Witches tame the Panthers

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches got their season nicely back on a track with a comfortable victory over Peterborough.

Mike Bacon

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches got their season nicely back on a track with a comfortable victory over Peterborough.

And they were indebted to guest Rory Schlein who answered a lunchtime call up from the Witches management to produce a superb display that would have seen him collect a paid maximum if he hadn't suffered clutch problems in his final ride.

Coventry star Schlein was drafted in after Priotr Swiderski was ruled out of the meeting on doctor's advice after suffering a throat virus and after the Witches two recent defeats at home to Poole and at Belle Vue, this could have been a tricky encounter.

But straight from the off the Witches tore into the Panthers, with Schlien and Tobi Kroner netting a 5-1 maximum in the opening race.

It was to set the Witches up nicely for the rest of the meeting and a good-sized Foxhall crowd went home happy with their side still very much part of the play-off scene.

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All the Witches played their part and where as in recent encounters the Witches haven't produced many race winners, last night the home score chart was littered with them.

You could see the confidence gaining in the Ipswich side as the meeting wore on and none more so than Kroner, who had been suffering lately at Foxhall. Jarek Hampel suffered machine problems in his opening ride but from there on in only dropped one point from his next five races while Robert Miskowiak and Steve Johnson were also well in attendance at the Ipswich party.

Peterborough were poorly served by their star man Hans Andersen who will have gained little confidence with his performance just two days ahead of the British Grand Prix at Cardiff on Saturday night.

Indeed just four race victories tells its own story for the Panthers but for the Witches fans, it mattered not. After Ipswich's opening maximum Johnston had to work hard in the next to split the Peterborough pairing on lap one, while Schlien produced a super pass on Kenneth Bjerre on the final lap in an exciting heat three.

Miskowiak gated to victory in the next and Hampel, out on a different bike, looked more comfortable behind Schlien in heat five.

The Witches were already well ahead although Daniel King produced a super pass on Miskowiak in heat eight before Bjerre won heat nine as the visitors rallied. But that was as good as it got for them as Kroner shot from the outside to win heat eight with the fast-starting Hample and Schlien putting the Witches 10 ahead after heat nine.

Johnston cut back superbly on the second turn of the next heat as the Witches went to town and Miskowiak saw off the tacticle ride of Andersen as the Panthers threw the last throw of the dice. Former Witch Andersen did at last win a race in heat 13, but it was too little too late from him and there was disappointment for Schlien when he packed up well ahead in the penultimate race. Kroner's new-found confidence saw him deservedly get a nominated ride in the last heat and with Hampel shutting Andersen off on the first turn the Witches finished as they had started with another maximum 5-1 to seal a comfortable 54-38 victory.

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