Big crowd and big win as Witches live up to the pre-meeting hype
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Witches 52 Sheffield Tigers 41
Ipswich Witches lived up to the pre-meeting hype with a comfortable opening night win over Sheffield Tigers at Foxhall Stadium tonight.
Despite being without Kyle Newman, who was injured in a crash at Poole on Friday night, the Witches hit the Tigers from the off.
Eight points ahead after just three heats, the home side had superb heat-leader power in Danny King, Rory Schlein and Nico Covatti.
With Cameron Heeps looking good and young Danyon Hume at reserve riding with maturity above his years, the Witches never looked like losing this one.
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King shot from gate one to win the opening heat, with young Connor Mountain gating well, but not having the speed to hold off the two Tigers.
Hume made it two heat wins on the bounce as he passed Rob Branford down the back straight.
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Mountain held off Jack Parkinson for third as the Witches took an early lead after heat two.
There was a huge crash at the end on the final bend of heat three after leader Lasse Bjerre, under pressure from Ipswich’s Nico Covatti, flew into the fence.
Covatti lost control too and Heeps laid his bike down.
It looked nasty but fortunately everyone was up ok, but with Bjerre excluded the Witches were gifted a 5-1 to take a 12-6 lead.
Schlein shot from the outside to win heat four and for a while it looked very good for the Witches with Hume alongside his partner.
But he was passed by Kyle Howarth, as the Witches stretched their lead.
Covatti won the next as the Witches continued their strong start to the meeting and already they were 10-up after just five races.
King won the next as Hume fell on turn four.
Schlein totally missed the start in heat seven as Bjerre and Kurtz got away. The Ipswich Aussie however caught Kurtz to pass him as the Tigers got their first heat advantage of the night.
Schlein was back out in the next and he and Hume gated brilliantly to victory as the Witches gained their second 5-1 of the night. They now led 30-18 and the large home fans were loving it.
Covatti crashed out on his own when in secondn place in heat nine as Sheffield’s Kyle Howarth took a tactical ride.
Covatti was excluded, leaving Heeps onhis own. But he made a hash of the start and the Tigers gated to an 8-1 victory, suddenly they were only five behind.
Ipswich hit back straightaway, Heeps atoning for his last race with a superb dive on Bjerre to join King at the front. Schlein gated round Grajczonek as the Witches kept their nine-point lead in tact, equalling the track record into the bargain. Bjerre won his second race of the night but the Witches were closing in on victory.
And they achieved that as King and Schlein gated to victory in heat 13, King completing a 15 point maximum in the final race.
Ipswich: D King 15, R/R, N Covatti 7+1, C Heeps 8+2, R Schlein 13+1, C Mountain 1, D Hume 8+1
Sheffield: J Grajczonek 6+1, J Bates 4+1, L Bjerre 8+1, T Kurtz 3, K Howarth 12, R Branford 8+2, J Parkinson 0.
1 King, Bates, Grajczonek, Mountain 56.0 3-3
2 Hume, Branford, Mountain, Parkinson 57.3 7-5
3 Covatti, Heeps, Kurtz, Bjerre (f/x) no time 12-6
4 Schlein, Howarth, Hume, Parkinson 57.6 16-8
5 Covatti, Grajczonek, Heeps, Bates 56.5
6 King, Howarth, Branford, Hume (f) 56.5 23-13
7 Bjerre, Schlein, Kurtz, Mountain 57.7 25-17
8 Schlein, Hume, Bates, Parkinson 58.2 30-18
9 Howarth*, Branford, Heeps, Covatti (f/x) 58.0 31-26
10 King, Heeps, Bjerre, Kurtz 57.6 36-27
11 Schlein, Grajczonek, Bates, Mountain 55.8** 39-30
12 Bjerre, Hume, Covatti, Branford 57.4 42-33
13 King, Schlein, Gajczonek, Howarth 56.7 47-34
14 Branford, Heeps, Kurtz, Mountain 58.8 49-38
15 King, Howarth, Bjerre, Schlein 56.7 52-41
*tac ride points count double
**equals track record
Ipswich 3 pts. Sheffield 0 pts.