Gallery: The fog comes down but it can’t stop rampant Witches
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Witches produced a powerhouse performance to comfortably see of Somerset Rebels in the League Cup, at Foxhall Stadium last night.
The Witches, who lost the services of skipper Ritchie Hawkins after he aggravated his rib injury when falling in heat one, were irresistible all night.
However, the meeting was curtailed after heat 12 as fog descended on the Stadium, although the result still stands with 12 races completed.
Led by maximum men Rohan Tungate and Danny King the Witches attacked their own track in style, leaving the Rebels, who don’t have a great record at Ipswich, chasing shadows.
Even without Hawkins, reserves Nico Covatti and especially Stefan Nielsen both came to the party, Nielsen showing real maturity in his riding.
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This was result was very much needed after Monday’s poor effort at Peterborough by the Witches and some of the racing was top drawer.
It wasn’t a case of the Witches gating all the time, far from it, as they came from the back on many occasions, thrilling the good-sized home crowd.
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The first race saw King fly from the outside gate to lead, with Hawkins nipping into second after Charles Wright got in a pickle on turn three.
Somerset No.1 Josh Grajczonek passed Hawkins before spinning round on turn one on the final lap. Both Hawkins and Wright went down too.
It was awarded as a 5-1 to Ipswich.
Somerset’s Benji Compton was on the deck in the next, sliding into the fence on lap two, bend two.
Paul Starke did well to split the Witches, with Nielsen winning, especially after a poor gate.
The Rebels were struggling on the Foxhall circuit and Brady Kurtz almost fell in front of his team-mate Leigh Lanham, with both at the back in heat three.
Lanham was out of the race, only for Kurtz to fall again one lap later, as Gino Manzares and Cameron Heeps streaked away at the front after a ferocious attacking first and second bend.
Tungate produced a brave and stunning first lap pass on the outside of Richie Worrall in heat four. It was a jaw-dropping ride from the Aussie, but with Covatti suffering engine problems when in third, the Witches could only share the heat.
Grajczonek won the Rebels first heat of the night in heat six but the Witches pulled two more points ahead at 24-12 with Nielsen claiming a solid third place.
Covatti did the same in the next as Tungate, looking superb, won his second race of the night.
Hawkins had to pull out of the meeting after damaging his rib again in his first heat fall at this stage.
Heat eight was a cracker as Covatti and Nielsen went inside and out of Paul Starke down the home straight on lap one.
It was brilliant piece of racing by the Ipswich reserves, as the home team took what already looked an unassailable 33-15 lead.
Worrall continued to impress with a win in heat nine but it was King who continued to steal the show, with his third win on the bounce in heat 10.
And Covatti was another giving it his all, taking advantage of King’s strong first and second turn to follow his No.1 home.
The Witches had won the meeting already at 41-19 ahead and there was still five races left.
Tungate made it three out of three wins for him in heat 11 as Grajczonek came out for a tactical ride.
Manzares was on the deck after a classic case of first-bend bunching in the next.
The re-run saw the young American chasing both Somerset riders, only to crash again, with Covatti unable to avoid him, despite laying his bike down.
Thankfully Manzares was up ok, it had looked nasty, but Somerset had their first heat advantage of the night.
The fog was coming down now and Tungate crashed on the third turn but the referee could hardly see the action.
Sensibly the racing was called off, with the Witches comfortable winners.
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League Cup Group South
Rye House 4 10
Ipswich 4 7
Somerset 5 7
Peterborough 5 6
Plymouth 2 3
1 King, Hawkins, Grajczonek, Wright no time 5-1
2 Nielsen, Starke, Covatti, Compton(f/x) 59.3 9-3
3 Manzares, Heeps, Kurtz, Lanham (f/r) 58.6 14-4
4 Tungate, Worrall, Compton, Covatti (e/f) 58.7 17-7
5 Grajczonek, Manzares, Heeps, Wright 58.7 20-10
6 King, Worrall, Nielsen, Starke 58.7 24-12
7 Tungate, Kurtz, Covatti, Lanham 59.2 28-14
8 Covatti, Nielsen, Wright, Starke 59.7 33-15
9 Worrall, Manzares, Heeps, Compton 59.3 36-18
10 King, Covatti, Lanham, Kurtz 59.1 41-19
11 Tungate, Grajczonek*, Nieslen, Wright 58.8 45-23
12 Kurtz, Starke, Covatti, Manzares (f/x) no time 46-28
Meeting abandoned, fog
Ipswich 3pts Somerset 0pts.
Ipswich: D King 9, R Hawkins 2+1, G Manzares 7, C Heeps 4+3, R Tungate 9, S Nielsen 7+1, N Covatti 8+1
Somerset: J Grajczonek 7, C Wright 2, B Kurtz 6, L Lanham 1, R Worrall 7, P Starke 4+1, B Compton 1+1