Back-up fails for Witches

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches' losing league start to the speedway season was stretched to three meetings as their reserves again failed to come up with the goods.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches' losing league start to the speedway season was stretched to three meetings as their reserves again failed to come up with the goods.

Tom P Madsen and Danny Bird only managed to beat out-of-his-depth Swedish youngster Peter Ljung at Arlington Stadium on Saturday night.

And with Chris Slabon and Paul Hurry also struggling it was left to a superb Scott Nicholls to keep the visitors to within six points with two races left.


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Nicholls was unbeaten from his six starts and his efforts made a mockery of his meagre six points in Thursday's home defeat against Poole Pirates.

Jarek Hampel shot from the gate on more than one occasion, being passed by both Eastbourne riders in heat one and then crashing when leading the final race, ahead of Nicholls.

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If Ipswich are to make any impression on the Sky Sports Elite League this year then they must get both Madsen and Bird in gear – as both had failed to beat an opponent against the Pirates.

The club will also need more away from home by Hurry and Chris Slabon.

Hampel went too wide in patchy conditions on the third bend of the second lap and both Mark Loram and Dean Barker flew past.

Bird gated well from gate three in heat two, but was passed by an impressive Adam Shields on the second lap.

Say what you like about the Eastbourne track, but there was a pass in virtually every race, with Hurry going round the outside of Joonas Kylmakorpi on the last corner of heat three.

Nicholls also went round the outside on the final turn to pass Joe Screen and win the following race.

After a tremendous gate – from the outside – and first lap by Bird, he flattered to deceive and second lap errors saw him go from second to last in heat six.

David Norris made a rocket start in heat nine, but Nicholls was good enough to take the lead round the first corner. However, the Eagles stretched their lead in race ten when Hurry crashed when Ipswich were in a 3-3 situation.

Loram had passed Daniel Nermark just before the spill with the referee appearing hasty to stop the race – and awarding the result – as Hurry was off the circuit before the riders came round again.

Hampel was passed by Screen on the third lap of heat 11 as Ipswich lost a 5-1 situation and Hurry was passed by Shields on the second lap when tactical substitute Hampel missed the start in heat 12.

Nicholls and Hampel did combine expertly in the following race, before Nermark showed spirit to pass Shields on the last circuit of the penultimate race – only to be pipped by the impressive Australian in the run-in.

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