Danny King column: Connor shows us how it’s done at Lakeside... But I won’t beat about the bush!

The tapes rise in the opening heat against Peterborough two weeks ago with (from the left) Scott Nic

The tapes rise in the opening heat against Peterborough two weeks ago with (from the left) Scott Nicholls, Danny King, Emil Grondal and Michael Haertel dropping their clutches. Photo: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Witches skipper Danny King looks back at a disappointing week for the Witches, wins for Leicester and is that the sun?

Connor Mountain, the Witches star at Lakeside.

Connor Mountain, the Witches star at Lakeside. - Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller

We are up and running... Well, a bit anyhow.

Yes, the 2018 speedway season looks like finally getting fully underway this week for all, as the sun starts to come out. And not before time.

It has been the worse start to a season, weather-wise, I can ever remember all my riding years.

Someone told me last week something like 40 out of 60 meetings have so far been called-off.


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It’s nearly May and some riders have hardly taken to the track.

Still, hopefully it’s all behind us now...

Michael Haertel, found it tricky at Lakeside. He wasn't alone.

Michael Haertel, found it tricky at Lakeside. He wasn't alone. - Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller

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The Witches season didn’t get much better at Lakeside last Friday.

Having lost to Peterborough on our opening night, we knew we needed a result in Essex. But after a reasonable start, the home team took control.

It’s never easy to win at Lakeside and you really do have to know how to ride the track.

You can have the set-up right, but that won’t guarantee anything. You need to gate and you need to know where you are going.

People say speedway is speedway is speedway. But that’s not the case and Lakeside is a very different track to ride.

Scott Nicholls makes an inside move on Ipswich's Rory Schlein in heat 15 to help clinch the meeting

Scott Nicholls makes an inside move on Ipswich's Rory Schlein in heat 15 to help clinch the meeting for Peterborough on opening night at Foxhall. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

You only have to look at our three riders who have never ridden there before, Michael Haertel, Cameron Heeps and Danyon Hume – they got one point between them!

I’m not going to beat about the bush, I don’t enjoy riding there. Not that is any excuse because I won my first race, but then had a string of second places.

We lost by 19 and our chances of qualifying for the semi-finals of the Championship Shield are hanging by a thread.

We go back to Lakeside at least twice this season, in the league and the KO Cup. We’ve all been there now, some more than others, and next time we will want to do much better.

However, one person who did himself proud at Lakeside was Connor Mountain.

Connor was superb all night.

He won two races, was in the mix all night. The track suited his style and we were all thrilled for him. More of the same please Connor.

MORE: Hawkins not worried by poor start to season for Witches

So, it’s Lakeside at Foxhall on Saturday.

We can’t afford anything less than a big win. If we can beat them by more than they beat us at their place (19 points), then it will all go down to our meeting at Peterborough next Tuesday.

The Panthers know a win could well put them in the semis, dependent on how Lakeside get on at our place on Saturday.

But should we get a big result against Lakeside, then who knows? Certainly as a team we ride Peterborough better than we do Lakeside!

The new track shape at Foxhall should be well bedded in by now and the nice weather will have helped.

People have asked me what I thought of the newly-shaped bends, but at the moment, they don’t really affect me.

I tend to be out near the boards and rarely fly up the inside or cut back.

Not that I won’t be doing so of course. But until I try one of those moves, it is difficult for me to comment too much.

Certainly, there are more lines and that can only be a good thing.

MORE: Undercooked Witches pay the penalty on opening night

At Leicester I’m having more meetings.

Although our clash at Swindon was called off after Martin Vaculik and Michael Palm Toft piled into Nick Morris in heat one, I have enjoyed another meeting or two since.

The crash at Swindon was so unfortunate.

It was a foggy, misty night and the track was damp. But we all walked it at about 6.30pm and it seemed ok.

But I reckon in the hour or so before start time the damp got into the track and when the boys went out in heat one it was greasy.

Sadly, Martin has a broken ankle, which is a huge blow for us at Leicester.

He had fitted in well and we are all gutted for him.

There have been suggestions that a couple of riders should go out to test the track before a meeting starts, like they do in Poland.

In hindsight that may have been the right thing to do at Swindon. But the vast amount of tracks are always ready to race, you don’t need to send out riders to test it.

The Lions had a good win over Somerset on Monday night and on Wednesday night we were back at Somerset for the return.

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I’ll see you at Foxhall on Saturday night as our season starts to really get underway.

Next Thursday we start our league campaign against Newcastle.

At last, it’s all systems go. See you at Foxhall.

DANNY

AS TOLD TO MIKE BACON

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