Ipswich Witches’ Rohan Tungate escapes without serious injury after crash

Rohan Tungate and David Bellego fall

Rohan Tungate and David Bellego fall - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Witches star Rohan Tungate was taken to hospital as the Suffolk side’s hopes of re-gaining the Premier League Fours were left in tatters.

Aussie Tungate was the innocent victim of a ferocious crash that saw him and Berwick’s David Bellego hurtle into the Peterborough fence after Edinburgh’s Craig Cook came hard under the Berwick man.

There was a lengthy delay and concern for both riders as the gloss was taken off a super afternoon’s racing.

Fortunately for Tungate, there was nothing serious to report and he left hospital late last night.

Witches team boss Pete Simmons spoke on how he saw the crash.

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“It was completely nothing to do with poor Rohan,” Simmons said.

“He was winning the race when Craig Cook comes from nowhere, runs into David Bellego, who then runs into Rohan.

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“That was how I and everyone saw it, sadly the referee didn’t.

“So, not only did we lose Rohan from the meeting, but Edinburgh were allowed to keep Craig Cook in and he won the re-run.

“I think Cook should have been excluded. And if he had done, then because Bellego was Berwick’s reserve, it would have left Cameron Heeps (our reserve) up against Josh Grajczonek.

“We would have won the meeting from that point, I’m sure.”

The Witches also had bad luck in the final with Ben Barker suffering a puncture when leading and all in all it was a long and finally disappointing hot day out for the Witches fans who made the journey.

Edinburgh ended up victorious after Claus Vissing defeated Witches skipper Leigh Lanham in the final race.

But most people’s thoughts were still with Tungate and Bellego.

Certainly the Witches won’t want to lose their young Aussie for too long, if at all and next up for the Suffolk side is Scunthorpe in the Premier League at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday night.

The Witches had won this title at Leicester in 2011, but strangely hadn’t been asked to participate in last year’s event. It was a good reason to want to gain the title back.

Their hopes of actually progressing to the final didn’t get off to the best start as both Morten Risager and Tungate trailed in last in their opening races.

But Risager picked himself up well and roared to victory in his second and last semi-final race. And when Barker did the same, the Witches were almost into the final.

However Leigh Lanham’s engine failure in the last race in the semi had many Witches hearts in their mouths, but the result of the race, with Scunthorpe’s Thomas Jorgensen only in third, was enough to see Ipswich into the final.

The final itself was nip and tuck with Tungate and Lanham both winning heats for the Suffolk side.

The lead changed hands a number of times, although the long afternoon was certainly testing on fans and machines.

There was a hold-up while arguments about tyres raged, with some of the rider’s tyres almost torn to shreds.

But the racing continued and it was Ipswich who were suffering the poorest of luck, Barker going from first to last after suffering a puncture while leading heat eight of the final.

There was nothing in it with just two races to go and Ipswich fans were on their feet as Tungate shot to the front ahead of Bellego and Cook in heat 11 of 12.

Having won his last race it was likely Tungate would have stayed there. But when Cook attempted to pass Bellego, it ended up with Tungate and Bellego in the fence and a long hold-up.

Heeps came out in the re-run as a replacement for Tungate and grabbed a second place behind Cook.

But when Cook’s Edinburgh team-mate Vissing won the final heat, the Scottish side were home and the new champions.

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