Flying Witches win in style
Ipswich Witches 56Poole Pirates 37JOHN Louis was back in action at Foxhall Stadium last night as his 40th anniversary Ipswich Witches season comes to an end.
Ipswich Witches 56
Poole Pirates 37
JOHN Louis was back in action at Foxhall Stadium last night as his 40th anniversary Ipswich Witches season comes to an end.
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With regular team manager Pete Simmons out of action with a broken elbow sustained playing football at the weekend, Witches promoter Louis took over his duties assisted by Mike Smillie, who held the post for a decade up to the start of last season.
And just as he has been since his first laps in earnest around Foxhall back in 1970 Louis proved himself to be a winner in the Coastal Windows Cup challenge meeting.
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With Poole's top rider Bjarne Pedersen missing as he has just become a dad and 2010 Grand Prix qualifier Chris Holder given permission to take a rest, the visitors were always likely to be there for the taking - and from an early stage there was only going to be one winner on a night when speedway returned to the heath for the first time in five weeks.
Pirates and former Great Britain team manager Neil Middleditch was missing because of a dental problem, and Poole co-promoter Matt Ford took over the reins.
French rider Matieu Tresarrieu was making his Witches debut having ridden for former Ipswich promoter Dave Pavitt in the Premier League at the Isle of Wight in 2005. He did not have the best of luck in his first outing, spinning off on the first turn, before re-mounting and then hitting the deck again on the final circuit.
Poole were having a look at two 19-year-old Polish riders - Dawid Lampart and Artur Mroczka - and a 20-year-olld Czech, Matej Kus, with a view to next season.
Lampart led heat two for a lap and a quarter before spinning off - and then coming to grief again to cause heat two to also be awarded.
Kus, not surprisingly on his first visit to the tight Foxhall circuit, was left adrift in heat three as the home side stretched their lead to eight points.
Magnus Zetterstrom, who won the GP qualifying final at Coventry last month, has not been riding in Britain this year, but the Swede took no time to settle, winning heat four.
The Polish newcomers continued to struggle until Mroczka popped out to win heat eight in a race where former Witches No. 8 Steve Boxall rode for double points and came in third.
Tresarrieu earned a point in race six when Lampart again failed to last four laps, but the Frenchman had no answer to stopping Mroczka win the race.
Scott Nicholls won heat 10 by a country mile with Kus earning his first point of the night ahead of Tresarrieu, who had been unable to make too much of impression if the Ipswich management were considering him for next season.
It may only have been a challenge meeting, but Robert Miskowiak was not in the mood to relax and he had home fans on their feet in heat 11 when he re-took Hans Andersen on the second lap to hold on and beat the Dane who was riding for double points.
The reliable Carl Wilkinson passed Joe Screen in the next race as Ipswich increased their lead to 17 points with three races to go.
Former Witch Andersen gained his revenge on Miskowiak in race 13 when he also beat Nicholls to stop the home No. 1's hopes of completing a maximum.
Ipswich gained a 5-1 in the penultimate heat and the evening proved that their riders had not lost their Foxhall touch despite having been away from the place for so long.
Poole gained their only heat advantage without the involvement of a tactical rider in heat 15 when Andersen took the chequered flag and the best of the three young Poole trialists, Mroczka, beat Daniel King for third place.
The second leg takes place at Wimborne Road next Wednesday with Ipswich capable of holding on for an aggregate win if they repeat this form.
Ipswich: S Nicholls 13, M Tresarrieu 1, T Batchelor 10+1, D King 9+2, R Miskowiak 9+1, D Stachyra 7+1, C Wilkinson 7+3.
Poole: H Andersen 13, S Boxall 3+1, J Screen 6, M Kus 2+1, M Zetterstrom 8, D Lampert 0, A Mroczka 5.