Witches pay for poor start

ALL seven Ipswich Evening Star Witches riders ventured on to the terraces at Foxhall during the interval last night to collect money for the Speedway Riders' Benevolent Fund.

ALL seven Ipswich Evening Star Witches riders ventured onto the terraces at Foxhall during the interval last night to collect money for the Speedway Riders' Benevolent Fund.

Whatever encouragement was given to them by the Foxhall faithful obviously worked as the returning septet made a better match of it in the second half, actually out-scoring their powerful visitors from the Midlands by two points over the final seven heats.

However, prior to the break they had suffered the embarrassment of six consecutive heat advantages against and were trailing by, to all intents and purposes, an unrecoverable 20 points.

Most disappointing will be the fact that the good crowd had turned out to witness this performance on the first Thursday of the school holidays.

The displeasure from sections of the crowd became more intense during the first half as the home side delivered a hopelessly inadequate performance from the tapes that saw them trailing into the first corner time and time again.

Jeering accompanied the first couple of maximum advantages against, before silence fell on the stadium – such was the disbelief a slow handclap even greeted the riders on their return to the pits after their most dismal run in the meeting.

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Even British champion Scott Nicholls found the going tough early on before reeling off four straight wins with a gutsy display.

For the Bees, only Jason Bunyan failed to win a race. With both Billy Janniro and Ryan Fisher missing through injury, the visitors brought in Jonnas Kylmakorpi as a guest for Fisher and used a rider replacement for Janniro.

Kylmakorpi was a fine replacement, scoring a fine ten points from the reserve position and he received good back up from, in particular, Stuart Robson, who scored an impressive paid 15 to lead the Bees' scoring.

Ipswich actually had their noses in front after Jarek Hampel roared off for the win in the opening heat.

It looked good again in heat two with Kim Jansson leading from Kylmakorpi and Bunyan, until the latter slid off whilst under pressure from Leigh Lanham on the third lap.

In the re-run the inevitable happened with Kylmakorpi getting a flier to lead all the way from Lanham and Jansson in a share of the spoils.

The third heat saw the Bees score their first maximum to take the lead, with Lee Richardson going around Nermark and Robson going under the Swede coming off the second bend.

Scott Nicholls failed the tapes in the following heat, when his enthusiasm got the better of him and he rolled forward. In the re-run the Witches number one went off 15 metres, but could make up no ground on the fast starting Bees pair who opened up their lead to six.

Another maximum followed to compound the misery and then heat six saw Jonsson take the win from Hampel and with Bunyan seeing off Eriksson it was getting worse.

More gloom followed in the next with Nicholls being relegated to third by Robson and Richardson and the Bees hit the home side with their fourth 5-1 in five races.

Heat eight saw Hampel out as a tactical substitute, but it made no difference as the rout continued.

In the first race after the interval Nicholls was brought in and raced off for victory, despite a clash of elbows with Jonsson that sent him out towards the fence as the pair raced for the first corner.

Heat ten saw Richardson pass Hampel and Robson passed Eriksson as the Bees restored a 20 point lead and this was followed by another victory by Scott Nicholls, who defeated Billy Hamill in what was the race of the


It was behind where all the action was. Lanham had gone round Kylmakorpi on the second bend of the first lap and then had tried to fend off the challenge of the Fin for the remaining laps.

Kylmakorpi finally found a way through, going down the back straight for the final time, but the Ipswich man cut back

magnificently, coming off the last bend and as they crossed the line he was just given the


Heat 12 brought with it a share of the spoils, before Nicholls won the 13th in another.

Robson then got the better of Lanham to win the penultimate heat, with the Bees maintaining their 20-point lead, before Nicholls had to use all his skill to get the better of Hamill and win the final race in another battle of the elbows.