Pepe missing for Witches tonight

IPSWICH Witches will take nothing for granted when they entertain bottom club Oxford at Foxhall Stadium tonight.The Cheetahs, who have endured a torrid season, may have little to ride for but their form hasn't been that disastrous of late and Ipswich will want to pick up all five points in the B fixture clashes between the two clubs to keep up their play-off hopes.

By Mike Bacon

IPSWICH Witches will take nothing for granted when they entertain bottom club Oxford at Foxhall Stadium tonight.

The Cheetahs, who have endured a torrid season, may have little to ride for but their form hasn't been that disastrous of late and Ipswich will want to pick up all five points in the B fixture clashes between the two clubs to keep up their play-off hopes.

If the Witches want the first two points of those five, they will have to get them without Piotr 'Pepe' Protasieiwcz. The Polish GP star was injured in a Swedish League fixture last week and is still recovering from a leg injury.


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It was only his second ride of the night when the crash happened and it meant Protasiewicz missed out on Poland's Race-Off clash at Reading last week.

“There is nothing broken, but my muscles and nerves are very sore,” Protasiewicz said from Poland last night.

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“I had had a lot of ice packs on my left leg and it is a lot easier than it was. I will go to Lonigo on Friday and practice for the Italian Grand Prix, but I won't ride in the GP on Saturday if it is too painful.

“I'm not going to ride for Ipswich and then have to pull out after a couple of races against Oxford. That is not fair on the fans or the team.

“Hopefully I will be back on Monday night at Wolverhampton for Ipswich.”

The Witches will use the rider replacement facility for Protasieiwcz tonight, meaning any rider in the side can have an extra ride, while Carl Wilkinson rides at No. 6 for the Foxhall outfit, with Danny King in action for Mildenhall at Redcar.

Oxford are without the injured duo of Davey Watt and Ales Dryml, who continues to make good progress after his serious head injury two weeks ago.

The Witches won a quick-fire double over the Cheetahs at the beginning of the season to give their 2006 campaign a flying start.

Nothing less than a competent victory tonight will be satisfactory.

Tonight's teams

Ipswich Witches: 1 Rider replacement, 2 K Jansson, 3 R Miskowiak, 4 C Louis, 5 M Loram, 6 C Wilkinson, 7 T Kroner

Oxford Cheetahs: 1 T Wiltshire, 2 TBA, 3 D Howe, 4 A Skornicki, 5 rider replacement, 6 L Tomicek, 7 E Andersson.

BONNIE Sanders, the mother of former Ipswich Witches speedway star Billy, has died in Australia.

She supported her son's career, which saw him finish runner-up in the 1983 world championship and serve the Witches with distinction.

He first rode at Foxhall Stadium as a 16-year-old and apart from a few years away was a regular until he committed suicide in April 1985 at the age of 29.

His mother came over to England from Australia to support her grandson Dean, who had been left alone in this country following the sudden death of his father.

Dean was found hanged under a Sydney bridge in July 1998, and Bonnie had a lot of tragedy to contend with her during her lifetime.

mike.bacon@archant.co.uk

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