Ipswich Witches edge home 46-44 on night of drawn heats
IPSWICH WITCHES edged to victory against a gutsy Redcar Bears team, Kevin Doolan and Leigh Lanham ensuring the win in the final heat.
The ‘Sackers’ Witches were only behind for one heat in the Premier League contest but that failed to tell the whole story as a dry track saw nine drawn heats and just five chequered flags for the hosts.
Witches old boy Carl Wilkinson took the opening win, with Rohan Tungate second and Lanham third.
Mat Tresarrieu put the Witches 7-5 up with a controlled win in 62.1, but Bears’ Lee Smart held off the challenge of the returning Cameron Heeps in heat two.
The close nature of the contest continued in heat 3 with Justin Sedgman leading from the start and leaving Morten Risager and Kevin Doolan ensuring they finished in the points.
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Dakota North and Matej Kus had an excellent battle in the next race with the latter just holding off the under-21 rider, before Ricky Wells earned the Bears’ fourth victory in five races with a win in heat five.
Lanham took the lead on the first bend in heat six and kept at the front with Tungate grabbing third
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North was involved in a terrific battle in heat seven but just failed to get ahead of Sedgman during a dramatic last lap.
The match continued to be tight after heat eight but it could have been a whole lot better had Tungate not fallen on lap two, Heeps taking the win.
Doolan and Risager got to work on eventual winner Kus in heat nine, collecting a useful three points, although the Witches skipper almost caught his Kus on the last lap.
The trend of drawing heats continued in heat 10 with Summers gaining the Bears’ seventh win of the evening and ensuring the sixth tied race.
Wells and Wilkinson gave the Bears the lead for the first time in the night with Tresarrieu running out of steam and finishing last. The Witches took the first maximum of the night at a crucial point with Doolan taking the win in heat 12 and Heeps a solid second.
Controversy reigned in heat 13 when North was adjudged to have caused Wells’ fall on the first bend and was excluded. The decision seemed harsh and left Lanham to do the business by taking a comprehensive win.
The meeting was set for a dramatic climax with Summers taking victory but Risager and Heeps grabbed three important points in the penultimate race, before Doolan and Lanham finished second and third in the final heat to get the Witches over the line.