Smillie still seething over referee

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches team manager Mike Smillie was today still coming to terms with Jim McGregor's refereeing at Foxhall Stadium last night.McGregor controversially ruled that Ipswich skipper Chris Louis had suffered a reaction to an old injury when he pulled out of the Elite League meeting with Eastbourne after taking two rides.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches team manager Mike Smillie was today still coming to terms with Jim McGregor's refereeing at Foxhall Stadium last night.

McGregor controversially ruled that Ipswich skipper Chris Louis had suffered a reaction to an old injury when he pulled out of the Elite League meeting with Eastbourne after taking two rides.

“It was not a new injury so Chris had to have three programmed rides,” said McGregor.


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This meant that Ipswich had to go into the penultimate race with just one rider - and they suffered a 5-1 reverse after levelling the scores in the previous heat.

The Witches then needed a 5-1 to draw the meeting, but with the

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often magnificent Mark Loram losing out to Adam Shields this proved too much.

Smillie said: “Where do you stop with a previous injury? Chris felt okay before the meeting and had been given the okay by the medical people.

“He hurt his shoulder in his first race and it is believed that he has broken the bone again.

“In my opinion it is a new injury and reserve Carl Wilkinson should have been allowed to take his place in heat 14.”

Smillie has studied the rule book and believes this backs him up, but a protest is unlikely. And the way Wilkinson was struggling it was not on the cards that he would have scored any points.

Louis' gamble to make a track comeback backfired as Ipswich lost their final home Elite League meeting of the season.

And if he has broken his collarbone again, he could well be out for the rest of the competitive season with the Craven Shield qualifiers coming up in a fortnight.

Louis was fine in the warm-up, but in heat three he locked up going into the first bend and did more damage.

The race was stopped and re-started because of an unsatisfactory start and Louis was in no position to threaten the opposition and tailed off at the back.

He went out again in heat five, but fared no better and it was no surprise when he pulled out.

Louis was under a certain amount of pressure to make a return with Loram, now number one in the Ipswich averages, not eligible to take an extra ride if Ipswich had used the rider replacement facility.

With Pepe Protasiewicz out of form there was a distinct possibility that Ipswich would not have covered well for their skipper if he had sat out another meeting.

But, as it turned out, the facility would have been a much better bet and Ipswich would no doubt have won the meeting and confirmed a fourth from bottom finish.

Now they face the possibility of Eastbourne overtaking them, with the Eagles level on points and still to ride at bottom club Arena Essex. Ipswich's last fixture is at Oxford next Wednesday.

Loram gave another highly-entertaining swash-buckling display while Robert Miskowiak showed that he is determined to keep his place at Foxhall next season, winning three races in style, including a success over former world champion Nicki Pedersen in race nine.

Miskowiak was quick, clocking a very fast time of 59.2 seconds in heat three, before he upset Pedersen in the final race.

He went into the third bend on the last lap driving his machine inside Pedersen's and forced the Dane to slide under the air fence. Miskowiak also hit the deck and was the subject of an angry reaction from Pedersen as the riders went back to the pits.

Ipswich came last in all but two of the races and this was the reason for their defeat.

Eastbourne only won five heats, but they filled the minor places for the majority of the night, with their reserves Lewis Bridger and Cameron Woodward outscoring the home lower order.

With the second strings also scoring consistently, Eastbourne had built up a six-point lead after six races.

This they held on to until race ten, when Protasiewicz found some form to partner Kim Jansson to a maximum heat success.

And when Loram won heat 13, and Protasiewicz finished third, Ipswich were level with two heats remaining.

Tobi Kroner, who won heat two

after an electric start, made a gallant effort in heat 14 going past David Norris briefly on the first and second laps.

It was Ipswich's third home defeat of the season, and gives Eastbourne an edge before they come to Foxhall in a fortnight to compete in a Craven Shield qualifier along with Wolverhampton.

Loram made a couple of his trademark full throttle passes, while Miskowiak made a brilliant first two turns in heat 12 and passed Edward Kennett impressively in heat five.

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