Witches see off the Devils with a fine performance to grab all three Premier League points
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Witches 58 Plymouth Devils 36
Ipswich Witches beat both the rain and Plymouth Devils to pick up all three Premier League points at Foxhall Stadium.
With rain falling over much of Suffolk, Foxhall Heath had escaped it all day and it wasn’t until heat six last night did it start to drizzle.
By then the Witches had already set about their visitors from the West Country, attacking the track well and winning plenty of heats to mean the result of this one was never in doubt.
Every Witch was good value, with Sam Masters, guesting for the injured Richie Worrall, Rohan Tungate and Morten Risager especially impressive.
Considering the conditions there was plenty of excellent racing and the track was in great nick.
Skipper Ritchie Hawkins got his side off to a great start with a determined piece of racing, slipping past Ben Barker down the backstraight and then roaring past Taylor Poole on lap two of heat one, with Masters nipping through as the Witches got off to a perfect start. Hawkins had set a positive tone and Adam Ellis rode a good race in heat two, but couldn’t find a way past the fast-starting Czech rider Sam Simota.
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Cameron Heeps went past Roland Benko on the final lap in a shared heat.
Former Witch Poole was making some great starts and he led from start to finish in the next. When Gino Manzares suffered a puncture on the final lap, Plymouth pulled two points back.
Tungate and Ellis were away in heat four, as the rain started to fall. But Josef Franc barged his way past Ellis as the racing continued at a furious pace. Quite rightly the heats were coming thick and fast with the weather closing in and Risager was in a hurry as he beat Barker in the next, with the Witches stretching their lead to six, at 18-12.
It needed brave riding as the track became slippery and Hawkins produced just that with a stunning pass on both Devils in two bends on lap one of heat six.
Following Masters home, it meant the Witches were now 10 ahead and they increased that to 12 after Tungate won his second race, with Heeps passing Adam Roynon, who was returning from injury.
Franc was on a tactical ride in heat eight and he and partner Simota shot to the front. Hawkins did his best to try to pass, but overcooked it, as the Devils pulled six points back with the race awarded.
Conditions were awfully tricky and it was a credit to the riders they were putting on such a show.
Risager roared round Simota to join partner Manzares at the front in heat nine as the Witches got their lead back to 10.
Hawkins went through the tapes at the start of the next but replacement Heeps was away well in the re-run, with Masters proving a successful guest, as he continued his unbeaten run. Barker was the next Devil out on a tactical ride and he and Tungate went at it hammer and tong for four pulsating laps, Tungate showing his quality with a third win on the trot.
Risager won the next before Barker lowered both Tungate and Masters’ colours in heat 13.
The meeting was the Witches now and Manzares showed all his team-riding skills as he and Heeps guaranteed all three points for the home side, while Tungate produced an outrageous pass on Barker in the final race as the Foxhall faithful went home happy.