Louis injured as Witches crash

Belle Vue 53 Ipswich 40KO Cup first round, first legIPSWICH co-promoter Chris Louis missed most of this Elite League KO Cup first round first leg in Manchester last night after a freak accident before the start.

Belle Vue 53 Ipswich 40

KO Cup first round, first leg

IPSWICH co-promoter Chris Louis missed most of this Elite League KO Cup first round first leg in Manchester last night after a freak accident before the start.

Louis suffered a badly-cut finger while working on Morten Risager's chain in the pits and had to be taken to hospital for stitches after the second race following treatment by paramedics at the track.

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In his absence, the Witches put up a fighting performance but will have to overcome a 13-point deficit in the second leg at Foxhall on May 28 to book a quarter final place against Poole.

They had no answer to former grand prix star Krzysztof Kasprzak, who completed his first maximum for Belle Vue by passing Ipswich number one Jarek Hampel on the run to the line in the final race.

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The Witches had got off to the worst possible start, conceding a 5-1 in the first race after Risager lifted on the back straight while second and was passed by James Wright, who joined the fast starting Kasprzak at the front.

A home 4-2 in the reserves' race was reversed by the Witches in heat three, although Daniel King and Toby Kroner were on a 5-1 until Kroner was passed by Aces' skipper Charlie Gjedde at the start of the second lap.

Ipswich pulled back another two points in heat five despite Gjedde taking Hampel wide on the first bend. The Pole recovered to quickly take the lead down the back straight, with Risager third.

It looked good again for the visitors in the next race when Piotr Swiderski led from the tapes but at the start of the third lap he was passed on the outside by Kasprzak and yards later on the inside by Wright as the Witches conceded a 5-1.

Skipper King was excluded from heat seven for touching the tapes but reserve replacement Carl Wilkinson came second in a shared race.

Risager rounded the previously unbeaten Wright - denying him his maximum - on the third turn in heat eight and Wilkinson's third restricted the arrears to 26-22.

Swiderski was disqualified from the ninth heat after he was ruled to have caused team mate Dawid Stachyra to fall on the first bend.

In the re-run, Stachyra gated and led up to the start of the final lap, when Gjedde rounded him and he was also passed by Henning Bager down the back straight.

A second successive 5-1 for the Aces in heat 10 put them 12 points ahead and Hampel was nominated for a tactical ride in heat 11.

The Pole won that comfortably and Risager's third place gave the Witches what could be a crucial 7-2 advantage.

Belle Vue eased away again with four-twos in the last three heats but the tie is still up for grabs.

Belle Vue scorers: K Kasprzak 15, J Wright 8+3, C Gjedde 11, H Bager 3+2, U Ostergaard 9, J Grajczonek 3, P Hougaard 4.

Ipswich: J Hempel 12, M Risager 5, T Kroner 5+1, D King 6, P Swiderski 4+1, D Stachyra 1, C Wilkinson 7.

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