Table-topping Ipswich Witches the TV stars with last-heat win over Wolves
PUBLISHED: 21:50 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 21:50 20 May 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Witches 46 Wolverhampton Wolves 44
Ipswich Witches went three points clear at the top-of-the-table after a thrilling last-heat 46-44 win against Wolves at Foxhall Stadium.
The home side were indebetted to reserve Cameron Heeps who, in front of the TV cameras, roared to a paid 16 points from the reserve berth, with some thrilling racing.
And in the end, with Witches getting their noses in front in a topsy-turvy clash that saw the lead change hands six times, captain Danny King rode a captain's race to grab a vital second place in the final heat.
It was no more than the Suffolk side deserved.
They continued to fight even after a catalogue of falls early in the meeting. Only David Bellego struggled for the Witches, while guest Josh Bates endured a tough night with a couple of crashes.
But this was about the home side's ability to see off the big players, of which Wolves are one. And with No.1 Chris Harris having a quiet night with just four points, for the Witches to win, was a terrific result.
Richard Lawson was away well in heat one in a hard first turn, but with Harris at the back, it was a shared first race. Heeps won the next and with guest Bates, in for the injured Jke Allen flying past Ashley Morris down the back straight, the Witches nudged ahead.
King was well away in the next and Bellego squeezed into second. However on turn one, lap two, under all sorts of pressure, Bellego slid off, with Kyle Howarth hitting him.
Fortunately both were up ok, but Bellego was excluded.
King, who had been leading in the first running of the heat, won the re-run.
The Witches were heading for trouble in heat four with Krystian Pieszczek and Bates at the back. But Pieszczek was the next Witch to slide off, this time on the third bend, with Bates clipping him and flying into the fence.
Again, both were up ok but again the Witches were left with just one rider in the race.
Bates gated well, but then suffered machine issues as Wolves took the lead.
King was again sharp from the tapes in heat five and Rory Schlein won the next as Wolves remained two ahead.
Then, the Witches' fans rose to their feet as Pieszczek and Heeps flew from the start. Scott Nicholls gave chase but couldn't catch the Witches.
Bates was the third Witch to fall in heat eight - on the first turn - and was excluded. Again a lone Witch was left in the heat and, just like heat four, Wolves punished the home side to re-take the lead by two.
Heat nine was a corker.
Last out of the start, Heeps passed Morris on lap one before setting off after Schlein, with King was already in the lead.
Heeps chased and on the final bend roared around the Wolves captain as the Foxhall fans cheered. But the joys soon turned to despair as Wolves gated to a 5-1 in the next and re-took the lead.
This meeting was crazy as the Witches pair of Heeps and Pieszczek gated to the fifth 5-1 on the bounce and Ipswich were back in front.
It was topsy-turvey stuff as Nicholls won the next.
Harris had endured a disappointing night. But he showed his class gating from gate two in heat 13, with Pieszczek who was enjoying a great night passing Masters as the Witches went six up.
Schlein was in as a tactical ride in the penultimate race and he roared from the outside with Heeps in chase.
Heeps, who had been the Witches rider of the night couldn't catch Schlein this time and it was a last heat decider with the home side four up.
And captain King stayed calm, holding off the attentions of Nicholls in third and pulling away as the Witches rejoiced.
Ipswich: C Harris 4+1, R Lawson 7, D King 12+1, D Bellego 0, K Pieszczek 6+3, C Heeps 15+1, J Bates 2
Wolves: S Masters 6, K Howarth 7+2, S Nicholls 10+1, R/R, R Schlein 15+1, A Morris 0, L Becker 6+2
You may also want to watch:
1 Lawson, Masters, Howarth, Harris 56.9 3-3
2 Heeps, Becker, Bates, Morris 56.6 7-5
3 King, Howarth, Nicholls, Bellego (f/x) 57.3 10-8
4 Schlein, Becker, Bates, Pieszczek (f/x) 57.9 11-13
5 King, Masters, Howarth, Bellego 57.1 14-16
6 Schlein, Lawson, Harris, Morris 57.4 17-19
7 Heeps, Pieszczek, Nicholls, Becker 57.7 22-20
8 Howarth, Becker, Lawson, Bates (f/x) 58.1 23-25
9 King, Heeps, Schlein, Morris 57.4 28-26
10 Nicholls, Schlein, Lawson, Harris 57.6 29-31
11 Heeps, Pieszczek, Masters, Howarth 57.2 34-32
12 Nicholls, Heeps King, Becker 57.6 37-35
13 Harris, Pieszczek, Masters Schlein 58.0 40-38
14 Schlein*, Heeps, Nicholls, Bellego 57.5 44-40
15 Schlein, King, Nicholls, Harris 57.5 46-44
Ipswich 3 pts. Wolves 1 pts.
Ipswich 5 13
Wolves 4 10
Belle Vue 6 10
Poole 3 6
Peterborough 5 5
Swindon 3 4
King's Lynn 4 3