Witches pay the penalty for slow start

IPSWICH Witches paid the penalty for a slow start when they lost their opening Elite League meeting of the season at Foxhall Stadium last night.The home side were eight points adrift after just three races, and although they fought back valiantly they had to concede second best by the end of a see-saw exciting contest.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Witches paid the penalty for a slow start when they lost their opening Elite League meeting of the season at Foxhall Stadium last night.

The home side were eight points adrift after just three races, and although they fought back valiantly they had to concede second best by the end of a see-saw exciting contest.

In the rather complicated new scoring system the visitors took home three points - with the Witches pocketing nothing in a disappointing start to their league campaign.


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The home side were bound to be rusty after just one curtailed home meeting and one away from home and they started that way with a 5-1 to the Bees, a team fancied by many to take the title this year.

Dawid Stachyra lost his bearings and careered into the fourth bend fence on the second lap of heat two, with Carl Wilkinson doing all he could, including briefly passing Jordan Frampton, to win the re-run.

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Coventry kept their winning run going in the next heat despite skipper Daniel King pushing Oliver Allen all the way to the tapes.

The Witches found their feet in the following race when Piotr Swiderski and Wilkinson sped from the tapes to slam home a timely 5-1 as the latter showed assurance in holding off Rory Schlein - a rider who rode successfully for Ipswich at the end of last season.

And the home sided were back on terms in the next race with King and Tobi Kroner starting well. Chris Harris passed Kroner down the back straight but then slid off on the entry to the third bend on the final circuit as he chased King to give Ipswich a 5-1.

The dramatic recovery continued in heat six when debut-maker Morten Risager - a former Coventry rider - raced round the outside of the first two bends to go alongside the fast-gating Jarek Hampel. The Pole was happy to let the Dane take the front while he concentrated on holding off Schlein.

Ipswich were seeking a fourth consecutive 5-1 in heat seven, but a maximum success for the visitors levelled the scores up again after seven races.

This titanic tussle continued in the following heat when the Bees re-took the lead thanks to a 4-2 from Ben Barker and Frampton, and Coventry increased their lead after Kroner slowed to a halt when second behind Schlein on the third lap of race nine.

Ipswich needed to get back into the meeting in heat 10 and after Allen picked up grip to dismantle the second bend fence the re-run saw the Witches recover ground with a 4-2. The home side were in a 5-1 position after half a lap in heat 11 before Stachyra was passed by Harris before crashing on the second lap.

In the re-run, the first 3-3 of the evening took place with Swiderski holding off Harris down the back straight for an important win.

Coventry gained a crucial 5-1 in heat 12 but the Witches kept in the hunt thanks to a Hampel win in heat 13.

Edward Kennett re-passed King going into the second lap to win the penultimate race and leave Ipswich needing a 5-1 in the final race to draw the meeting, but they had to settle for a 4-2 as Hampel took the chequered flag but Swiderski could only finish third.

Hampel was again on top form in his final four rides, but Witches paid a heavy price for his failure to spark in his opening ride.

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