Boxall shines as Witches win
STEVE Boxall, the Ipswich Evening Star Witches' teenager, produced a dream home debut for the Suffolk side last night.The Kent-based youngster and Witches' number eight, in only his second meeting for the side and his first at Foxhall, raced to three paid heat wins as the home team kept their play-off hopes on track with a comfortable victory over Belle Vue Aces.
By Mike Bacon
STEVE Boxall, the Ipswich Evening Star Witches' teenager, produced a dream home debut for the Suffolk side last night.
The Kent-based youngster and Witches' number eight, in only his second meeting for the side and his first at Foxhall, raced to three paid heat wins as the home team kept their play-off hopes on track with a comfortable victory over Belle Vue Aces.
Boxall belied his lack of Elite League experience - this was only his second meeting at this level - with a terrific performance that must have had the Ipswich management seriously eyeing him up for a team place next year.
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Fast from the start, Boxall showed track craft aplenty that had the Foxhall faithful on their feet applauding the youngster for his efforts.
This was another solid show from Ipswich who are enjoying a fine season with good crowds and exciting racing.
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Aces Grand Prix star Jason Crump was the individual hero of the night, racing to an 18-point maximum, but it was the Witches who, not for the first time, showed strength in depth and their
victory was never in doubt.
The Witches shot into a perfect 10-2 lead after just two races as the Aces wondered what had hit them.
While Protasiewicz and Jansson's first heat maximum was a routine effort from the gate, heat two saw the Ipswich reserves do it the hard way.
It was Belle Vue's Tom P Madsen who made the start, but Boxall, in his first competitive race around Foxhall, was soon after him and rounded him on the fourth turn to take the lead.
Tobi Kroner was also up for the challenge and he repeated the same manoeuvre on the beleaguered Madsen.
Kenneth Bjerre was the next visiting rider to feel the force of an Ipswich pass as Witches' skipper Chris Louis tracked him for two laps before bursting past him down the start/finish line going into lap three.
It was a storming start by the home side, although the Aces did hit back with world champion-elect Crump winning comfortably in heat four.
Heat five was another corker as Joe Screen took everyone wide on the first turn and his partner Simon Stead nipped through to join him at the front.
Again, it was Louis in pursuit and he was all over Stead, first trying the inside line and then the outside, before splitting the Aces pair on the final bend in exciting fashion.
However the Witches' early eight-point lead was now just four and was not helped in heat six as Protasiewicz touched the tapes and started 15 metres back.
Crump won easily and it took Protasiewicz all four laps to overhaul Madsen, which he did on the line, winning by a tyre's width.
Boxall produced an electric start from the outside in the next with Mark Loram tucked in behind as the Witches regained their eight-point advantage and Kim Jansson won heat eight before Robert Miskowiak, who had yet to score a point, brought the Foxhall crowd to their feet as he led Crump down the back straight in heat nine.
The young Pole, under severe pressure from Crump, made a mistake on the fourth turn of lap two and that was all the Aces' star man needed as he nipped through for victory.
Protasiewicz won his second race of the night as Ipswich's lead grew to ten points at 35-25 and that meant a tactical ride for Screen.
However, he could not catch Loram as Boxall was shown the toughness of the Elite League, given no room by Stead, in a heat advantage for the visitors.
Boxall wasn't fazed and was at it again in heat 12 as he held off a ferocious challenge from James Wright to follow Miskowiak home as Ipswich took their lead to 12 points.
The classy Crump took a tactical ride in the next and duly won, but Protasiewicz did well to pin Stead on the inside line, although it was the Aces who picked up a
The Witches were ahead by nine points with two heats to go and Louis had to work hard to pass Bjerre on the second lap of heat 14, but with Boxall missing the start, Ipswich could do no more than a drawn heat.
That left Crump to finish off a perfect night for him, but it was far from a perfect night for the Aces and Ipswich will feel they have done enough to secure the bonus point in the return leg next month.