Scott records third 16-lapper success

FORMER Ipswich Evening Star Witches favourite Scott Nicholls came back to Foxhall Stadium last night and won the 27th staging of the 16-Lap Classic, this year sponsored by Anglian Willhire.

Elvin King

FORMER Ipswich Evening Star Witches favourite Scott Nicholls came back to Foxhall Stadium last night and won the 27th staging of the 16-Lap Classic, this year sponsored by Anglian Willhire.

The marathon race ended with drama when Troy Batchelor ran out of fuel as he went round the final bend.

After leading the race from the start Batchelor had to push his machine the final few yards after being overtaken by Nicholls.

Batchelor had built up so much of a lead that he was just able to pip Dawid Stachyra to the line.

Even if he had won the final, Batchelor would still have had to settle for second place overall - the stylish Nicholls had already done enough to win the event for the third time.

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He was the only rider in the field who had finished on top of the rostrum in the 16-Lapper before and once Rory Schlein's machine ground to a halt on lap nine, the Great Britain captain and former Witch was always likely to take the top prize.

Piotr Swiderski suffered engine failure on the fourth circuit with plenty of room between each of the riders as they completed the strength-sapping 16 laps.

“In the conditions you had to be sensible, and it was a good night that all the riders enjoyed,” said Nicholls.

“I left some reserves of energy for the later stages of the marathon race although my legs were aching a bit as they became heavy when caked in dirt after I started off the back grid.”

With Tobi Kroner needing an operation on the finger he broke while riding last weekend he was at Foxhall Stadium in just a watching capacity.

His Witches team-mate Robert Miskowiak came in to the field to replace him. Eastbourne's Edward Kennett pulled out on Wednesday with flu and King's Lynn's Chris Mills stepped in to take his place.

When the racing began with the 12 heats to determine positions for the 16-lapper, Swiderski showed his determination to do well by passing Kevin Doolan on the last circuit in heat one, which was won by Miskowiak.

Meeting favourite Nicholls had his colours lowered by Olly Allen in heat five with proceedings being hurried through somewhat because of a drizzle that began soon after the meeting commenced.

Witches skipper Steve Johnston whizzed around the outside of a rather startled-looking Miskowiak to claim second place in heat six in the Australian's quest for a place in the marathon race.

Miskowiak showed his determination to do well by beating Nicholls in heat nine, and with the persistent rain slowing times it was decided not to ride the consolation six-lap final.

There was a below-average turn-out for this traditional marathon meeting that brings the curtain down on the Foxhall Stadium speedway season.

The rain held off briefly while the main race took place with Johnston and Doolan missing out because Pole Stachyra and Briton David Howe, who also scored five points, had each won a qualifying heat.

Chris Schramm, who failed to make the final, has been called in to guest for Edinburgh in tonight's relegation/promotion first leg against Wolverhampton in Scotland.

Overall points: S Nicholls (8 qualifying points, plus two for starting off the back grid and 14 for winning the 16-lap race) 24, T Batchelor (7+0 + 12) 19, O Allen (8+2+8) 18, R Miskowiak (10+2+4) 16, R Schlein (11+2+2) 15, D Stachyra (5 +0+10) 15, D Howe (5+0+6) 11, P Swiderski (7 +0+0) 7, K Doolan 5, S Johnston 5, C Schramm 1, C Mills 0.

PIOTR Swiderski was named Junior Witches rider of the year and he expressed his desire to return to ride for Ipswich Witches again in 2009.

“I would love to,” said the Peterborough asset, who has been the revelation of the 2008 Elite League season.

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