Dreadful track - dreadful result
IT was like staging a Premiership football match on a park pitch or the Epsom Derby at a point-to-point course.The East of England showground speedway track was in a dreadful condition for last night's Sky Sports Elite League meeting.
By Elvin King
IT was like staging a Premiership football match on a park pitch or the Epsom Derby at a point-to-point course.
The East of England showground speedway track was in a dreadful condition for last night's Sky Sports Elite League meeting.
There was more entertainment to be had from watching traffic on the not-so-distant A1 than what took place on the track in the opening nine races.
And for Chris Louis, who has suffered more than his fair share of pain in his career, and Robert Miskowiak, who took a nasty tumble in his opening ride, the conditions were too hard to handle.
Both failed to score a point, leaving second-in-the-table Ipswich with no chance of overhauling top-of-the-table Peterborough.
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The galling thing was that there was no excuse for such bad preparation as it had been the warmest day of the year with no rain - and no threat of rain.
It was left to the Ipswich second strings to provide the aggression necessary to beat the conditions and they claimed five-ones in heats two and eight to keep the visitors within range.
However, the strong-looking Panthers gradually increased their lead in the second half of the meeting.
Piotr Protasiewicz looked good in his last two races and earned six points as a tactical rider in heat 14 and went within one bend of beating former Witch Hans Andersen in the final race.
Andersen has now clocked four consecutive maximums for Peter-borough and on this form they must be one of the favourites to win the league.
However, they were helped by the dreadful state of their circuit.
It was graded continuously between races until it settled down and the entertainment value was nil until Andersen went from third to first in heat ten.
With their good record at Foxhall Stadium, and with ex-Ipswich riders Andersen and the in-form Jesper B Jensen in their side, the Panthers will be favourites to take the aggregate bonus point when the teams ride the return in Suffolk.
Heat one saw Louis look very uneasy and he finished a long way adrift.
The surface proved no problem for the flying Andersen, however, who won easily with 16-year old Jonas Raun in third place.
Ipswich showed plenty of fight when their two reserves made a splendid start and scored a comfortable five-one.
The Panthers hit back in the next race after yet more grading with Miskowiak crashing heavily on the third bend of heat three.
The Witches had around 100 fans housed on the grassed bank on the back straight and they gave the Ipswich man a clap after he got back on his feet and returned to the pits.
In the re-run, it was an easy maximum success for the home riders.
Ryan Sullivan gated to win heat four with Mark Loram passing Ulrich Ostergaard on the first lap.
The Ipswich man was then re-passed by Ostergaard before Loram finally got the better of the Panther for second place on the second
In heat five, Kim Jansson gated from the favoured inside trap, but was passed by Jensen on the fourth bend with Louis a long way adrift yet again.
Heat six saw another processional four laps with Andersen winning in comfort.
Sullivan was chased by Protasiewicz in the following race, but still won with yards to spare with Miskowiak riding tentatively at the back.
There was success for Ipswich in heat eight when Jansson passed Ostergaard on the back straight and Carl Wilkinson went beyond the same rider on the fourth bend with a determined pass to put Ipswich back in the match with a gritty five-one.
In heat nine, Niels Kristian Iversen flew past Loram on the outside on the back straight to win the race with Jaros finishing last.
At last there was a race worthy of the name, after Ipswich were in a five-one position after the second bend of heat ten.
Andersen then showed his class when he passed Miskowiak on the back straight and showing top speed when going beyond Protasiewicz on the third circuit.
Ostergaard claimed one point when he passed Miskowiak just before Andersen took the lead.
After the interval the track improved greatly and although Sullivan won heat 11, Jansson deserved his big cheer from the Ipswich fans for passing Richard Hall on the line for third place.
Wilkinson replaced Miskowiak in heat 12, but Ostergaard went past Wilkinson with an eye-catching move on the second bend to
follow home Jensen who ensured his eighth successive double figure score.
Peterborough increased their lead in race 13 when Loram wore the black and white helmet colour but failed to double his points as he finished third and did not beat a home rider.
Jaros, who came in for the disappointing Louis, finished last.
Protasiewicz had better luck than Loram when his victory in race 14 as a tactical rider earned him six points, with Wilkinson being passed by both home riders after making a good start.
Andersen won the final race, but it was not until the last bend that he passed Protasiewicz to take the chequered flag.