Mark must make sure he is in right pit

MARK Loram will have to pinch himself when he enters the stadium for tonight's Sky Sports Elite League clash with Eastbourne at Foxhall Heath (start 7.

By Elvin King

MARK Loram will have to pinch himself when he enters the stadium for tonight's Sky Sports Elite League clash with Eastbourne at Foxhall Heath (start 7.30pm).

A regular guest for the visitors, Loram will have to ensure that he takes his place in the right pits.

The Stowmarket-based rider has filled in successfully when the Sussex club's skipper Nicki Pedersen has been on Grand Prix duty.

Loram scored a paid 12-point maximum riding at Arlington against Arena-Essex on August 8, and he will be in the Eastbourne team again tomorrow when Wolverhampton are the visitors.

But there will be no denying Loram's loyalty tonight as the Witches aim to maintain their unbeaten home run by clocking up a big score.

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Loram has been in splendid form in recent weeks, and his exciting style and never-say-die attitude is one of the reasons the Foxhall turnstiles have been clicking merrily this year.

Ipswich are at full strength with Piotr 'Pepe' Protasiewicz having recovered from his virus as they look to better the home result in the A fixture - 57-38.

This would give them a good chance of collecting the aggregate bonus point when the teams meet in the corresponding fixture at Arlington next month.

After pocketing six bonus points comparatively early in the season, Ipswich have failed to nail one for some while now.

This is the main reason they have dropped back in the race for a top-four finish.

Grabbing the remaining bonus points on offer is now imperative - plus winning at least one more away meeting.

This of course is based on keeping their home form going with wins tonight and against Coventry next Thursday.

Former world champion Nicki Pedersen rides for the Eagles two days ahead of the Czech Republic Grand Prix in Prague, and in Adam Shields Eastbourne have a rider who has burnt-up the Foxhall track in the past.

Two British youngsters who are likely to have big futures, Edward Kennett and Lewis Bridger, are also included in this meeting sponsored by Orwell Motor Cycles.

Tonight's line-ups

Ipswich: P Protasiewicz (8.62 average), K Jansson (5.76), R Miskowiak (6.02), C Louis (7.04), M Loram (8.50), D King (4.68), T Kroner (3.00).

Eastbourne: A Shields (7.74), E Kennett (4.78), D Barker (6.53), D Norris (6.80), N Pedersen (9.54), C Woodward (3.00), L Bridger (4.36).

LAST night's planned Sky Sports Elite League meeting at Oxford was called off a 4.30pm because of a waterlogged track.

This saved the Ipswich riders from driving the whole way to the Sandy Lane circuit, and a new date will have to be arranged. It will be next month as no more Wednesday dates are available in August as the Witches are at Poole next week.

Witches promoter John Louis and team manager Mike Smillie heard news of the call-off on the M25, and it was a meeting - with a full-strength side - that they had earmarked as one they had to win to stay in the hunt for a play-off place.

IPSWICH have made a few late changes to their fixture list and it is unlikely there will be meetings at Foxhall Stadium now on either Monday, September 4, or Thursday, September 7.

The Elite League play-off deadline has been extended to September 21 giving time, if needed, to re-stage either tonight's Eastbourne meeting or next Thursday's Coventry clash.

No firm dates have been agreed yet for the Craven Shield qualifiers home and away against Eastbourne and Wolverhampton.

Remaining league fixtures

August: 24 - Eastbourne (home, 7.30pm); 28 - Swindon (away, 5.00pm); 30 - Poole (away, 7.30pm) 31 - Coventry (home, 7.30pm).

September: 9 - Eastbourne (away, 7.30pm); 11 - Wolverhampton (away, 7.30pm).

To be arranged. League - Oxford (away). Craven Shield - Eastbourne and Wolves (home and away).

FORMER Ipswich skipper Scott Nicholls has not given up hope of racing in the Czech Grand Prix in Prague on Saturday - despite suffering a broken collarbone at Brandon on Monday.

Nicholls has visited Ipswich-based speedway specialist physio Brian Simpson and will make his decision today. Either way, he will not practice at Prague.

Coventry team manager Peter Oakes said: “Scott says that if his shoulder improves, and the injury can be appropriately strapped up, he may take the chance of racing.”

Any extra points Nicholls can muster will help his cause as he aims to finish the GP season in a top eight place and qualify automatically for next year's series.

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