Wolves 51 Coventry Bees 39 - report and pictures

Tai Woffinden paid his own tribute to the Team GB Olympic effort by replicating Mo Farah’s Mobot salute on his lap of honour after victory over Coventry.

Tai Woffinden paid his own tribute to the Team GB Olympic effort by replicating Mo Farah’s Mobot salute on his lap of honour after victory over Coventry.

And just like the double gold medallist, Wolves timed their surge to the line immaculately after this Elite League derby had appeared to be in the balance.

See more pictures by clicking on the image on the right

That, as Bees fans will point out, was largely due to the concussion suffered by No.1 Chris Harris when he fell in heat 11 and inadvertently took Woffinden with him.

Harris, a brilliant performer at Monmore Green, had already posted a couple of fine wins but overcooked it in pursuit of the Wolves star and brought both to grief.

He was taken to hospital as a precaution – a decision announced, as irony would have it, minutes after the annual Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund collection had been taken.

Coventry, six adrift at the time and already without the injured Scott Nicholls, had nothing left to give in support of the excellent Kenni Larsen – who bravely took the initiative to win a heat nine in which all four riders plunged towards the third bend line abreast — and Wolves broke the 50-point mark for the first time since mid-June.

There was plenty of spark from Woffinden, who had dived between Harris and the pacy Aaron Summers to lead the ill-fated 11th, while Freddie Lindgren continued to look much more like the EL average-topper of old.

If new averages do force him to surrender his No.1 racejacket to Woffinden, the Swede won’t go down without a struggle.

Everyone chipped in through the home order, with Ricky Wells particularly worthy of note. There’s not an ounce of flash about the Kiwi-Californian, but the quiet way he has gone about establishing himself firmly in the one to five after his elevation from reserve has not gone unnoticed on the terraces and he was full value for his paid nine.

But arguably the most heartening sight for the home faithful was a big step towards his customary standard for Nicolai Klindt.

The Dane has struggled on his return from injury, but notched paid 10 and looked far more confident.

He’s always had the speed – only Lindgren and Harris clocked faster times than his heat 12 victory – but looked more at ease in the traffic and found the finishing kick. Just like Farah.

Klindt has blessed his decision to ride in Germany at the weekend.

He has lacked confidence after returning from a badly-broken shoulder, but took in a lower-key best pairs meeting at Gustrow in the hope of finding the winning spark.

It paid off handsomely, Klindt dropping just one point from six rides in partnering fellow-Dane Rasmus Jensen to the title, and the Wolves man clearly felt the benefit in last night’s win over Coventry.

“It was really good,” he said. “It was good to get some confidence there.

“Graham Jones (tuner) sorted out my engine (for Coventry) – it worked loads better, I had lots of power. I felt more comfortable on the bike, so it was great.

“When you don’t feel comfortable, it’s hard to relax when you’re riding. When you relax that’s when you’re at your best, not when you’re stiff like a stick on it.

“I’m back in my Swedish team (tonight), so hopefully I can get a few points there and be back again next week. Fingers crossed.”

* Dudley Heathens were today put through to the National League Knockout Cup final.

Their semi-final second leg match at the Isle of Wight was abandoned after six heats due to fog.

It appeared that Dudley – 34 up on aggregate at the time – would have to return another day to finish the job.

But the Islanders have now intimated that they do not wish to restage the fixture and Dudley were today confirmed as finalists.

They will face the winners of the Stoke/Mildenhall semi in a two-leg final on dates to be confirmed.