Witches again beaten on their travels

THANK goodness the away meetings are running out for Ipswich Witches as they suffered yet another defeat - losing 56-34 at Poole - on their travels last night.

By Elvin King

THANK goodness the away meetings are running out for Ipswich Witches as they suffered yet another defeat - losing 56-34 at Poole - on their travels last night.

The Suffolk side are currently not competitive when riding away from Foxhall Stadium, consequently their chances of finishing in the top four in the Elite League and being involved in the play-offs remain very slim.

Mike Smillie's side still have to go to Eastbourne, Wolverhampton and Oxford and they will need to show a marked improvement to stand any chance of gaining much needed victories.

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There was never any chance that the Witches would stretch the losing run of Poole Pirates to a record-equalling eight meetings at Windborne Road last night. The Pirates won at a canter to get their act together again and revive their hopes of a play-off place.

Mark Loram won three races to again fly the flag for the visitors and Piotr 'Pepe' Protasiewicz dropped just one point in his final three heats.

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But otherwise it was pretty woeful stuff again from Ipswich, with their two reserves putting in plenty of effort but only beating rookie Matthew Wethers for their trouble.

John Louis, the Ipswich promoter, missed the meeting as he was helping to get the Foxhall track ready for tonight's meeting after a stockcar event last weekend that involved a demolition caravan race.

And with his son Chris out of action with a broken collar-bone there was no Louis in the Ipswich pits for the first time for many meetings.

The rider replacement facility for Louis junior totalled just three points, but Louis scored a paid four on his last visit to Poole so this would have made no great difference to the outcome on that evidence.

With a threat of rain the meeting started promptly with the interval after 12 races coming at 8.35pm. No rain arrived, which ensured a comprehensive Poole victory and another poor night for Ipswich.

Smillie's tactical rider moves normally pay off but on this occasion Loram could only finish third in heat nine while Robert Miskowiak also failed to beat an opponent when wearing black and white helmet colour in heat 14.

A full-strength home team were well served by Poles Krzysztof Kasprzak and Greg Walasek, both of whom only missed out on maximums in the final race. Carl Wilkinson was passed by Jonas Davidsson on the third lap of heat two with Tobi Kroner suffering clutch problems from the start.

Loram won his first heat but with Kroner on his second machine making a good start before being passed by Antonia Lindback down the back straight Ipswich gained the first of only three heat advantages. Kasprzak did well to hold off Protasiewicz on the first circuit of heat five before Loram flew from the inside gate to win heat six.

Lindback went beyond Miskowiak on the second lap of race seven with Davidsson passing Wilkinson for third place at the same time.

Kim Jansson, who rode in Sweden on Tuesday having recovered from a head injury, chased hard in the next race but the home side still collected a 5-1.

They repeated the feat in the next race when the Polish pair made electric starts and Loram scored just one point when riding as a tactical rider.

Loram passed Craig Boyce on the second lap of heat 10 before Ipswich claimed a welcome 5-1 in race 11 when Smillie decided against using a tactical rider.

Protasiewicz was loathe to be named a tactical rider from gate two in heat 13, but he still made the best start before being passed by Bjarne Pederson down the back straight. Loram went beyond Lindback on the second circuit and looked to have held onto third place only for the referee to award the one point to the fast finishing Lindback.

Miskowiak was three yards behind going into the first turn of race 14 when riding for double points, but Ipswich gained some consolation in the final race when Loram and Protasiewicz both went past Kasprzak to record a maximum heat win.

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