Flying Witches tame Wolves

MAGNIFICENT Ipswich Evening Star Witches produced their second away victory in 72 hours to hurtle into the play-off positions in the Sky Sports Elite League.

Mike Bacon

MAGNIFICENT Ipswich Evening Star Witches produced their second away victory in 72 hours to hurtle into the play-off positions in the Sky Sports Elite League.

In front of the Sky television cameras, the Witches showed exactly what they are capable of and how exciting a team they have become this season, coming from eight points down after just four races, to have the meeting sewn up with one heat to go.

Flying reserve Piotr Swiderski was again to the fore, winning a thrilling heat 12 as Wolves threw tactical substitutes at the men from Suffolk in their desperation to gain anything from the meeting.

But this was an all-round team effort from Ipswich, with every Witch contributing, despite heavy crashes for Robert Miskowiak, Steve Johnston, Swiderski and Tobi Kroner.

Miskowiak went from second to last in the opening race as Wolves took the initiative and Chris Schramm didn't get further than a yard in the next as his mechanical problems caught up with him. If the Evening Star Witches were hoping for a good start, they never got one, Kroner and Johnston miles off the pace in heat three. Jarek Hampel was away from the start in the next and looking good for victory.

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But Swiderski got in all kinds of trouble down the back straight, clipping the back wheel of David Howe and cartwheeling spectacularly down the straight. It was a nasty-looking crash, but Swiderski bounced back up, although his exclusion wasn't what the Witches needed.

And it got worse when Hampel was left in second place by Howe, as the home side went eight ahead. Nicolas Klindt was excluded after falling off on the first turn of heat five. It left Miskowiak and guest Edward Kennett with a chance to pull some points back and Miskowiak took Niels Kristian Iversen very wide on turn two as both Witches shot off.

Iversen came hard under the Pole a lap later, clearly clipping his standing leg, and referee Dan Holt excluded the Dane, awarded the Witches a 5-0, as they pulled the score back to 16-13. It was a big turning point in the meeting.

Hampel saw off home star Freddie Lindgren in another cracking piece of action in heat six as the Witches, who had looked down and out, were suddenly just one a point adrift. Miskowiak was putting in some fierce first and second turns and in heat eight it was Ales Dryml's turn to feel the force of Miskowiak's efforts.

With Dryml as good as out of the race, it left Schramm to nip through to join his team-mate as the Evening Star Witches had turned an eight-point defecit into a three point lead at 25-22.

The Witches were now positively flying and Swiderski dived under Iversen on lap three to join Hampel at the front as Wolves went backwards. It was now 30-23 in the visitors favour and it had been as big a turnaround as you could wish to see.

There was more drama in heat 10 as Dryml's attempt to come under Johnston left the Australian on the deck in another awful crash that saw Kroner run over Dryml's bike as all three riders bit the dust. Dryml was rightly excluded.

Lindgren won the re-run and the Witches went 11 points ahead in the next as Kennett and Miskowiak gated to victory. Lindgren was out again as a tactical substitute, starting 15m back with his points counting double. It was an absolute classic, with the Swede cutting past Kroner and then going in pursuit of Swiderski.

But Swiderski held his nerve and it was just a 5-3 to the Wolves in a thrilling finish. Wolves hit back again in heat 13, but Swiderski sealed Ipswich's three points in heat 14 and a last-heat maximum for the home side couldn't take the shine off a truly memorable night for the Witches.

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