IPSWICH gave the Buildbase Bees some nervous moments in the first half of the meeting, but Coventry pulled clear and finished with a string of 5-1s on their way to an eighth straight Elite League victory.
After nine races, the Witches had actually recorded a majority of heat winners although Bees' overall supremacy was never in too much doubt and the last five heats saw the visitors fall away.
Both sides were forced into changes with Ipswich using No.8 Chris Schramm to cover for the injured Kim Jansson, whilst Jesper B Jensen also missed out with damaged ribs. Bees moved the rider replacement facility to Rory Schlein's rides after the Australian was ruled out with illness, and Belle Vue's Kevin Doolan was called up to stand in for the injured Olly Allen.
Doolan made an excellent start to his night as he and skipper Scott Nicholls out-trapped Witches' Robert Miskowiak in the first race, with Doolan riding well to hold the Pole back for a good 5-1 which looked even better as the meeting went on with Miskowiak in fine form.
Rising German star Tobias Kroner shot from the outside gate to take control of Heat 2 as neither Steve Johnston nor Billy Janniro were able to sustain a challenge, but Bees kept building their lead as Chris Harris won the next two races.
Harris did it from the start in Heat 3 as Martin Smolinski lined up and rounded Chris Louis coming off the fourth bend, although he was unable to make a similar move on the lively Zibi Suchecki. Heat 4, meanwhile, saw Harris out-trapped by Miskowiak but the Bees man went straight for the outside and made it onto the back straight in front, with Johnston comfortable in third spot.
Louis then showed a good turn of speed to gain revenge over Smolinski in Heat 5, which was shared, and in Heat 6 Miskowiak became the man to end Nicholls' winning run of eleven consecutive Elite League races. With Doolan forced out in a tight first turn, Marcin Rempala took third place to give the Witches their first heat advantage.
And the visitors very nearly backed that up with a 5-1 in Heat 7 with Louis and Suchecki doing almost everything to keep Harris behind them - until Suchecki went too wide on the exit of turn two at the start of the last lap. That gave Harris a route through on the inside, and with Louis' defences suddenly exposed a last-gasp effort from Harris on the outside only just failed to get him to the line in first place.
The Witches had trimmed the gap to four points, but Bees quickly moved it back to eight thanks to Doolan and Johnston's fast-starting in Heat 8 with Kroner unable to repeat the impact he had made in Heat 8. But Miskowiak was a thorn in Coventry's side again in Heat 9 with a race win over Smolinski and Doolan, who was taking the second of three consecutive rides.
Doolan finished with a last place after an eventful first lap in Heat 10 with Nicholls finding the drive to go around Suchecki on the back straight, and Louis cleverly cutting back under Doolan at the same time as several of the riders switched their lines. It was clear that Ipswich had used their stronger rider replacement options earlier in the meeting, and this became a factor in the last five races as Bees got a firm grip on the match. Suchecki was timed out of Heat 11 as he suffered problems when leaving the pits, and Kroner and Schramm could make no impression on Harris and Janniro, which extended the Coventry lead to 12 points.
Louis took the tactical ride in Heat 12 but this was destined to go disastrously wrong, after initially appearing encouraging when he appeared to have a fast run around Nicholls exiting turn two. Nicholls, though, had seen him covering and blocked the move - which allowed Johnston the chance to dive through on the inside with Louis having lost momentum. As Johnston went through, Louis went wide and came to a stop, and with double zero the result, any hope of a famous Witches comeback were over.
There was still time for Miskowiak to again upstage the Coventry heat-leaders as he produced an absolute rocket of a start from the outside in Heat 13 and then rode the fast line to keep Nicholls at bay, but Bees then finished with two 5-1s.
Heat 14 saw a terrific battle between Smolinski and compatriot Kroner, who held second place for two laps before Smolinski surged through on the inside having gone past Suchecki on lap one. Smolinski, in fact, ended up going from last to first as the king of the bonus points eased up on the last bend to add four more bonuses to the five he carded against Reading on Monday.
All eyes were on Miskowiak, again on the outside, in Heat 15, but this time it was Suchecki who made the start only to drift wide on turn two and be overhauled by both Nicholls and Harris as Coventry finished off in emphatic fashion.
COVENTRY 57 IPSWICH 33 Friday 17h August 2007 - Sky Sports Elite League 'A'
BUILDBASE BEES Scott Nicholls 3 2 3 3 2 3 = 16 Kevin Doolan 2* 0 3 1* 0 = 6+2 Rory Schlein R/R Martin Smolinski 1 2 2 3 = 8 Chris Harris 3 3 2 3 1* 2* =14+2 Billy Janniro 1* 1* R 2* 2* = 6+4 Steve Johnston 2 1 2* 2* = 7+2
EVENING STAR WITCHES Jesper B Jensen R/R Chris Schramm 0 0 1 0 = 1 Chris Louis 0 3 3 1* R^ = 7 1 Zibi Suchecki 2 1 2 M 0 1 = 6 Robert Miskowiak 1 2 3 3 3 0 = 12 Marcin Rempala 0 1 0 1 = 2 Tobias Kroner 3 0 0 1 0 1 = 5