Sundstrom has vital Witches role

SPEEDWAY: Rising star Linus Sundstrom will get a taste of the big time when he rides for Ipswich Witches in their Elite League meeting against table-toppers Poole Pirates at Foxhall Stadium tonight (start 7.30pm).

The 19-year-old’s standing in speedway has been recognised by his inclusion as reserve in the Scandinavian Grand Prix in Malilla on August 14.

He makes a welcome return to bottom-of-the-table Ipswich’s team for a meeting that will be tough, but one that the Witches need to win if they are to begin their fight to rise up the table.

Swede Sundstrom has been in fantastic form for Ipswich and Premier League Rye House, as well as Swedish team Piraterna. He also competes for Gniezno in the Polish First Division.

A doubling-up rider for Ipswich he will come up against Chris Holder an Australian, who is currently at the top of his game having won the British GP in Cardiff earlier this month.

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Holder is likely to be the main man for a Poole team that has for an intents and purposes already done enough to qualify for the end-of-season play-offs.

They were hoping to keep alive their chances of a double with an aggregate KO Cup win over Belle Vue in the second leg at Wimborne Road last night.

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With a voucher from the Evening Star children under-15 will gain free admission tonight if accompanied by a paying adult.

And they should get good value from both Sundstrom and Holder, with the latter’s hectic schedule a source of amazement to his father.

Dad Mick said of his 22-year-old son: “I can’t believe how little sleep he gets. He’s like a machine.

“The expectation on him every time he races is huge. Supporters don’t see behind the scenes, the relentless overnight road travelling in vans, the flying and lack of sleep.

“Chris wanted to show me what it was like, so we did the travelling from Poland to Sweden, back to Britain, to Poland, Sweden and Britain again, between meetings.

“One night he arrived at a track with sore fingers, earache and a raging headache.

“I just shock my head and said ‘you aren’t fit enough to race’. But once they’re in the zone, their tiredness just goes away.”

Poole have lost their last two away league meetings plus being on the receiving end of a 10-point cup first leg deficit at Belle Vue, and Ipswich will be looking to capitalise on that.

Polish/Canadian newcomer Chris Slabon makes his reappearance in a Witches race jacket after taking the place of Olly Allen while Sundstrom and his reserve partner Dawid Stachyra will need to be at their best to gain an advantage from the Pirates strong bottom end of Darcy Ward and Jason Doyle.

Witches team manager Pete Simmons is looking for a win that his riders can then build on.

“A win over the league leaders could give our revamped side the impetus to climb up the table and avoid the relegation play-offs,” he said.

“We need our fans behind us big time.”

Tonight’s line-ups

Ipswich: S.Nicholls, C.Slabon, D.King, A.Dryml, R.Miskowiak, D.Stachyra, L.Sundstrom.

Poole: C.Holder, L.Madsen, B.Pedersen, A.Mroczka, D.Watt, D.Ward, J.Doyle.

The meeting is sponsored by Volvo Truck and Bus Centre.

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