MATCH REPORT: Coventry lose top spot following tough loss against dominant Horspath

Coventry Cycle Speedway couldn’t bounce back from an away defeat to Wednesfield several weeks ago as they lost 107-89 to Horspath in their latest Elite League fixture.

Still without Bobby McMillan, who’s spending time at home in Adelaide, Coventry drafted in northern youngster Adam Watson and also called upon Coventry-based Kyle Roberts, who raised his first Elite League match in Coventry colours.

Horspath welcomed Szymon Kowalczyk into their side while the usual suspects of Zac Payne, Mark Boaler and Lewis Osbourne also featured.

Horspath were boosted by the red hot form of number one Mark Carmichael – who produced three heat wins in his opening three rides.

Coventry, now known as the Sabres, failed to earn a race advantage in the opening half of the meeting as Horspath used their 1-9 solid structure to their strength by establishing an 11 point lead by heat nine.

Mark Carmichael was in fine form for the Hammers. Photo by Ray Andrews.

Mark Carmichael was in fine form for the Hammers. Photo by Ray Andrews.

Polish racer Michal Sassek impressed Coventry boss Lee Marsh – the Leszno based rider, who was rumoured to have broken his leg three weeks ago, reeled off a stunning 11 points from his opening three rides, and later secured a further three race wins.

Andy Angell may consider himself fortunate to not be excluded in heat 11 when sending Zac Payne to the fence – though the current British Champion redeemed himself in heat 14 with a pass on Chris Parish.

With Coventry desperately requiring heat advantages, the home side could only match the visitors as a series of exclusions eventually confirmed the inevitable.

Ben Higham rode a superb line in heat 17 to earn himself his first win of the afternoon – though Horspath dominated and ran out eventual winners by 16 points.

Coventry's Andy Angell and Horspath's Lukas Nowacki do battle behind Lewis Osbourne. Photo by Paul Devine.

Coventry’s Andy Angell and Horspath’s Lukas Nowacki do battle behind Lewis Osbourne. Photo by Paul Devine.

Post game, Coventry team manager Lee Marsh said: “We struggled today.

“It was a tough fixture but there are certainly positives to take from this afternoon – Michal rode superbly well and Myke also worked hard for four heat wins.

“Ben (Higham) produced a stunning ride in his final outing too – all we lacked was that consistency. The fact there was 11 shared heats in the meeting speaks for itself, we struggled for heat advantages.

“Nonetheless we’ll re-group and prepare for our next fixture away at Ipswich which will be just as hard if not more so.”

Dominik Rycharski 7, Myke Grimes 18, Andy Angell 8+1, Ben Higham 15+1, Jake Read 4+1, Michal Sassek 23, Chris Parish 6, Adam Watson 6+1, Kyle Roberts 2, Ollie Morris DNR

Mark Carmichael 17+1, Jake Neighbour 8, Lewis Osbourne 14+2, Lukasz Nowacki 17, Zac Payne 12+1, Szymon Kowalczyk 19, Chris Timms 10+1, Mark Boaler 10+2, Will Jeffery DNR