Witches triumph in Foxhall nail-biter

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches put more pressure on Poole and Lakeside at the top of the Elite League table with a nail-biting, hard-fought victory at Foxhall Stadium last night.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches put more pressure on Poole and Lakeside at the top of the Elite League table with a nail-biting, hard-fought victory at Foxhall Stadium last night.

Already appearing set to secure a top-four placing, the Witches are still looking to move up from fourth to a top-two finish to secure a home draw in the one-leg play-off semi-final.

This will require a strong end to the regular season, and these two points helped that cause. But with four races to go a fourth home league defeat looked on the cards, with Wolves looking capable of snapping up their first away league win of the year.

It was an out-of-sorts home side for much of the meeting and the opening 11 heats saw them take just three chequered flags.

Jarek Hampel summed up the early part of the night when he was passed by Wolves reserve Nicolai Klindt in heat nine, but the Pole won two of last four races to help secure a thrilling victory.

Most Read

Rory Schlein was making his home debut since completing a loan move from Coventry for the rest of the season, and it was the first time Ipswich had fielded a seven-man side at home since Chris Louis was injured against Eastbourne on April 24.

The evening did not start well for Tobi Kroner as he ploughed through the tapes in the opening race in his haste to get going, and with Klindt making a spring-heeled start in the reserves' race the scores were level after two races.

Hampel overcame a slight radar malfunction on the second bend to speed to victory in the next heat, and with Robert Miskowiak finishing third the home side went ahead.

Former Witch Jesper B Monberg - formerly Jensen in a former life before marrying and taking his wife's name - was a tad fortunate to be recalled for the re-run of heat four after losing control on the first turn and almost taking Schlein into the fence with him.

When the tapes went up again Monberg was away like an Olympic sprinter to take the chequered flag ahead of a chasing Schlein. Chris Schramm took a valuable point off heat two winner Klindt.

Fredrik Lindgren sped down the back straight after an outside gate to overtake Hampel in heat five and Monberg made it five wins in six heats in the next - the bang on the head he received in a meeting on Monday appeared to give him some extra zest.

Schlein made a superb first turn in heat seven, taking Niels-Kristian Iversen wide to allow Steve Johnston to come through on the inside. Iversen had the power to re-pass Johnston down the back straight, but Schlein had enough about him to pick up his first home victory as a regular Ipswich rider.

Heat eight saw the meeting turn on its head when the previously point-less Ales Dryml and Kenneth Hansen notched a surprise 5-1 after a fast gate by Dryml. Kroner was squeezed out going down the back straight between Hansen and the fence and eased off to such an extent that he was effectively out of the race.

At last there was an exciting race to watch, but it was not good news for Ipswich as Monberg sailed to another win with Klindt causing a major surprise by passing Witches No. 1 Hampel in style on the final circuit.

Iversen won for the first time in race 10, and it was just as well for the home side that David Howe was having a dreadful night as he trailed in last yet again.

Lindgren maintained Wolves' three-point lead with his third win of the night in race 11

Hampel gained Ipswich's third race victory of the night in heat 12, and with Johnston taking third place, the Witches pulled to within two points.

Monberg lifted coming out of the start of heat 13 as Ipswich levelled thanks to a Swiderski race win, with Monberg sliding off when last on the fourth lap.

And the Ipswich late recovery continued in the penultimate race when skipper Johnston led from the front, to be followed home by Robert Miskowiak who went round the outside of Howe coming out of the second bend.

Wolves needed a 5-1 in the final heat to draw the meeting, but Hampel and Swiderski had Witches fans on their feet to celebrate a magnificent comeback with a maximum heat success.

Ipswich: P Swiderski 9+3, T Kroner 4, J Hampel 12, R Miskowiak 4+2, R Schlein 8, S Johnston 9+3, C Schramm 3+2.

Wolverhampton: F Lindgren 11, A Dryml 3, N-K Iversen 10, D Howe 1, J P Monberg 9, K Hansen 2+1, N Klindt 5+1.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter