Witches stung by Bees

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches crashed to an embarrassing defeat at Foxhall Stadium last night. The Suffolk side, who had won their last seven home meetings, were completely outclassed by a rampant Bees side, who dominated throughout, winning 12 of the 15 heats in convincing fashion.

By Mike Bacon

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches crashed to an embarrassing defeat at Foxhall Stadium last night. The Suffolk side, who had won their last seven home meetings, were completely outclassed by a rampant Bees side, who dominated throughout, winning 12 of the 15 heats in convincing fashion.

Although this was always going to be a tough test for the Witches, their lack of quality was sadly on show throughout and only skipper Chris Louis showed his true colours with an excellent display that included a six-point tactical ride in heat nine that brought the Witches to within three points of the visitors, even though at that point it was only their second heat victory.

However, it was a false dawn and the Bees turned up the heat with four 5-1 maximums from the final five races as Ipswich wilted badly in the final third of the meeting.


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Louis apart, no Witch won a heat and there were particularly disappointing performances from Kim Jansson and Robert Miskowiak, both of whom have been in good form at home for the Suffolk side.

Coventry were led by the impressive Scott Nicholls, who raced to a paid maximum, while British champion Chris Harris was also undefeated, although he crashed out in his third ride after clashing with Witches star Zivi Suchecki.

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There was a flare up in the pits after heat 12, when Coventry's Rory Schlein felt he was manhandled by some of the Ipswich track staff as they tried to get the Aussie to put his cut-out round his wrist.

It was handbags at dawn and it was only a shame some of the Witches riders didn't show as much appetite for a fight as some people who were not racing.

Coventry took the lead as early as the first heat with Nicholls and Oliver Allen gaining a 4-2 and after a ragged first start to the next, Martin Smolinski took advantage of a re-run to win comfortably.

Louis won the next and there was a real scrap between Miskowiak and Smolinski in heat four with elbows flying in a harum scarum first lap.

Nicholls made a sharp turn coming out of the second bend in heat five, and Jansson slid off on the first turn of the next, with Harris winning the re-run.

Miskowiak was having a complete nightmare and after an excellent gate from the inside in heat seven, he made a total hash of the second turn as both Coventry riders nipped through to establish an eight-point advantage.

Louis and Suchecki's 8-1 in heat nine brought the scores close, but from then on it was one-way traffic with the Coventry side either gating to victory, or as in Nicholls case, coming from the back to pass Jesper Jensen in heat 13.

Some would suggest the Bee's final flourish rather flattered them, but that was not the case, they were a class apart, up for the challenge, and the Witches had no answers.

mike.bacon@archant.com

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