Tobi turns on the style for Witches
TOBI Kroner took the honours as Ipswich Evening Star Witches got back to winning ways at Foxhall Stadium last night.The 22-year-old German was paid for 18 magnificent points from seven rides as Ipswich saw off the challenge of Wolverhampton Wolves with a convincing 52-41 Sky Sports Elite League victory.
By Elvin King
TOBI Kroner took the honours as Ipswich Evening Star Witches got back to winning ways at Foxhall Stadium last night.
The 22-year-old German was paid for 18 magnificent points from seven rides as Ipswich saw off the challenge of Wolverhampton Wolves with a convincing 52-41 Sky Sports Elite League victory.
Kroner's improvement since he joined Ipswich in 2006 has been constant and he is benefiting from his willingness to listen to advice from the likes of Witches legend Jeremy Doncaster and machinery help from Chris Louis and Mark Loram. While Kroner took the honours there was also an encouraging display by fellow reserve Marcin Rempala, who is beginning to show - at home anyway - the form that was expected from him when Ipswich plucked him out of Polish speedway during the winter.
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Still not the sharpest from the tapes, Rempala has built up a confidence for the Foxhall track, and he featured in a couple of 5-1s with Kroner.
The latter featured in three consecutive maximum heat advantages from races two to four to get Ipswich off to the great start, and in total Kroner was involved in five 5-1s.
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Peter Karlsson was untouchable for Wolves, but with David Howe and Billy Hamill not really at the races the Swede's 18-point contribution was not enough to keep the visitors in the hunt for an away win.
The rider replacement facility for Zibi Suchecki, who was involved in a pairs meeting in his native Poland, accrued a paid nine points for Ipswich with Chris Louis also high among the points.
The Witches were seeking their first victory after five consecutive defeats, while crowd levels were reduced no doubt because of tea-time rain that was forecast to clear and duly did comfortably before start time.
Peter Karlsson equalled the fastest time of the season to get proceedings off to a flying start, while in heat two the Witches got their noses in front thanks to an electric start from Kroner and a strong first two bends by Rempala where the Pole worked his way beyond both opponents on the inside.
Kroner was involved in another 5-1 in the next race when he took the rider replacement ride and made another rapid departure from the tapes to partner his skipper Chris Louis round for four laps.
Kroner was out again in heat four, and he made it a hat-trick of sharp exits from the gate to leave the Wolves pair in his wake. Robert Miskowiak had little trouble in following his team mate home.
After being knocked for six by Kroner and company, Wolves team manager Peter Adams asked his star man Karlsson to ride for double points in heat five, with the Swede coming out of the second bend with a sizeable lead.
But the referee called a halt as Louis had jumped forward just before the tapes rose. In the re-run, Karlsson was not to be denied, but the damage was not too great for Ipswich as Louis held second place throughout and Rempala made a confident and classy outside pass on Howe going round the third and fourth bends.
Freddie Lindgren won the next race with former Ipswich squad member Carl Wilkinson passing Kim Jansson for third place on the third circuit, and after the track had been heavily watered Rempala showed his growing likeness for the Foxhall track by overtaking former world champion Billy Hamill on the run-in to the line for an impressive heat seven third place.
Kroner dropped his first point to an opponent when current British number two Howe made the fastest start in heat eight before Louis had home fans on their feet with a breathtaking last bend outside pass on Lindgren to win heat nine.
Heat 11 saw Peter Karlsson continue his winning ways; with Miskowiak showing skill and determination to hold off Howe coming out of the second bend for a timely second place.
And the Witches sewed up the win for all intents and purposes in the next race when Kroner was back to his fast-gating best - with Louis linking with the German going down the back straight for Kroner's fourth 5-1 of an eventful night.
After the interval, Wolves managed a 5-1 themselves through Peter Karalsson and Lindgren, before the busy Kroner rode in his capacity as a reserve to take Jansson's scheduled rider replacement heat 14 ride.
This resulted in yet another maximum Witches heat advantage and rounded off a perfect night for the up-coming German - with Rempala continuing his improved form with a second place.
Mid-table Wolves clawed back two points in the last heat to give them a belief that they can gain the aggregate bonus point in the return fixture at Monmore Green.
But last night belonged to Ipswich - and Kroner in particular.