||Last Updated: Mar 11th, 2016 - 18:20:00
The new 2016 Cycle Speedway raced into action at Hearsall Common last Sunday afternoon and Coventry heralded in their new Elite League era by romping to a convincing 97-82 against a spirited Norwich side in a challenge match.
After weeks of rain, and overnight frost, extremely heavy conditions greeted the two teams as they also battled against the chilling cold. Both teams made the best of it, with the match producing some spectacular action, and raced in a friendly sporting manner.
The Norfolk side were bolstered by two Birmingham heat leaders, including World number 2 Chris Timms, in their ranks to provide a competitive match. Just 20 minutes before the off, Coventry lost brilliant young prospect Jake Slatter, who was taken ill.
Norwich produced a shock in heat 1, by taking maximum points with guest rider Timms to the fore. It was not long before Coventry levelled the scores, before forging ahead.
The outstanding Dominik Rycharski was in electrifying form for Coventry. Now in his tenth season at the club, the Polish multi world finalist made several superb passes from the back.
He then showed his all-round game by brilliantly gating across Timms, from the outside grid, to post yet another heat win as Coventry slowly pulled ahead.
Coventry`s Great Britain star Myke Grimes also started the season in fine style. He majestically burst around the outside on two occasions as Coventry pressed home their advantage.
Norwich did close the gap early in the second period but the home side immediately restored their dominance. The Bobby McMillan and Dan Drewett partnership scored maximum points as Coventry extended their lead.
The best races of the afternoon were between Coventry`s teenage star Kyle Roberts and World runner-up Timms. In two pulsating duels, Roberts came out on top but Timms sportingly offered his hand of congratulations on both occasions.
The visitors tried hard to the end but in the final analysis, Coventry`s top four riders were simply too outstanding. It was an excellent workout and the tough going will have given both teams a fitness boost.
Coventry point scorers: Domini Rycharski 19, Myke Grimes 18, Bobby McMillan 17 Kyle Roberts 17, Dan Drewett 12, Matt Hambridge 5, Ollie Morris 5 and Sammi Marsh 4.
The two teams resume their early season preparations by racing a return challenge match this Sunday in Norfolk. With Myke Grimes unavailable due to a coaching course, Coventry make use of the challenge match status by drafting in Australian star Cordy Chadwick as a replacement.
Coventry are next in action on Sunday 3rd April, when they play host to Ipswich in the first Elite League match of the current era at Hearsall Common. The host club will be pulling out all the stops to make it a day to remember. The tapes will rise at 2pm.
They will be further local action two days later, when the Brandon Bees entertain Leicester in a Midland League junior challenge on Tuesday 5th April. The match will take place at Bretford Playing Fields at 7.15pm.
Coventry are continuing their appeal for more volunteers to help maintain the Brandon track and to organize matches at the venue. More volunteers have been recruited recently. Interested parties should email Pauline Stuart at: csccoventry [at] hotmail.co.uk
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