Nicholls seeking triple Foxhall success

SCOTT Nicholls will be seeking to make it a hat-trick of wins when he lines up as one of the favourites in tonight's Anglian Willhire 16-Lap Speedway Classic at Foxhall Stadium (start 7.

Elvin King

SCOTT Nicholls will be seeking to make it a hat-trick of wins when he lines up as one of the favourites in tonight's Anglian Willhire 16-Lap Speedway Classic at Foxhall Stadium (start 7.30pm).

The meeting brings the curtain down on Ipswich Evening Star Witches 2008 season, and traditionally attracts a good attendance figure.

Chris Louis has won the event five times with both Phil Crump and his son Jason three times.

No other rider has managed more than two victories, with Ipswich-raised Nicholls looking to add to his tally having tasted victory in the marathon race event in 2002 and 2003.

Louis - winner in 2005 and 2007 - is currently injured, and so is Australian Adam Shields who was the winner in 2004 and 2006.

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This is 27th staging of an event that was started by former Foxhall start marshal and Witches official Paul Johnson in 1979.

The 12 riders compete in a 12-heat programme for the right to take part in the gruelling 16-lap final showdown, where eight riders take to the Foxhall track starting from two separate grids.

The four highest scorers in the qualification stage start on the back grid, while the rest start from the usual position. The remaining four riders will contest a six-lap consolation final.

Racing 16 laps means that machines have to be fitted with temporary extra fuel facilities, and the big race is always preceded by a special buzz in the pits as men and machines prepare for a once in a season test of brawn and machinery.

Arms will be pumping with pain by the time the finishing line approaches if the machine manages to stay the distance.

Nicholls will complete his first season with the Eastbourne Eagles in the Knock Out Cup final against Eastbourne this weekend, while last weekend saw him finish the Grand Prix series in ninth place after the final round in Bydgoszcz.

Standing in Nicholls way tonight will be five Ipswich riders in the shape of Rory Schlein, Piotr Swiderski, Steve Johnston, Chris Schramm and fit again Tobi Kroner with Schlein and Swiderski in particular likely to push Nicholls all the way.

Edward Kennett returns to Foxhall after appearing as an Eagle and as a guest for the Witches in 2008, and is joined by David Howe of Wolverhampton and Olly Allen of Coventry.

Both Howe and Allen recently appeared in the Kim Jansson Benefit meeting in which Schlein beat Nicholls in the second-half champion of the evening event.

Making his first appearance in this year's 16-Lapper is 23 year old Dawid Stachyra, who rides for Rzeszow and made it through to this year's Polish national championship final as a reserve.

He missed last year's meeting after originally being in the line-up, and will be eager to take to the track and show Witches fans what he can do.

Tonight's programmed field: O Allen, T Batchelor, K Doolan, D Howe, E Kennett, S Johnston, T Kroner, S Nicholls, R Schlein, C Schramm, D Stachyra, P Swiderski.

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