Witches fail to end barren away run

IPSWICH Witches failed to end their barren run on their travels in their final Elite League away match last night. The Witches, without a league victory on the road all season, never looked like breaking their duck in the battle of the basement sides in Manchester as they lost 54-39 at Belle Vue Aces.

IPSWICH Witches failed to end their barren run on their travels in their final Elite League away match last night.

The Witches, without a league victory on the road all season, never looked like breaking their duck in the battle of the basement sides in Manchester as they lost 54-39 at Belle Vue Aces.

They trailed from heat two onwards and were unfortunate to catch Swedish Grant Prix star Antonio Lindback turning in his best performance for Belle Vue.

Lindback's patchy form has seen him drop down to a reserve berth for the Aces but he was their trump card as he collected a 15-point maximum - the first time he has been unbeaten since joining the club in mid-season.


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Skipper Chris Louis and fellow heat leader Robert Miskowiak led the Ipswich fight, but they could claim only one race win each, along with one from Kim Jansson.

Rider replacement for injured No. 1 Jesper Jensen contributed only five points but even so second-from-bottom Ipswich still managed to collect the aggregate bonus point following their 20-point victory over rock-bottom Belle Vue at Foxhall last month.

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Miskowiak and Jansson started by relegating home No. 1 Simon Stead to last place in a shared opening race.

But the Witches were never on level terms again after conceding a 5-1 in the reserves race, which had to be re-started after Belle Vue's other Swede, Billy Forsberg, fell awkwardly going into the first turn. He picked himself up to follow Lindback across the line in the re-run.

It looked like Ipswich would fall further behind in heat three until Tobias Kroner caught home skipper Joe Screen with a last-gasp dash to the line to earn a point.

Miskowiak led from the tape in heat four, but went too wide on the second bend and was passed by Forsberg. The Pole then lifted coming off the fourth bend, allowing Kevin Doolan to nip through for a home 5-1.

The Witches immediately hit back with their only maximum in heat five though Jansson and Louis. Louis was out again in heat seven, but could not hold off a determined Lindback, who eased round him coming off the second bend on lap two.

Miskowiak got his race win in heat nine, after holding off Screen's first lap challenge, but with Zibi Suchecki at the back once again, Ipswich could not make inroads into Belle Vue's lead.

Louis was a surprise last in heat 10, as Ipswich fell further behind and another home 5-1 in the next race put Belle Vue 40-26 ahead.

Cue the black and white helmet for Louis, who took full advantage with a double points scoring tactical ride win in heat 12, after rounding Screen on the second bend, but the Witches were restricted to a six-three as Martin Rempala was last.

The Witches got a slice of luck in heat 14, when Adam Skornicki suffered a puncture just yards from the line while in second place, turning a home 5-1 into a shared heat.

Belle Vue finished with their fourth 5-1 but are now almost certain to pick up the wooden spoon as they trail the Witches by four points in the table and their three remaining matches are all away.

Belle Vue: S Stead 11 + 1, J Wright 7, J Screen 5, A Skornicki 4 + 1, K Doolan 5 + 2, A Lindback 15, B Forsberg 7 + 2.

Ipswich: Rider Replacement for J Jensen, K Jansson 6 + 2, C Louis 12 + 1, T Kroner 4 + 2, R Miskowiak 10 + 1, M Rempala 7, Z Suchecki 0.

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