Witches lose in Manchester

Ipswich Witches Elite League player hopes took another knock last night as the Evening Star Witches lost in Manchester for the second time this season.

Ipswich Witches Elite League player hopes took another knock last night as the Evening Star Witches lost in Manchester for the second time this season.

They had looked like forcing a last heat decider until Chris Schramm unluckily stopped while third on the last lap in Heat 14.

That gifted Belle Vue a 4-2 and an unassailable six point lead but Ipswich guest Rory Schlein at least had the satisfaction of denying Jason Crump his maximum in the final race.

Double World Champion Crump went very wide on the first turn and was lucky to stay on after clipping the air fence as Schlein - recruited from Coventry in place of Chris Louis - roared away for the win.

Crump had broken his own track record in heat one, shaving one tenth of a second off the previous fastest mark which he had set in June.

Ipswich's Tobi Kroner finished third in that one after only just making the start as he had to switch bikes outside the pits gate with 30 seconds remaining.

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After the opening 3-3 the Witches took the lead with a 5-1 in the reserves race.

At the first attempt, Belle Vue's Nick Simmons picked up extra drive on the apex of the first and second turns and careered mid track into Schramm, with both being thrown at speed into the air fence.

Fortunately, both escaped unscathed and Schramm picked himself up to win the re-run from Steve Johnston after Simmons had been excluded.

Belle Vue immediately hit back with their own 5-1 but a 4-2 from Schlein and Schramm in Heat Four gave Ipswich a two point lead which they held until mid meeting.

That was wiped out in Heat Eight, however, as Belle Vue's Scandinavians Patrick Hougaard and Billy Forsberg posted maximum points.

The Aces slammed in another 5-1 in Heat 10 after Jarek Hampel appeared to hit Crump's back wheel on the back straight and pulled up before the end of the first lap.

But Johnston and Kroner took advantage of Joe Screen's engine failure to reduce the deficit to two points in Heat 11 and then a 4-2 from Hampel and Johnston in the next levelled the score at 36 all.

Crump and Screen then swung things back in Belle Vue's favour with a 5-1 over Schlein in Heat 13 and though Johnston took second in the penultimate race Schramm's stoppage ended Ipswich's chances of at least snatching a draw.

The Witches clearly missed injured number one Priotr Swiderski, as rider replacement for the big scoring Pol brought in only seven points.

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