Witches face best Elite League has to offer

SPEEDWAY: Ipswich Witches face the best the Elite League has to offer when they take on title favourites Poole Pirates at Wimborne Road tonight (start 7.30pm).

At a time when the best riders in the world are giving British speedway a wide berth, the Dorset-based side has one Grand Prix rider in Chris Holder, second reserve for the current series Davey Watt, potential GP rider Bjarne Pedersen and world under-21 champion Darcy Ward.

Table-topping Poole are already nine points ahead of second-placed Belle Vue with a 100% home record.

It will be a stiff ask for Ipswich to gain anything from tonight’s meeting, but they will be in good heart after doing well and collecting an encouraging point at Lakeside on Friday.

The top seven riders in last season’s GP finals placings have all deemed to give the Elite League a miss.

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From world champion Jason Crump down to Rune Holta – and including Tomasz Gollob, Emil Sayfutdinov, Greg Hancock, Andreas Jonsson and Nicki Pedersen – the top riders in the world are happy to ride in the Polish League on Sundays and the Swedish League on Tuesdays.

This excuses them from the hassle of riding virtually any night of the week in England.

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It is a sad loss of talent for the British public to miss out on and puts the British top flight into third place in world league standards.

Ipswich are hoping to have Polish reserve Dawid Stachyra back after injury tonight – and to be in the team for a hectic three meetings in three days schedule with a home tussle with Lakeside tomorrow night and a visit to Coventry on Friday.

If he is still injured the Witches are expected to use a Premier League guest with an average up to six points.

Witches number eight Ritchie Hawkins has been asked to ride at number seven tonight while Poole are expected to be at full strength with Ward recently benefitting from switching to partner Holder and ride at number two.

Poole pipped Ipswich by two points in a thriller at Foxhall Stadium last month and will be firm favourites to make it a double.

Tonight’s likely teams

Poole: C Holder, D Ward, B Pedersen, J Doyle, D Watt, L Madsen, A Mrockza.

Ipswich: S Nicholls, O Allen, C Vissing, D King, R Miskowiak, D Stachyra, R Hawkins.

N (SQUARE) FOR tomorrow’s home meeting against Lakeside, Ipswich will use the rider replacement facility at number three for Claus Vissing, who will be involved in the Danish Championship. Lakeside have brought in Lee Richardson to replace Pole Krzysztof Kasprzak.

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