heat 7, Coventry`s Polish world junior number two Michal Sassek brilliantly executed a wonder pass on the Poole number 1, and took teammate Jake Read with him, as Coventry took the lead for the first time.

Heat 10 from Poole v Coventry. Photo by Ray Andrews.

Heat 10 from Poole v Coventry. Photo by Ray Andrews.

Controversy reigned in heat 10 – the half way point – when Phillips and Grimes were set for maximum points, when a power charge overtaking manoeuvre by a Poole opponent sent the Coventry skipper into Phillips’s back wheel, leaving Poole to reverse the score and referee Dave Dart – who had an excellent match – ruling against the Coventry protests.

This seemed to galvanize Coventry after the break and big guns Sassek, Grimes and McMillan won the next three heats. Aided by tape exclusions to the home side, Coventry were soon asserting dominance.

Michael Baldock won his first ever heat for Coventry in heat 15 and with partner Read taking second, Coventry were 80-69 ahead with four heats to race.

McMillan, enjoying a purple patch, and Grimes then took heat 16. The Hearsall Common men wrapped up the Elite League points with another maximum from the Sassek and Higham pairing in heat 18.

Coventry's Man of the Match, Mason Phillips. Photo by Ray Andrews.

Coventry’s Man of the Match, Mason Phillips. Photo by Ray Andrews.

It was an outstanding day for Coventry but team manager Lee Marsh warned of tougher battles ahead. He said: “We were terrific today, especially without our top rider, Andy Angell. All the team played their part and we must thank the Poole club for such an enjoyable day.

“We face tough challenges ahead but we are on course with our objective to provide a competitive Coventry Elite League side. The season has started brightly for us but we have yet to face top teams like Horspath (Oxford) and the mighty Wednesfield Aces”.

Coventry point scores:

Bobby McMillan 23, Michal Sassek 18, Myke Grimes 15, Mason Phillips 11, Jake Read 10, Ben Higham 10, Chris Parish 9, Mike Baldock 9 and Dan Drewett 1.

Coventry`s next Elite League match is away at Wednesfield Aces on Sunday 15th May.