Witches win but miss out on bonus point
TODD Wiltshire did not win a race but he broke the hearts of Ipswich Witches' supporters at Foxhall Stadium last night.The Australian who rides for Oxford guested for Reading Bulldogs and in the last heat managed to deprive Mark Loram of a maximum evening - and at the same time won the aggregate bonus point for the visitors.
By Elvin King
TODD Wiltshire did not win a race but he broke the hearts of Ipswich Witches' supporters at Foxhall Stadium last night.
The Australian who rides for Oxford guested for Reading Bulldogs and in the last heat managed to deprive Mark Loram of a maximum evening - and at the same time won the aggregate bonus point for the visitors.
At the end of an absorbing and entertaining evening the home team needed a 5-1 from Chris Louis and Loram to gain the extra point having lost 57-38 in the corresponding B Elite League fixture at Smallmead earlier in the season.
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Louis went beyond Wiltshire on the second lap to take the chequered flag and gain his third maximum of the year, but Loram was unable to track down the Reading rider and Ipswich for the fourth meeting running lost out on gaining the aggregate point.
This could prove decisive when the table is completed at the end of the season with Ipswich now needing to get their act together if they are to finish in the top four and qualify for the play offs.
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But they could certainly not be criticised on last night's efforts when the extra point looked well out of their reach before the tapes went up for the first race.
Wiltshire, who rode superbly for Oxford when they visited Foxhall last month, came in in place of Greg Hancock, who has an ear infection but is expected to ride in tomorrow's Grand Prix in Sweden.
Hancock is not the first rider who could be accused of having GP-itus with Poole's Antonio Lindback pulling out of their two meetings this week but expected to ride in Sweden. Wiltshire proved an ideal guest, despite not winning any of his races, while Mark Lemon, the Reading number eight, was a decisive member of the team in the reserve berth, winning two heats and being paid for 12 points.
Lemon has done well at Foxhall in the past and it looked as though Ipswich's job in the final heat had been made easier when he went through the tapes in his desire to make a quick get-a-way.
Zdenek Simota came in to replace him in the last race having sat out the meeting from heat four after having three outings by that time.
The rider replacement facility for Janusz Kolodziej accrued a paid six points, with Ipswich well served by their English riders Louis and Loram yet again.
Louis had some exciting races with his victory over Wiltshire in heat five one of the highlights of the Foxhall season.
Loram has yet to score a full house since his return to Ipswich but he is full value for money and one of the main reasons why attendances are higher this year for Ipswich home meetings.
Robert Miskowiak won two heats to do his job and although Pepe Protasiewicz scored eight in his first three outings he appeared to fall asleep momentarily coming out of the second bend in heat 13 allowing Mattej Zagar to go past and claim third place.
This proved crucial in the end although the Pole says that he is not feeling the effects of his hectic schedule, which sees him riding in this weekend's GP.
Loram is guesting for Eastbourne tonight before taking a well-earned break with the weekend off, and Ipswich do not now have another meeting until they entertain Poole next Thursday.
Ipswich gained revenge for losing at home to Reading earlier in the season - their only Foxhall reverse this year - and they were quick out of their blocks with three 5-1s in the first four races.
Tobi Kroner featured in two of these to show his potential before Louis' magnificent pass over Wiltshire in heat five when the visiting rider was riding for double points.
Louis went past Wiltshire on the inside on lap three, and after being passed again he then went past the visiting rider on the outside on the following lap.
The terraces went wild and although Reading made a mini revival with heat advantages in two of the next three races Ipswich then put their foot on the pedal again with two maximum heat wins in races nine and 10.
The bonus point looked up for grabs but thanks to some determined riding with Travis McGowan passing Kroner on the run-in for third place in heat 12 the visitors kept plugging away and thanks to Wiltshire's second place in heats 13 and significantly 15 they returned with one point in their pocket.