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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Horror smash mars win for Witches

PUBLISHED: 13:19 28 May 2004 | UPDATED: 04:54 02 March 2010

BELLE Vue rode the last nine races in last night's Sky Bet Elite League match with just four riders.

Already using the rider replacement facility to cover for the injured Toni Svab, they lost Kenneth Bjerre and Joe Screen after the most spectacular crash Foxhall Stadium has seen for some while.

BELLE Vue rode the last nine races in last night's Sky Bet Elite League match with just four riders.

Already using the rider replacement facility to cover for the injured Toni Svab, they lost Kenneth Bjerre and Joe Screen after the most spectacular crash Foxhall Stadium has seen for some while.

Bjerre suffered a painful back injury and had to be taken to hospital, while Screen suffered concussion after both crashed at speed into the first and second bend fence along with home rider Daniel King in heat seven.

Ipswich went on to complete a comfortable double and collect three points in their quest to win the championship.

Both visiting reserves Rory Schlein and Scott Robson ended up having a maximum seven rides, with the Aces having to ride two heats with just one rider.

In the circumstances, with Grand Prix favourite and Foxhall expert Jason Crump unbeaten yet again on Suffolk soil the visitors did well to keep the score as close as it was.

They even managed two heat wins while so severely depleted. Hans Andersen made the best start in heat seven and Daniel King also jumped out fast from the tapes.

The youngster was sandwiched between Screen on the inside and Bjerre on the outside. Screen appeared to push King wide and all three riders collided and men and machines flew into the air in an almighty mix of metal, skin and bone.

When the dust settled, King was the other side of the air fence, Screen was knocked cold for a while and Bjerre was in difficulties with a severe blow to his back.

The track doctor confirmed that Bjerre suffered "a significant blow to his lower back and that he was taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays". He had full movement in his legs.

Two of the static metal poles that hold the fence together were bent by the impact. It would be fair to say that the tried and trusted portable wooden fence used at Foxhall for years - until the Witches were forced to change this year - would have offered better protection, certainly to Bjerre.

The referee was far from happy and after having a close look he is going to make a special report.

Fans had to be patient and it was almost an hour after the crash that a fresh ambulance arrived so that the match could continue.

The pre-match talking point of whether Belle Vue were trying to gain an advantage by using Poole's Antonio Lindback as a guest for rookie Tobias Johansson became insignificant at this point.

And the move looked like back-firing anyway with Lindback, who is averaging 8.46 points a meeting and was paid for 17 points on Wednesday, was having his second nightmare Foxhall match of the season.

The rider replacement facility for Toni Svab brought the Aces just one point - Ipswich gained eight points for its use in place of Scott Nicholls - and Crump's tactical rider six points in heat six pumped up his tally to an 18-point maximum.

Schlein looked a talented rider on a night when every home man did his bit. Chris Louis made a succession of aggressive starts and enjoyed a good night before racing off to catch the 1am ferry from Dover for a meeting in Germany.

Andersen started by pipping Screen on the line in heat one and Kim Jansson passed Schlein on the fourth bend of heat two. Jansson burst two air fence panels when he crashed in heat four and the repair had a Heath Robinson look about it with part air-fence part wooden fence replacements.

Danny Bird passed Schlein on the fourth turn in the re-run. With Ipswich in the driving seat from the time of the heat seven crash, it needed King to have the fans on their toes when he turned on what looked like a jet engine to rocket round the outside of both Belle Vue riders on the second turn of heat 11.

It was amazing stuff and the youngster is turning into a real talent. Schlein was used as a tactical rider in heat 14, but suffered an engine failure at the tapes and was excluded.

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