Louis defends Tungate as Gino returns to the Witches fold

Team manager Chris Louis with Rohan Tungate

Team manager Chris Louis with Rohan Tungate - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches boss Chris Louis has jumped to the defence of his star Australian rider Rohan Tungate.

Tungate was involved in ugly scenes at Scunthorpe on Friday night after an altercation with home No.1 Josh Auty.

The two clashed at the end of heat 10, with Auty crashing to the ground after Tungate went into him. The Ipswich Aussie insists it was not deliberate and he had nowhere to go at the end of a frantic race.

However, Scunthorpe’s management and fans didn’t see it that way as Auty was ruled out of the meeting with a broken hand and Tungate allowed to continue, the Witches going on to win 47-43.

Skirmishes broke out – including a sit-down protest by fans on the track – with Scunthorpe wanting Tungate kicked out of the meeting. Tungate had to get changed in his van afterwards to avoid trouble with home fans.

“I’ve spoken to Rohan and I’m satisfied it was not premeditated,” Louis said.

“Rohan is a fairly placid lad and if I thought it was premeditated I would not be happy. The referee, Peter Clarke, obviously saw it that way too. Okay, he fined Rohan but some wanted to see him kicked out of the meeting.

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“It’s been dealt with as far as I’m concerned, but I’m worried there could be repercussions as Rohan has been reported to the Speedway Control Board. I don’t see why, it’s been dealt with.”

The Witches won by four points, with Tungate incurring even more wrath from the home following after he won heat 14, while Ashley Morris, the Witches reserve, also got involved in a skirmish at the end of that race.

“Ashley and Nike Lunna had a disagreement after the race. That was it,” Louis said.

“But for some reason Nike’s mechanic got involved and Ashley did what most men would do and defended himself. I just stood back much of the time watching people get up to all sorts of things. It was an entertaining night if nothing else!

“At the end of all this though, I just hope Josh Auty is not badly hurt, that is the main thing.

“The other thing of course is that we won a crucial meeting that keeps our play-off hopes alive. And it should be interesting as Scunthorpe are back at Foxhall in two weeks!”

Tungate, meanwhile, said: “I wouldn’t deliberate go out to hurt another rider.

“I was racing to the line against Alex Davies and I kept my throttle open. Josh had slowed right down ahead of me and I couldn’t avoid him.

“He was coming across the track at me and we collided. I spoke to the referee and he could see where I was coming from. I wish Josh all the best and hope he is not hurt.”

Scunthorpe manager Dave Peet said: “It was always going to be tough against Ipswich, and ultimately the actions of Rohan Tungate following heat 10 cost us this meeting.

“The circumstances as to how we lost our No.1 was sickening. It’s a disgrace for a meeting to be settled in that fashion.”

Tungate and the Witches are in action at Foxhall on Thursday night against Glasgow, while Gino Manzares, who crashed on Thursday night, has no broken bones and returns to the starting line-up against the Tigers.

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