In one of the best matches ever seen at Hearsall Common last Sunday afternoon, Coventry downed Poole Comets 111-86 in spectacular style to return to equal top of the Elite League.
In a brilliant advert for the sport, the first match between the two clubs in Coventry for three decades produced a classic encounter. Race after race was full of wheel to wheel racing, electrifying action and some fearsome bone-jarring crashes.
The Hersall Common track and surrounds looked at its pristine best as the two teams took the parade lap. All of Coventry`s hard work in the week preceding the fixture paid off, with enhanced track watering, extra catering and the provision of onsite toilets all helping to swell to crowd.
Heat one set the scene for a terrific match. Three times British champion Andy Angell stalked his Poole opponent from the tapes but the super fit Coventry number one soon hit the front to loud applause from the crowd.
The following two heats were shared before Angell again took centre stage in heat 4. The muscular Angell, back to his brilliant best, thundered under the Poole number one on lap three to register another exciting race win.
In heat 6, more success followed for the home side. Coventry`s `northern powerhouse` pairing of Ben Higham and Jake Read teamed up superbly to race away for Coventry`s first maximum heat win of the day.
Twice in the early heats, Coventry`s Great Britain star Myke Grimes was sent crashing to the ground as the two teams went head to head in the physical exchanges. This included Grimes crashing head first into the safety fence, leaving spectators dashing for cover.
Higham, in tremendous form, then teamed up with teenage hotshot Adam Watson in heat 10, as Coventry continued in the ascendancy to reach half time, heat 10, 58 to 40 points to the good.
A truly brilliant race opened the second period. Diminutive Pole Dominik Rycharski, enjoying his best Elite League match of the season, superbly squeezed through both Poole riders in the narrowest of gaps (see picture), to race away for a spectacular success.
Local hero Grimes, quicker than a greyhound from the traps, reeled off three wins and he, together with the robust Angell and speedy Rycharksi eventually saw Coventry to a comfortable victory in a superbly entertaining contest.
Post-match, Coventry team manager Lee Marsh said: “When we joined the Elite League, this was the kind of match we had hoped for at Hearsall Common. A home win, our banked track producing fantastic racing and our biggest turnout of the season.
“On track, our heat leaders were awesome today. Ben Higham showed he is moving into the top bracket of riders in the sport and it was good to see Jake Read and Chris Parish producing their best form of the season”.
Marsh concluded: “We are now back to joint top of the league but, as we knew before a wheel was turned pre-season, our problem was always going to be tracking our best team in every match. But we have made our mark big time and we have returned Coventry to one of the very top clubs in the sport”.
Coventry point scorers:
Dominik Rycharski 18, Myke Grimes 17, Andy Angell 15, Ben Higham 15, Jake Read 13, Chris Parish 11, Adam Watson 9 Michael Baldock 7 and Mason Phillips 6.
Myke Grimes will carry the Coventry colours in the European Finals, held at Poole this weekend. After three British Final appearances in recent seasons, Grimes is hoping to make his international individual breakthrough.
For more information on Coventry Cycle Speedway, please go to: www.coventrycyclespeedway.co.uk