Hampel stars in Witches win

Ipswich Witches 48 Belle Vue Aces 42IPSWICH Evening Star Witches proved they can win without 2008 sensation Piotr Swiderski when they grabbed two Elite League points off Belle Vue at Foxhall Stadium tonight.

Elvin King

Ipswich Witches 48 Belle Vue Aces 42

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches proved they can win without 2008 sensation Piotr Swiderski when they grabbed two Elite League points off Belle Vue at Foxhall Stadium tonight.

Jarek Hampel was the home top scorer with the Pole only losing out to Jason Crump - and then gaining revenge in magnificent fashion in the final race.

But it was Robert Miskowiak who played a vital role on a mixed night for the Pole. Miskowiak has not been in the best of form for Ipswich, in Poland and in Sweden.

And he suffered three last places in his six outings last night.

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But he stood up to be countered when it really mattered - partnering Hampel to a couple of meeting-winning 5-1s, and then passing an impressive Billy Forsberg to confirm victory in heat 14.

The Belle Vue second strings and reserves - Billy Forsberg in particular - gave good support to Crump to keep the meeting alive for so long.

Edward Kennett proved an guest for Ipswich on a night when the rider replacement facility for the injured Swiderski produced a paid six points.

World superstar Crump, who has his father Phil in the pits working on his bikes, got off to his expected good start, and in a super quick time. Hampel passed the inside-gating Patrick Hougaard for second place.

There was thunder and lightning around the heath when Chris Schramm and skipper Steve Johnston put the home side into the lead with the first 5-1 of the night in heat two.

There was official confirmation during the meeting that Rory Schlein has completed his move to Ipswich for the rest of the season from Coventry, and he is due to make his debut at Eastbourne tomorrow week. He was due to ride his last meeting for Coventry last night at Peterborough.

Hampel and Miskowiak thumped home a convincing 5-1 in race three, and in the following heat it needed a brave pass by Kennett on Joe Screen on the third lap to stop the Aces gaining a maximum of their own.

But the visitors reduced the Ipswich lead to just two points with another 4-2 advantage in heat five, and it was raining when the riders came out to compete in the next race.

Kennett was proving an enthusiastic guest for Chris Louis, and he chased Screen with considerable purpose but was unable to overtake in a race where the Aces pulled level after Tobi Kroner slid off on the final turn causing Nick Simmons to lay down his machine.

It was still drizzling - and dark all around - when Forsberg jumped out of the tapes ahead to win heat seven; with Charlie Gjedde slipping off on the first lap before re-mounting.

Screen came in as a rider replacement in heat eight as the rain eased a tad, but he failed to score after a heroic last bend inside pass by Schramm in a race won by Kroner.

This 4-2 advantage to the home side put the Witches into the lead again as the track started to get a little tricky in the wet conditions.

Ipswich needed to get their noses more in front with track expert Crump set to be a very hard man to beat in three of the last five races.

So when heat nine saw Hampel and Miskowiak gate to the Witches third 5-1 of the night it was just what the doctor ordered with the rain now reduced to an occasional spit.

Charlie Gjedde eventually came to life for the visitors when he won heat ten after a two-lap scrap with Kroner, and in the following race Crump duly took the chequered flag. But with Hougaard kept at the back the Witches maintained their four-point advantage.

It was still dry when Schramm took a tumble on the first bend of heat 12. He was allowed back in the re-run, which was won by Hampel ahead of a now fired-up Gjedde.

The drawn heat kept the outcome of the meeting in the melting pot, although Ipswich gladly accepted another 3-3 in heat 13 - won by Crump, but with Screen kept at the back.

Ipswich had a chance to confirm victory in the penultimate race, and this they did when both Miskowiak and Johnston passed Forsberg inside the opening three laps.

This was enough to give the two league points to Ipswich even though Johnston suffered an engine failure on the run-in to the line and was overtaken by Forsberg.

Crump was denied a maximum by a spectacular win by Hampel in the final race, to put the seal on a good night's entertainment.

Ipswich: Rider replacement for P Swiderski, T Kroner 6+1, J Hampel 16, R Miskowiak 7+2, E Kennett 9+1, S Johnston 6+2, C Schramm 4.

Belle Vue Aces: J Crump 14, rider replacement for L Jankowski, C Gjedde 5, B Forsberg 9+1, J Screen 5, N Simmons 2, P Hougaard 7+1.

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