‘We lost our way mid-meeting. But we move on’ – Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins after Ipswich lose at Belle Vue
- Credit: Archant
Belle Vue Aces 49 Ipswich Witches 41
It's a three-horse race at the top of the Premiership after Ipswich Witches lost at Belle Vue 41-49, with Poole losing at King's Lynn.
For the Witches there was to be no sixth point in three away meetings, following their win at Peterborough and narrow defeat at Swindon.
Despite starting strongly, the Suffolk side were pegged back mid-meeting and although a late rally threatened, they missed out on a bonus point in Manchester.
Danny King had two wins in his top-scoring 11 points, and Jake Allen was another who got a paid 11.
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But with Krystian Pieszczek, who top-scored at Swindon, failing to score a point, it was always a tough night for the visitors with rain falling on and off throughout.
"We lost our way mid-meeting," said Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins.
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"It was a tough night and we started ok but when the rain got a bit heavier we fell away a bit. We weren't at our best but we still pushed all the way for a bonus point.
"We have to move on. We have had a good run of results and this was no disaster. But it's Poole on Thursday now at home and it will nice to be at home again.
"If we win that well, everything will be cool again."
Richard Lawson and Chris Harris were away well for the Witches in heat one, but Fricke, the Belle Vue No.1 rounded Harris, then Lawson on the final lap in a drawn first race.
Ipswich took an early lead through reserves Edward Kennett and Allen who flew from the start in heat two and King shot from the start to win heat three.
Allen and Dimitri Berge had a good battle for the lead in the next with the Belle Vue man coming out on top but the home side turned the tables on their visitors in heats five and six.
Harris, who has been called up by the Team GB squad for the upcoming Speedway of Nations, split the Aces pair in heat five, before Fricke and Jaimon Lidsey hammered home a heat six 5-1.
King and Tero Aarnio hit the deck at the start of heat seven but both were up ok and in the re-run Kenneth Bjerre gated to victory as the Aces made it four heat wins on the bounce.
Reserve Berge was in good form for the home side and he and Allen had another battle in heat eight as the Aces moved six points ahead.
Witches were on a shared heat in heat nine until Kennett slid off on his own. Dan Bewley and tactical rider King swapped positions on every lap until the start of the final one as Bewley won.
The Aces were on top and hammered home another 5-1 in the next, but the Witches hit straight back with Lawson and Harris gating to the front in heat 11.
Ipswich were not throwing the towel in and King won his second race of the night in heat 12, with Allen in third.
The Aces lead have been cut from 14 to eight.
But they sealed the deal in heat 13 with Fricke and Bjerre notching the third 5-1 in five heats. Ipswich hadn't given up hope of a losing bonus point as Heeps and Allen gained another Witches 5-1 in the penultimate heat.
But Fricke got his maximum in the last race to gain all three points for the Aces.
Belle Vue: M Fricke 15, J Lidsey 5+2, D Bewley 8+2, S Worrall 6, K Bjerre 7+1, D Berge 8, T Aarnio 0.
Ipswich: C Harris 6+2, R Lawson 5, D King 11, C Heeps 6+2, K Pieszczek 0, E Kennett 4, J Allen 9+2
1 Fricke, Lawson, Harris, Lidsey 60.5 3-3
2 Kennett, Allen, Berge, Aarnio 61.2 4-8
3 King, Worrall, Bewley, Heeps 60.8 7-11
4 Berge, Allen, Bjerre, Pieszczek 61.8 11-13
5 Bewley, Harris, Worrall, Lawson 61. 15-15
6 Fricke, Lidsey, Kennett, Pieszczek 61.6 20-16
7 Bjerre, King, Heeps, Aarnio 62.6 23-19
8 Berge, Allen, Lidsey, Lawson 62.9 27-21
9 Worrall, Bewley, King*, Kennett 63.3 32-22
10 Fricke, Lidsey, Heeps, King 64.6 37-23
11 Lawson, Harris, Bjerre, Berge 64.6 38-28
12 King, Bewley, Allen, Aarnio 62.7 40-32
13 Fricke, Bjerre, Harris, Pieszczek (R) 63.3 45-33
14 Heeps, Allen, Berge, Worrall 64.2 46-38
15 Fricke, King, Heeps, Bewley 62.9 49-41
Belle Vue 3 pts. Ipswich 0 pts.
Poole 13 27
Ipswich 12 27
Belle Vue 15 27
Peterborough 12 17
King's Lynn 13 16
Swindon 11 15
Wolverhampton 10 13