Swiderski escapes nasty crash unhurt

PIOTR Swiderski survived a horrific crash at Foxhall Stadium last night when Ipswich Evening Star Witches' home Elite League speedway meeting with Coventry Bees lasted less than five seconds.

Elvin King

PIOTR Swiderski survived a horrific crash at Foxhall Stadium last night when Ipswich Evening Star Witches' home Elite League speedway meeting with Coventry Bees lasted less than five seconds.

The Pole was miraculously able to walk away after being flung 15 metres in the air when his bike went through the first bend fence at the start of heat one.

He was taken to hospital for a check-up, but suffered no broken bones. It could have been that his crash helmet saved Swiderski's life as it was severely damaged.

It was to ensure that the rider has no head injuries that he was persuaded to go to hospital after walking into the ambulance.

Before the start there was a minute's silence impeccably observed for Keith Martin, a Witches sponsor for four years who died on Monday aged 67.

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The sponsor's lounge was kept in darkness as a further mark of respect as the Keith Martin Group sponsored the meeting.

And there was a further sombre scene at the first corner of the first race after Bees top rider and former Witch Hans Andersen battled to come from the outside gate to take the lead going into the turn.

He clipped bikes with Swiderski and both riders lost control.

While Andersen was able to get up straight away there was considerable concern for the health of Swiderski.

He roared across the track at full throttle and went straight through the air fence before being catapulted almost to the outside of the concrete stock car track.

He lay motionless until medical help arrived, and was taken from the track by ambulance.

Against all the odds the Pole, who has been the most improved rider in the Elite League this season, was able to walk from the first aid room to the dressing room.

Other than the trauma of crashing at such speed he appears to have come through the incident have just been winded, although he was withdrawn from the rest of the meeting because he had temporarily been knocked unconscious.

He came down from a great height and landed on the left side of his back, taking most of the wind out of his body.

While Swiderski was receiving attention and the fence was being repaired it began to rain again - and this time with some force.

It was inevitable that a halt was called to proceedings and this was formally announced at 8.05pm.

There had been localised rain around the Ipswich area from teatime with Foxhall experiencing a short, sharp shower around 7.20pm.

But conditions were near perfect for the first race on a night when Coventry had brought in former Witch Shane Parker to replace Olly Allen, who was injured at Poole on Wednesday night and was advised against riding at Ipswich.

Ben Barker replaced Robbie Kessler from the programmed Coventry side.

With the league cut-off date before the play-offs positions are determined on September 25, Ipswich have three weeks to fit in their remaining three home meetings.

But this is not turning out to be an easy task with Foxhall Stadium unavailable on the week beginning September 14 because a temporary stand is being erected for a major stock car event.

Ipswich are scheduled to ride Lakeside at home next Thursday and Poole on September 25, and one solution might be to move the Pirates date into October as they are already guaranteed a top two finish.

But Ipswich might still need two points to claim fourth - or possibly third or even second place.

A new Coventry home date will be announced later.

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