Joonas brilliant but Aces are high

SPEEDWAY: Belle Vue Aces 49 Ipswich Witches 41. Ipswich Evening Star Witches were good value in this Elite League clash in Manchester last night.For the first time in an age it was a full complement of seven Witches who took to the track and this ensured the visitors were able to stay in touch throughout the meeting.

Belle Vue Aces 49 Ipswich Witches 41

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches were good value in this Elite League clash in Manchester last night.

For the first time in an age it was a full complement of seven Witches who took to the track and this ensured the visitors were able to stay in touch throughout the meeting.

Star of the show was Joonas Kylmakorpi who scorched to a paid 11 points and this on borrowed equipment.

The Fin has been missing for a few weeks with a back injury but he was sensational and had he performed like this on other occasions this season, then there is no doubt the Witches could well have been up the other end of the table.

You cannot keep blaming bad luck, but again it was true that had Ipswich enjoyed a better rub of the green then they could have easily gained something from this clash.

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Team manager Mike Smillie counted up the errors at the end and was certain that his side could easily have taken the points, exacting revenge for his side's loss at Foxhall by the Aces last week.

The turning point in the match came in heat six when Witches duo Scott Nicholls and Leigh Lanham were cruising on a 5-1 until the latter crashed out. In the re-start a mechanical failure to Nicholls' machine cost the Witches again with Belle Vue claiming the 5-1 to take them into a 10 point lead.

From then on Ipswich were always chasing the match and could never quite get back on terms.

Doncaster made a flying start from the outside in heat one to easily lead the race by three laps but he was passed by home rider Kaj Laukkanen on the last circuit. At the back Jarek Hampel passed a slowing Stuart Robson.

Heat two was a cracker. Blair Scott led from Chris Slabon and Lanham. He blasted past Scott on the fourth turn of the first lap, but he clipped the fence and was then passed on the inside by the field, aggressively in the case of Mark Burrows.

Lanham then tracked Scott for a couple of laps, roaring around the outside of him with one lap to go.

Gate four was obviously good as Kylmakorkpi rocketed from that starting gate to lead into the first corner of heat three, although he was passed by both Aces on the inside of the second bend as the home side recorded their first 5-1.

Scott twitched at the start of the next heat, causing Slabon to touch the tapes. He was excluded from the restart with Lanham taking his place in a race where Nicholls defeated home star Jason Crump.

In the fifth Doncaster made a start from the inside and although he took out Brian Karger he left him just enough room with the Aces man squeezing between him and the fence, at the same time as Jason Lyons raced around the white line as the Witches went six down.

Then came heat six where Lanham was leading from Laukkanen with Nicholls blasting round the outside to join his team mates, as the Witches looked set for a 5-1 of their own.

The pair were seemingly team riding with ease but Lanham went a little too wide over a lip coming out of the second bend and this dragged him into the fence with some force.

There was concern for a while with the Witches man trapped underneath and it took a great many hands before he was extracted from the public side.

He was excluded from the re-run that saw a bizarre incident as Nicholls slithered from the start spinning around full circle and being thrown off his machine, before picking himself up and chasing the Aces pairing, who were now long gone.

Craig Boyce led Crump for a couple of laps in the seventh before being passed in a share of the spoils and then Slabon fell on the first corner of the next with Laukkanen winning from Doncaster as the Aces went 12 points to the good.

A battling Nicholls nearly came to grief a couple of times in the ninth where he bounced off the fence on both the second and fourth bends and although he stayed on his machine the Aces recorded another heat advantage to extend their lead further.

Fast starting Kylmakorpi became the first rider to defeat Laukkanen when he won the 10th and with Boyce winning the battle for the minor places, the visitors had clawed two back.

Crump won heat 11 from Hampel before team manager Smillie bought in Nicholls as a tactical substitute in the 12th. The move worked well with the Witches gaining a 5-1 of their own, in the re-run after home rider Jason Lyons fell on the first turn.

Heat 13 was going to prove crucial but Crump won another titanic battle with Nicholls for a 3-3 that ensured the Aces the points.

Kylmakorpi won the penultimate race, which was also restarted after Burrows fell on the third turn after his hamstring gave way.

Then came the final academic heat with Crump again winning from Nicholls and Kylmakorpi again adding to his score, in yet another restarted race, which was re-run after Lyons touched the tapes.

There was more drama for the Witches contingent as they travelled home with a slip road off the A14 closed for roadworks and unclear diversional signposting leaving everyone stranded in Cambridge.

It was chaos with everyone driving round in circles and the road littered with HGVs all studying road maps.