Witches star 'suspended' ahead of Ipswich's derby clash with Lynn

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Ipswich Witches star, Ben Barker. - Credit: Taylor Lanning

Table-topping Ipswich Witches have been rocked with the news that one of their key riders has had his Speedway Control Board registration suspended.

Ben Barker is the rider in question, after he provided a ‘Non Negative’ result following a random Drug and Alcohol test held at Oxford Speedway last Wednesday while about to race for his Championship side, Plymouth. He withdrew from the meeting.

The Witches management are keeping tight-lipped about Barker's situation right now until further results have been confirmed from laboratory tests expected soon.

A dejected Ben Barker waves to the crowd following the Ipswich v Somerset (Premier League Play-off s

Witches ace Ben Barker - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

It's more bad news for the flying Suffolk side, who had just come to terms with the fact German ace, Erik Riss, will be out for up to six weeks with a broken ankle after a track crash in Poland.

The Witches head to King's Lynn tomorrow night in a crucial Premiership clash, looking to maintain their top spot in the table.

Anders Rowe returns to the Witches side to ride in Barker’s place, his first appearance for the club since the first Premiership fixture of the season in May. Paul Starke is back in the team after his recent thumb injury.

Erik Riss and Jason Doyle head for an opening heat 5-1.

Erik Riss leads. He has suffered a broken ankle and could be out for up to six weeks. - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

"Erik's injury is a big disappointment because he has been a big part of the side this year and I could see he was improving and getting into the season," Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins said.

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"The injury has come at a bad time for him, and the club and we are really disappointed to lose him. As things stand, Ben is suspended and more will become apparent with that in the coming days."

The Witches have already won in the Premiership at Lynn earlier in the season, but will face a difficult task without Riss and Barker tomorrow night, while behind the scenes much is going on at Foxhall to address the situation team-wise, when more is known of Barker's position.

"We have only got until the Belle Vue meeting next Monday night, where we are allowed to make changes, so we have got to act quickly," Hawkins added.

Promoter Chris Louis and team manager Ritchie Hawkins talk tactics in the sun ahead of the meeting.

Ipswich owner Chris Louis and team manager Ritchie Hawkins, have plenty on their plate right now. - Credit: Steve Waller -www.stephenwaller.com

"Me and Chris (Louis) have spent the last week constantly on the phone talking about it and there are plans in place for whatever eventuality.”

Meanwhile, Lynn are still harbouring hopes of a late push for the play-offs, despite their lowly league position They will welcome Nicolai Klindt into their side for the Witches clash, the Dane replacing Niels-Kristian Iversen.

KING’S LYNN: 1. Josh Pickering 7.82 © 2. Thomas Jorgensen 5.71 3. Richie Worrall 5.61 4. Nicolai Klindt 7.43 5. Richard Lawson 6.59 6. Lewis Kerr 4.77 7. Jack Thomas (RS). Team Manager: Alex Brady

IPSWICH: 1. Jason Doyle 10.47 2. R/R for Erik Riss 5.37 3. Danny King 6.77 © 4. Anders Rowe 4.59 5. Troy Batchelor 6.43 6. Paul Starke 4.40 7. Danyon Hume (RS). Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins


PREMIERSHIP TABLE

Ipswich..... 13   28

Belle Vue...13   26

Wolves......13   24

Sheffield....11   23

King’s Lynn 11  12

Peteboro   13   10


Witches fans can join MIKE BACON live tomorrow night, as he brings you all the heat details race by race from the Norfolk Arena on the EADT and Ipswich Star website in RACE NIGHT LIVE.