Regal performance from brilliant Nicholls

WATCHED by the mayor, Ipswich Witches put in a regal performance to gain maximum points in yesterday afternoon’s Elite League fixture at Foxhall Stadium.

WATCHED by the mayor, Ipswich Witches put in a regal performance to gain maximum points in yesterday afternoon’s Elite League fixture at Foxhall Stadium.

Scott Nicholls roared to a last heat victory to send councillor David Goldsmith home happy and looking forward to a quick return.

Witches legend Tich Read was also in attendance and the rider who had them in raptures on the Foxhall terraces in the fifties is still sprightly aged 79.

Nicholls clocked up his first maximum of the season and lead from the front in an eventful meeting that earned the Suffolk side revenge for their defeat at the East of England Showground last Friday.

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And there is a chance that the Witches can still get something out of their away trip to Peterborough as the Panthers were on dangerous territory in riding Ulrich Ostergaard after re-declaring their one-to-seven and replacing him with Czech Ales Dryml.

Ipswich were unhappy in Ostergaard riding yesterday and referee Chris Gay, who had Dryml in his latest Peterborough one-to-seven, is to include this in his report.

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“We rode under protest without making it official,” said Witches team manager Pete Simmons. “We didn’t put our money up front, but the referee is aware of displeasure – and we could still gain a point or two from last Friday’s meeting if Ostergaard’s points are deducted, which we will be pushing for.

Peterborough insist that they reversed their original plan and reverted back to the one-to-seven they had last week.

On yesterday’s evidence there is not much wrong with the Ipswich side with their reserves making up for the loss of Olly Allen, who damaged his left wrist in the opening race.

Allen went to hospital for an x-ray with Ipswich’s next fixture at Lakeside on Friday.

Justin Sedgmen, who was joined at the bottom end of the Ipswich side by fellow young Australian teenage Hugh Skidmore, did a sterling job and the Birmingham Premier League rider looks an excellent prospect for the future.

Sedgmen came in for the injured Dawid Stachyra and had a busy time with Allen’s injury and taking no further part after gaining a point in the re-run of heat one.

It was an afternoon of dubious tactics by the visitors and leading to ironic cheers when Neils-Kristian Iversen touched the tapes at the start of the re-run of heat 13 as the meeting built up to its climax.

Troy Batchelor was forced off by Iversen when Ipswich were in a 5-1 position in the first attempt to complete heat 13 and made no attempt to get up until the referee was forced to stop the race.

Lewis Bridger had adopted what looked like similar tactics two races earlier when Sedgmen and Nicholls were on for a maximum. Bridger was fined by the referee.

Ipswich edged in front in heat four and managed to stretch this to 10 points with two heats left.

Kenneth Bjerre won heat 14 riding for double points in race 14, but Nicholls’ noble efforts in the final race ensured it was an enjoyable Bank Holiday afternoon for the Witches despite a couple of rather heavy showers during the meeting.

Former Witches number eight and current Redcar rider Jan Graversen came in for injured Pole Krzysztof Buczkowski at the bottom end for the visitors and failed to trouble the scorers after beating Sheffield’s Skidmore in heat two.

Councillor Goldsmith, who was accompanied by his wife and mayoress Sue, said: “It’s my first time at speedway for 45 years and I wouldn’t have missed it.

“The skill levels are very good and the riders need to show their bravery every race.”

Read, who now lives in north Norfolk said: “The widened track provides better racing with the public wanting to see passes.

“I enjoyed some good days at Foxhall and still like watching speedway on TV.

I’m glad the meeting didn’t overrun any more as I wanted to get home for last night’s 8pm televised meeting.“

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