AIR RAGE

FOXHALL Stadium track doctor Simon Marsh has joined the call to replace the controversial air fence for Ipswich Evening Star Witches home matches.The consultant surgeon has had to send two riders to hospital in the last two meetings staged at a circuit where the Airtek fence was made compulsory at the start of the season.

By Elvin King

FOXHALL Stadium track doctor Simon Marsh has joined the call to replace the controversial air fence for Ipswich Evening Star Witches home matches.

The consultant surgeon has had to send two riders to hospital in the last two meetings staged at a circuit where the Airtek fence was made compulsory at the start of the season.

And he spoke out after teenage Witches star Daniel King was hurt in last night's 46-44 Elite League defeat by Oxford.

Two weeks ago it was Belle Vue's Kenneth Bjerre who was kept in hospital overnight with bad bruising to his back.

The impact of his crash on the first bend disintegrated the fence and bent two static iron posts that hold the structure in place.

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Last night King hit the same part of the fence at speed, having escaped injury in the Bjerre crash when he somehow slid under the fence and on to the stock car track.

He was also taken to hospital where it was found no bones were broken and the 17-year-old was allowed to go home after he passed urine that did not contain any blood. No spleen damage was found.

Marsh said: “In my opinion the Airtek fence makes the Foxhall track more dangerous rather than less.

“There have been more incidents this season than in the 15 years I have attended speedway meetings at the stadium.

“It is the metal posts behind the fence that are the main problem. I sent a report a fortnight ago to the authorities giving my view on the fence and I spoke to last night's referee.

“Another report will be going to the Speedway Control Bureau.”

Foxhall's traditional wooden collapsible fence had an excellent accident record for many years and, on the evidence so far this season, it served the riders better than the current one.

The Sky Bet Elite League made Airtek fences compulsory in 2004, and they work perfectly well when attached to permanent barriers at places like Peterborough and Poole.

“Will we have to wait for a broken back before something is done about replacing our Airtek fence?” asked Witches director Magda Louis, who went to see King in hospital as soon as the match finished.

“We have got to get our old wooden fence back in operation. We knew before the season started the Airtek fence would be a problem as it requires static poles behind it to hold it up.

“We sent a report, and so did the referee, after our last meeting and we must now make sure that some action is taken. It cannot go on any longer.

“We don't want to have a broken back on our conscience. We like to win but the most important thing is that riders stay healthy.”

King confirmed to referee Paul Carrington before going to hospital that he caught his hip on one of the metal poles which hold the fence up. This will be included in the referee's report.

While King ended up in hospital, his team-mate Kim Jansson was also in pain.

He put his shoulder back in place himself after it came out of joint when he flew headlong over his handlebars in the re-run of heat two. The Swede also suffered concussion and took no further part in the meeting.

“To be honest I cannot remember what happened,” said Jansson. “I am beginning to recall bits and pieces and have been sitting outside the stadium trying to collect my thoughts.

“My memory went and my shoulder hurts like hell, and I will to se how it settles down. It has happened to me before and I put that shoulder back myself.”

Ipswich asset Jarek Hampel failed to make the meeting after driving directly to Cardiff for tomorrow's British Grand Prix, but former FIM speedway supremo Gunther Sorber was in the crowd.

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