Battling Witches maul league leaders

Ipswich Witches 51 Wolverhampton Wolves 40IPSWICH Witches turned on the style to beat Elite League leaders Wolverhampton at Foxhall Stadium.The home team got off to a good start, but the visitors were ahead after nine heats.

Ipswich Witches 51 Wolverhampton Wolves 40

IPSWICH Witches turned on the style to beat Elite League leaders Wolverhampton at Foxhall Stadium.

The home team got off to a good start, but the visitors were ahead after nine heats.

Ipswich then turned on the power in a full-blooded meeting and were six points ahead when the outcome was effectively decided by a long drawn-out heat 12 that saw three re-runs and both Wolves riders eventually excluded.

The 5-0 saw the Witches go 11 points ahead and when Piotr Swiderski beat tactical rider Fredrik Lindgren in heat 13 and Daniel King won heat 14 the fixtures was won with Ipswich taking a maximum three league points.

Ipswich were well served throughout their side while the visitors had no one to give consistent back-up to Lindgren.

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Morten Risager signed off his Witches loan with his highest score for the club, while Leigh Lanham did a few laps after the meeting to test his injured hand.

Ipswich got off to a fine start against top-of-the-table Wolves and were six points ahead after two heats.

Carl Wilkinson hit the deck on the first turn in the second race, but was allowed back into the re-run, and he sped away from the tapes to be followed home by emerging Pole Dawid Stachyra.

Hot property Tai Woffinden showed his class in the next race when he made the gate and then slowed coming out of the second bend to allow team-mate Adam Skornicki to catch up.

Woffinden then shepherded Skornicki round to claim a 5-1 for the visitors despite a determined effort by Daniel King to make in-roads into the Wolves pair.

Lindgren carried on his good form from last weekend's Czech Republic Grand Prix with a lightning start to win heat four with Wilkinson taking a tumble when last on the second lap.

King beat Peter Karlsson, who will be 40 in December and is back in British speedway this year, in the next race to help put Ipswich in front again. It was the fourth consecutive win from gate four.

Heat six was a cracker with Risager taking the lead down the back straight after a sweep round the outside of the first two bends. Lindgren passed Risager down the back straight on the third circuit, and when Jarek Hampel put some pressure on Hynek Stichauer on the final lap the Czech Republic rider lost control and careered into the second bend fence.

Wilkinson's machinery was playing up with a cracked frame and he came to a halt in race seven in a race won in style by Woffinden, a potential world champion and a rider recommended to the Witches by Perth-based former rider Nigel Flatman a few years ago.

The home side grabbed a 5-1 in race eight, which was just what the doctor ordered with the lively Risager again leading from the front and followed home by Stachyra.

Woffinden hit some extra dirt and lifted to go full blast into the first corner fence in heat 10 - and in the re-run Hampel won the race to the first bend to take the chequered flag ahead of Skornick which stretched Ipswich's lead to four points.

This was increased when Piotr Swiderski gated to beat Karlsson and Stachyra finished third ahead of the out-of-touch Nicolai Klindt, who went almost into the fence on the first turn.

Heat 12 took an age to complete. Stachyra took a nasty tumble on the entry to the first turn after making contact with Stichauer and needed time to recover for the re-run. Stachyra suffered another spill in the re-run with Stichauer being excluded this time for appearing to refuse to turn left.

When the race eventually began for a third time it was Woffinden's turn to hit the fence - the same spot he went headlong into two races earlier after trying to make a full throttle outside pass round Tobi Kroner.

It was some considerable time before the air fence was repaired, and the delayed heat had seen Ipswich effectively win the meeting, but taken some of the sparkle out of the occasion by the time Stachyra and Kroner went round for a 5-0 in the third re-run.

Lindgren rode for double points in heat 13 as Wolves were 11 points adrift, but Swiderski held him off superbly and with Hampel in third place the heat ended in a 4-4.

King won heat 14 from the tapes to confirm three league points for Ipswich, and the final race was shared.