Ipswich Witches fly to vital victory as the Rye House Rockets fizzle out in Premier League
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches secured an impressive 58-35 victory over the Rye House Rockets in the Premier League at Foxhall on Thursday night.
The win was never really in doubt once Ipswich had moved 10 points ahead after just three heats, although Rocket’s skipper Eddie Kennett had a stellar night, scoring paid 17.
Danny King was the Witches’ man of the meeting with paid 13 and leading by example as skipper.
Ipswich included newly-crowned Premier League Pairs champions King and Rohan Tungate in their team, while for Rye House, Kyle Hughes replaced scheduled guest Bradley Wilson-Dean.
Former Witch Adam Ellis, guesting for Rye House, got off to a bad start, being excluded at the start of the race for going too early before the tapes had been raised.
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Danny Maassen, the Rockets’ new signing replaced Ellis but was left eating dust as King gated extremely well from gate four, cutting across Kennett aggressively to take the lead, Cameron Heeps settling in in third.
King (56.4 seconds) went so close to equalling the track record as he cruised to victory, missing the figure by one tenth of a second. Kennett came second as Witches took a 4-2 lead.
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Maassen was back in action in the next race, the following heat, but the red flag was soon up with Stefan Nielsen leading, the German ploughing into the back of Ashley Morris, both riders ending up on the shale.
In the re-run, it was new Witches signing Morris that quickly gained the ascendancy, edging ahead of Nielsen from gate three and holding his lead until the finish, Daniel Greenwood picking up the rear for the Rockets as the hosts notched up a valuable 5-1.
Tungate then got in on the act, gating well to burst ahead of the pack, with team-mate Gino Manzares in second. The duo held their positions until the end, with Ellis third, as Ipswich extended their lead to 10 points.
Ipswich were looking well placed to rack up a big victory and took another maximum in heat four.
Maassen had been having an eventful night but after but after taking the lead, over-egged the bend ahead of the home straight on the first lap, allowing Nico Covatti and Morris to steal a march. Maassen never recovered, eventually finishing fourth, with Ipswich’s Italian and new signing finishing first and second respectively.
Tungate took the lead early in heat five, while Manzares’ front tyre seemed to rear up on gating, allowing Kennett, taking a tactical ride, to take second. It was a blow for the American who is desperate to boost his 5.70 average.
Kennett then made an aggressive pass on the second leg, out-pacing Tungate on the back straight and holding his lead until the chequered flag. It was a first race win for a Rockets rider, but Ipswich still picked up another three points.
New captain King was determined to lead by example and he took heat six by the scruff of the neck, Nikolaj Busk-Jakobsen his nearest challenger, with Heeps in third. It was another quick race, this time King finishing in 56.9.
The Witches gained another maximum in heat seven, Covatti, backed by Nielsen, winning at a canter.
The Witches didn’t have it all their own way though and Busk-Jakobsen got the better of Morris from the gate in heat eight. Morris held second but Maassen got his first point of the night, Heeps’ bike having problems and the Australian having to settle for last place.
His compatriot, Tungate had no such problems in heat nine, winning the race, although Ipswich only picked up four points with Manzares having a wobble and dropping down to last position before eventually doing enough to overtake Greenwood into third.
King was in imperious form and proving no match for his rivals, gating well from number three and getting round Rockets’ Ellis and Hughes. Heeps did his bit in second as Ipswich picked up another maximum.
The impressive Kennett ensured his team’s pride stayed intact with a win in heat 11, Covatti second and Nielsen third, before an intriguing battle for second in the next heat saw Rye House’s Greenwood just get the better of the Witches’ Morris. Manzares, after his earlier difficulties, was a welcome winner.
Heat 13 saw the battle of the big boys and Kennett got the better of his counterpart King, taking another race victory, with Busk-Jakobsen ensuring just a third heat win of the night for the visitors.
Tungate took heat 14 with Nielsen adding a point in third, leaving the Witches a maximum away from hitting the 60-point mark.
Heat 15 saw Tungate, King, Kennett and Busk-Jakobsen battle it out with the Rockets’ captain “Fast Eddie” taking the win, King in second, Tungate third and Busk-Jakobsen fourth, as the Witches won by a 23-point margin