Ipswich Witches v Belle Vue Aces... Big meeting preview
PUBLISHED: 07:45 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:46 01 August 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
WHEN AND WHERE…
Ipswich Witches host Belle Vue Aces at Foxhall Stadium tonight in a Premiership clash that starts at 7.30pm, writes Henry Chard.
IPSWICH: 1. Chris Harris 6.83 2. Cameron Heeps 6.26 3. Danny King 6.42 © 4. Jake Allen 5.80 5. Richard Lawson 6.75 6. Edward Kennett 5.71 7. Krystian Pieszczek 5.36. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
BELLE VUE: 1. Max Fricke 9.24 © 2. Steve Worrall 6.19 3. Nick Morris 6.37 4. Dimitri Berge 4.78 5. Kenneth Bjerre 7.91 6. Jaimon Lidsey 4.36 7. Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 4.39. Team Manager: Mark Lemon
REFEREE: M. Bates
Team Meetings Points
Poole 15 33
Ipswich 16 33
Belle Vue 17 31
Swindon 14 24
Wolverhampton 15 22
King's Lynn 15 19
Peterborough 16 17
WHAT'S THE STORY?
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The 'Tru Plant' Witches are back in action at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday for another top of the table clash against the Belle Vue Aces. Ipswich returned to winning ways last week with a 41-37 win over Wolves in a meeting that was cut short due to thunderstorms and heavy rain. Although they have only been defeated once on home shale all season, Ritchie Hawkins is keen for his side to improve their home form in what remains of the league season, making better starts to meetings and he will be hoping that things start to come together at Foxhall on Thursday against the Aces.
With the new averages for August, comes a change in riding order.
Jake Allen's form sees him move into the main body of the team and he rides at number four whilst Krystian Pieszczek drops to reserve. The Polish rider has held his own in the heat leader position in recent months and will hope to be a force at reserve, continuing on the strength the team has had all season at the bottom end of the side. Danny King had a good British Final at the National Speedway Stadium and took second place on the night and although disappointed not to win the event, it was a positive night for the skipper, showing that he is one of Britain's best.
Chris Harris also reached the final that night, finishing fourth whilst Richard Lawson and Edward Kennett both exited after the qualifying heats. The Witches will be keen to begin gathering momentum at Foxhall and become a force at home and a win over the high-flying Belle Vue would be the perfect way to start.
FROM THE MANAGER…
'Tru Plant' Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins looks ahead to the clash…
"It has been a while since we had a really good home performance and it would be really nice to put in a very good performance. Belle Vue will come stronger than they did earlier in the year, so we need to perform, and we are looking for a good performance. We scraped through last week and we were poor against Poole so it would be nice to replicate our away performances at Foxhall.
"Krystian has been riding well and has spent most of the season in the tough number five position. He is going well and hopefully he can make the most of the move to number seven like Jake and Cam did. Jake deserves to progress into the team and that is what he wanted to do, and his performances have deserved it. The way he has been riding, he has been beating anyone and everyone anyway, so I am sure he will do at number four.
"Belle Vue will come looking to win because they need a few points away from home despite looking pretty secure in the play-offs at the moment.
"They will want at least a point but the main objective for us is to win and I want a good performance and if we do that, we will win by more than six.
"Monday's British Final showed how far Danny has come from this time last year. We left disappointed that he didn't win it though. Bomber (Chris Harris) put in a good performance but it was always going to be hard from gate four in the final.
"I was really pleased to see him go well and that should boost his confidence. Richard missed out on the semi-final by a point and if Eddie had started with the other bike, he would have reached the semis."
Belle Vue currently sit third in the Premiership table and although they may look a safe bet for the play-offs, they will be wary that teams below them have meetings in hand to catch up. The Aces have raced the most meetings in the division and the most at home and they will be keen to pick up some points on the road to make their position a little more secure.
Their away form is mixed, last time out they were thrashed at Swindon and they have been beaten heavily on a few occasions on their travels but have two four-point wins to their name at Wolves and Peterborough.
Grand Prix reserve Max Fricke leads the Aces and has enjoyed a fantastic year so far, competing in three Grand Prix and reaching the final in the Swedish Grand Prix. He also picked up a bronze medal with Australia in the Speedway of Nations.
They are strong in the heat leader department with Kenneth Bjerre at five who is also having a good season as he became Danish champion earlier this season. Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen has been signed to replace Tero Aarnio at reserve after Aarnio suffered broken ribs in a crash last week, while Dan Bewley has a back injury and Nick Morris guests.