Chris of life for flyaway Witches
Ipswich Witches 49 King's Lynn 35: CHRIS Louis got back to top form as Ipswich treated their fans to a Bank Holiday treat with a win over neighbours King's Lynn at a sunny Foxhall Stadium.
By Elvin King
IPSWICH WITCHES 49 KING'S LYNN 35
CHRIS Louis got back to top form as Ipswich treated their fans to a Bank Holiday treat with a win over neighbours King's Lynn at a sunny Foxhall Stadium.
The visiting Knights were not expected to offer too much opposition, with skipper Nicki Pedersen aggravating his shoulder injury in a fall on Wednesday and Travis McGowan breaking a bone in his hand.
But they put up a plucky show and it needed the top four Ipswich riders to be at their best, with Louis reaching double figures for the first time this year.
Scott Nicholls and Craig Boyce both scored maximums, while Jeremy Doncaster's only dropped points came when he was involved in a spectacular spill in nine.
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And with Joonas Kylmakorpi ending the match with two unbeaten rides, Ipswich had the Sky Sports Elite League points in the bag by heat 13.
The match was aborted after the penultimate race because the ambulance was needed to take a spectator to hospital.
It was just as well the riders in the Ipswich team proper were at their best as the Ipswich reserves showed the same level of disappointment as last year, with only Danny Bird, on his full debut, beating a Lynn rider.
Carl Baldwin continued to struggle although he was bulked on the first corner of heat seven. Nicholls, riding his 200th match for Ipswich, was good value and gave the big crowd plenty to cheer as he came through from the back with great style and confidence.
It was a mark of the weakness of the Lynn side that they had to replace injured heat leader McGowan with a rider from the Premier League, and Adam Shields from the Isle of Wight struggled to get to grips with the match.
But with Sebastian Ulamek doing well and Emi Kramer winning the second heat – Lynn's only heat wins were in the opening two races – it was not until Boyce, Nicholls and company got riding that Ipswich took control.
The match was curtailed after heat 14 because a spectator suffered a suspected heart attack and the ambulance was needed to rush to the hospital. It was agreed by both sides – with the evening match at Lynn in mind – to forgo the final race rather than wait 30-odd minutes and face making it a late start at the Norfolk Arena.
Ulamek gated to win heat one, with Kylmakorpi passed by Tom Madsen on the third lap. Both Lynn riders went beyond Bird on the third and fourth bends of heat two – and Lynn were six points ahead.
But Ipswich did not panic and with Doncaster making the start and Boyce passing Artur Pietrzyk on the fourth bend, the deficit was reduced to two points.
Nicholls missed the start in heat four but went outside Kramer on the second lap and then inside Ulamek on the following circuit to record his first win.
Boyce and Doncaster, riding in his kevlars under his racing shirt as his trousers are being re-aligned, put Ipswich ahead in heat five, and Louis then gatedto win the next race. A 5-1 looked on until Ulamek passed Kylmakorpi on the second lap.
Two drawn heats followed, with Kylmakorpi winning his first Witches race in heat eight, before Ulamek took a heavy fall in heat nine.
Referee Frank Ebdon held the tapes for some while and Ulamek had eased off his throttle by the time they were raised. It looked a case for a re-start for an unsatisfactory start. But the riders carried on with Doncaster pushing Freddie Eriksson for second place on the second lap.
He spun round, and Ulamek had to take avoiding action. He lifted and picked up speed as he went hurtling through the fence to land on his back – with the bike on top – 20 yards on to the stock car track.
Thankfully the Pole was able to walk back go the pits, but needed lengthy attention from the doctor before the race was re-run.
Louis and Kylmakorpi then scored their first 5-1 before Nicholls beat two tactical substitutes in heat 11.
Boyce kept up his efficient and good work to win heat 12 and the match was confirmed when Louis cut inside Ulamek in great style on the third bend – with Nicholls racing through as well to give the home a memorable 5-1.
Doncaster, complaining of a neck injury after his tumble, looked none the worse for wear when winning heat 14, with Bird gaining a good point although being passed by Eriksson on the laps lap.
An expected win for Ipswich, but still a reasonable match and room for optimism as long as the reserves can start scoring points.