Scott boils over in fury of derby
SPEEDWAY: You could certainly tell it was Halloween last night as the Witches caldron boiled over during this end of season derby clash at the Norfolk arena, producing fireworks, which may well burn for some time.
YOU could certainly tell it was Halloween last night as the Witches caldron boiled over during this end of season derby clash at the Norfolk arena, producing fireworks, which may well burn for some time.
Anyone who anticipated that with nothing at stake the riders would simply be going through the motions in this season's finale were mistaken and the drama unfolded thick and fast.
Unfortunately, the most serious incident culminated in this season's Witches kingpin Scott Nicholls, involved in an ugly confrontation with an irate Knight supporter after Nicki Pedersen had fallen and was excluded at the beginning of heat 10.
Much of the enjoyment of speedway is the closeness to which fans can get to the riders, with the supporters at times getting in touching distance of their heroes.
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At Lynn the riders enter and leave the track via a walkway between the terracing, created with portable barriers, and many fans will remember an incident when skipper Chris Louis was drenched with a pint of beer as he walked from the track during a meeting between these two sides in 1998.
Last night Nicholls and Pedersen had been racing against each other in heat 10. The two are known not to be the best of pals after recent on-track confrontations, most noticeably is the recent grand prix challenge meeting in Slovenia where they clashed, although the pair have met since without incident.
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As they raced into a tight first corner Pedersen fell on the outside, but there did not appear to be any contact and the referee was quick to exclude the Dane as the prime cause of the stoppage, with a re-run with the remaining three riders ordered.
This did not go down too well with the home fans, but there was no need to anticipate any major drama as the riders returned to the pits. With Pedersen going to the pit's phone to argue his case to no avail, with Grand Prix referee Tony Steele who was in charge.
However as the riders prepared to return to the track one supporter became involved in an exchange with first Nicholls' father Tommy and shortly after the rider himself.
The incident was over almost as quickly as it began but there then followed a near 45 minute delay in proceedings while there was a debate between the referee, riders and officials to discover what exactly had happened.
It now remains to be seen whether or not any action is taken against either club or rider although there was more drama in store for Nicholls when the racing resumed with Lynn rider Tom Madsen also falling. Boyce and Nicholls were team riding at the time but as Madsen tried to split them on the last bend he hit the fence crashing heavily and it was some time before he rose to his feet.
Again no blame was attributed to Nicholls with the Lynn rider being excluded although this mattered little to the vocal home supporters who again gave the Witches star a hard time on his way back to the pits.
The resulting 5-0 brought the visitors back into the match just five points adrift and a 4-2 from Craig Boyce and Savalas Clouting two heats later closed the margin further to just three.
This though was as close as it got for the visitors with Lynn sewing up the match in heat 14 despite Clouting possibly signing off from his Witches' career with his most impressive victory for some time.
The Wiches reserve, who is not expected to be in the side next season, held off Freddie Eriksson and Ronnie Pedersen with some confidence to take the chequered flag and he received an enthusiastic reception from the Witches fans on his way back to the pits.
The Witches were six behind after just two heats and despite Jason Bunyon's efforts to pass Niels Kristian Iversen for second in heat two.
Jason Crump cruised to the first of five straight wins in heat four before Jarek Hampel and Chris Louis pulled a couple back in heat five. Nicky Pedersen did just enough to hold off the ever trying Nicholls in their first meeting in heat six, before Jeremey Doncaster crashed out of the meeting with a thigh injury after his foot rest snapped after going in to the first corner of the seventh.
Ipswich were 10 down after heat 8 despite bringing in skipper Chris Louis as a tactical substitute. At the front Hampel just lost out in a blanket finish with Madsen after he tried to overhaul him for the entire four laps.
Nicholls then enjoyed a good win when he passed Ronnie Pedersen in the next and he was immediately out again in heat 10, as a tactical substitute, for a race which on reflection, given its volatile conclusion, he will probably wish he had missed.
Witches star Scott Nicholls was relieved to have finally finished a long season after last night's meeting and he was quick to apologise for his actions which led to the meeting being held up for well over half an hour.
He said: "There is no way I was responsible for Pedersen falling at the first attempt to run heat 10 and I deeply regret my actions in the pits after. As everyone knows there was already some bad feeling between Pedersen and I and there was maybe more made out of the incident than there needed to be which led to boos from some fans.
"I can take that, but I was just so shocked to see a supporter having a go at my father and it is obvious that when a member of your family is in trouble you are automatically involved.
"I have since spoken to the supporter and apologised to him and just hope that now that is the end of the matter. When we went back onto the track I could not believe my luck again when Madsen fell, I just thought what am I going to get blamed for now? Although thankfully again the referee made the right decision.
"Tom spoke to me in the pits after and he was happy to admit that I didn't touch him and he had just hit the fence after getting too close."
Nigel Wagstaff (Kings Lynn promoter): "I think it is important not to let emotions run too wild sometimes in these local derby meetings and we must not forget that it was a brilliant meeting between two great rivals on track. I look forward to renewing that rivalry with the Witches next season when hopefully again we can thrill the fans."
Jason Crump (Kings Lynn captain): "It was another furiously fought contest between two great rivals and that is how it should be but we must make sure that we keep a hold of things and don't let them get out of hand. I know that I am no saint but we must all not lose sight of our responsibilities."
Savalas Clouting: "It was great to sign off with a race win. As I have said I would like to move away next year although after this season John and Magda probably wouldn't want me anyway, although I have to say that I have nothing against them and we still get on well. They included me to do a job this year and I know that I did not do that well. It is always hard to ride for your local club and this has not been a good year."