King reigns supreme for Witches

WITH Daniel King in majestic form, Ipswich Evening Star Witches are currently ruling the Sky Sports Elite League.A resounding victory over a demoralised Eastbourne Eagles side at Foxhall Stadium last night saw them leap to the top of the table.

By Elvin King

WITH Daniel King in majestic form, Ipswich Evening Star Witches are currently ruling the Sky Sports Elite League.

A resounding victory over a demoralised Eastbourne Eagles side at Foxhall Stadium last night saw them leap to the top of the table.

Five riders were paid for double figure scores as the home team not only shot down the Eagles, but also collected the aggregate bonus point - their fifth of the season.

The Witches needed to win by more than 12 points to gain the extra point and this they did comfortably enough with a commanding all-round display

However, the hero of the night was teenager King, who was paid for 16 points from his six starts and gave every indication that he has what it takes to go on and become a world star at his chosen sport.

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Irked by being overlooked for a reserve position at next week's British Grand Prix at Cardiff after finishing second in the national under-21 final, King stepped up a gear to look far more promising than 16-year-old Lewis Bridger and youngster Edward Kennett, both of whom were in the Eastbourne side.

Bridger was originally selected for Cardiff, but when it was found he was too young, Kennett was given his place at reserve, where Ben Wilson, the British under-21 winner, will join him.

King proved his point last night that he deserved a position at the sport's showpiece event and he had the crowd on their toes with a number of thrilling races.

Both teams utilised the rider replacement facility with Ipswich accruing a paid 11 points in the absence of Robert Miskowiak, who was riding in the quarter-final of the Polish championships.

Eastbourne totalled a paid eight points for the injured Adam Shields.

Bjarne Pedersen did well as a replacement for the injured Nicki Pedersen, with the Poole rider totalling 16 points that included one

doubling-up score when taking a tactical rider race.

Otherwise, the visitors were a rather sorry lot, with Dean Barker pulling out at the interval with a head cold and neither Bridger nor Kennett allowed to get to grips with the meeting, although the former showed up well in his last outing when he chased Piotr Protasiewicz right to the line.

It was Bridger's first visit to Foxhall and he certainly has talent, while Kennett was making his debut.

Ipswich promoter John Louis wanted Eastbourne to use up a tactical ride early on and he got his wish when David Norris wore the black and white helmet in heat seven.

Norris won the race to claim six points, but it was only a temporary blip for Ipswich, who at this time were on a roll.

They were ahead on aggregate after heat ten and their team riding was such that the Witches collected 11 bonus points to Eastbourne's one.

This meant an expensive evening for Louis, having to pay extra points money to his men, but he will not mind that as Ipswich are now in with a realistic chance of competing for a top-four end- of-season play-off place.

Bridger fell in heat two after his throttle jammed when in second place on the third lap.

Jan Jaros hit the fence 20 yards further on and when the race was stopped and awarded, the referee deemed Jaros was not under power, even though he got back on his bike to continue.

If the official had been less hasty, Jaros would surely have got a point, but it mattered little in the long run, with Kim Jansson getting over his barren first ride and continuing his impressive form, when he partnered Protasiewicz to a five-one in heat three.

This was the first of six maximum heat wins for Ipswich with Protasiewicz and King planting home another in heat five, with King finding an inside gap to pass Norris on the second bend.

Jaros scored his first point for three matches in heat eight, with Kennett passing him after the Ipswich man had started well.

Ipswich made sure of a three-point haul with three consecutive maximums from races ten to 12, with King bravely squeezing between Bridger and the fence on the second lap to follow home Protasiewicz in heat 12.

Pedersen was chased by Loram and Louis in heat 13, Protasiewicz carried on his good work with a victory in heat 14 and the final race was a repeat of the 13th, with Pedersen again holding off Loram and Louis.

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