Witches delight win last-heat victory

MIKE Smillie, the Ipswich Evening Star Witches team manager, rates Hans Andersen and Jesper B Jensen as the best top two in the...

MIKE Smillie, the Ipswich Evening Star Witches team manager, rates Hans Andersen and Jesper B Jensen as the best top two in the Sky Sports Elite League.

So he was especially pleased to secure two league points at Peterborough's expense at Foxhall Stadium last night.

“In my opinion they are easily the best top two in the league,” said Smillie referring to Andersen and Jensen who are both former Ipswich riders.

“Hans is at the top of his form right now while Jesper has shown this season what an asset he would have been to us if we had been able to hold on to him.”

Smillie admitted that Ipswich took a gamble in opting to use the rider replacement facility rather than go for a top line guest in the absence of Piotr Protasiewicz.

Coventry's Scott Nicholls was eligible, as the eight-day rule does not these days bar a rider from guesting for the home team a week after riding at the track.

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Ipswich did not approach the former Witches skipper although Greg Hancock and Peter Karlsson turned them down.

“It is always a gamble when using rider replacement,” added Smillie. “You only need one rider to be off colour and you can struggle.

“Realistically we were after two points as the aggregate bonus point was put out of our reach in a heavy defeat at the East of England showground.

“Having a Grand Prix rider in Niels Kristian Iversen as their number four shows the strength of the Peterborough side, and it was a good win for us.”

Jenson said: “The league looks very open this year, which is good for the fans as there will be plenty of good speedway and close meetings like this one.

“We came for a win, but with Niels Kristian Iversen not at his best and with a Premier League lad at reserve, we found it just too much.

“I made the jump on Chris Louis in the final heat but then my seat came adrift and my chances were over.

“I always enjoyed riding at Ipswich and it was not my fault that I left. It was out of my hands.

“It has been a good season for me and I put a lot of that down to having two youngsters. My daughter is 22 months and my son was born at Christmas.

“This gives me something to strive for, although I would advise my son to become a golfer or footballer if he wants to make money as a professional sportsman.”

Foxhall track curator Bob Ellis said that he was ashamed at the state of the track last night.

He said: “I was unable to get the right amount of moisture into the surface.

“I was not at Peterborough but read that their track was poor when Ipswich visited.

“My aim is to make my track safe, but after being happy the two previous meeting it did not go right this time. Because of this the outside gates proved to be beneficial.”