Win against Poole is not enough

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches kept their hopes alive of overtaking Swindon in the Elite League table with this victory in the first of their two meetings at Foxhall Stadium last night.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches kept their hopes alive of overtaking Swindon in the Elite League table with this victory in the first of their two meetings at Foxhall Stadium last night.

The Witches would prefer to ride away to Lakeside on Monday in the play-off semi-final than at Poole.

But the Pirates were in no mood to do Ipswich any favours and if pressed they would probably prefer to entertain the Witches next week than the Robins.


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It was the first double-header for a number of years at Foxhall caused by some inclement weather and some fixture problems and fell on the cut-off date to decide the top four positions for the play-offs.

Ipswich took time to get going in a meeting that saw the first race roar from the tapes at 7.08pm as the start time was brought forward to get in 30 heats by the 10pm curfew.

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With the highly-important rider average situation for next season in mind there was plenty to think about for both team managers and a cynic would wonder what happened to the eight-day guest rule with Chris Harris, Davey Watt and Bjarne Pedersen riding for two different sides last night - each riding once as a guest!

The Ipswich reserves got the home side off to a good start with a 5-1 after Magnus Zetterstrom had proved a surprise winner of heat one - making one of three lightning starts he produced on the night.

Harris was guesting in place of Jarek Hampel and he was good value all evening, being squeezed out of first place by Pedersen on the run-in to the line of heat three.

Watt won heat four from the gate before the Pirates hit back to level the scores after Harris took a tumble when trying to pass Zetterstrom on the second lap.

Piotr Swiderski got the better of Watt in the next race and the scores stayed level to heat nine with Adam Skornicki - pulled back after a rolling start in the first attempt to start heat seven - and then Daniel Davidsson suffering engine failures.

Robert Miskowiak came to life to partner Harris home to put the home side back in the lead by four points, and this advantage was held despite Miskowiak doing his partner Swiderski no favours in heat ten when the latter found himself almost in the fence and unable to recover.

Zetterstrom fell on the first bend of the next race, and then Harris made a great start to win heat 12.

From this point the Witches started motoring, and a 4-2 and then two 5-1s kept Ipswich's hopes of overtaking Swindon alive.

The rider replacement facility for a watching Tobi Kroner accrued a paid seven points with Steve Johnston continuing his run of good scores from the reserve berth.

For the first time for years speedway fans were able to sit by the back straight with the installation of some open-air seating since the last Witches meeting. In John Berry's days as promoter at Ipswich the club used an old stand from Portman Road, but this was blown down in sections and eventually disappeared in the 1990s.

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