Witches are mauled by Bulldogs

IPSWICH Witches received a real mauling at the hands of the Reading Bulldogs at Smallmead last night, going down 57 points to 38.The Suffolk side began the meeting in the worst possible fashion, conceding two 5-1 maximums in the first two races and it was a situation they never recovered from.

By Mike Bacon

IPSWICH Witches received a real mauling at the hands of the Reading Bulldogs at Smallmead last night, going down 57 points to 38.

The Suffolk side began the meeting in the worst possible fashion, conceding two 5-1 maximums in the first two races and it was a situation they never recovered from.

Right from the off the Bulldogs were out at the start and the Witches were found it difficult to recover from the home side's early onslaught.


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American Grand Prix star Greg Hancock was the star of the show for the home side and he won three heats inside the first six races, as the home side built up a 14-point lead by heat six.

Only Chris Louis and Mark Loram provided any early resistance, with Louis winning heat three against Grand Prix star Matej Zagar.

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And indeed, it was Louis who helped get the Witches their first heat advantage in race seven, when he brought the large contingent of visiting fans to their feet with a fine victory

But Reading hit straight back and within three races the Bulldogs had stretched their lead to 19 points.

Pepe Protasiewicz, Robert Miskowiak, Louis and Loram were all successful as Ipswich won four of the last five heats, but it was far too little too late and the bonus point will be a very tough job for the Witches to try and wrestle back when the two sides meet later at Foxhall.

Kim Jansson rode a good first heat and led Hancock for one lap before he was hauled in by both Reading riders, while Jan Jaros made a flying start in the next, only to crash out on turn four when ahead, as the Witches made a terrible start.

Louis relieved the pressure in the next and although Loram gained second place in heat four, the Witches were already 10 points behind.

There was plenty of entertaining racing and Charlie Gjedde and Protasiewicz swapped places in heat five before Loram passed McGowan in the next.

Louis won his tactical ride in heat seven, but the Witches still trailed by 11 and Jansson was again in the thick of the action in the next, but the Bulldogs were proving simply too powerful.

Protasiewicz enjoyed his best race of the night with a tape-to-flag victory in heat 11 and Miskowiak, who had looked so disappointing in his first three rides, shot from gate three to win comfortably.

Jaros fell on the first turn in heat 14, but in the re-run, gated ahead of Zagar to keep the Reading man on the outside as Louis sped to his third victory of the night.

It was a disappointing show from the Witches but they at least finished in style with under-the-weather Loram producing a quite stunning pass on Hancock in the final heat to deny the American his maximum and at least give the Witches something to cheer about.

But this was no great effort from the Witches and they will need to be a lot sharper at Foxhall on Thursday night when high-flying Peterborough are the visitors.

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