Witches slump to heavy defeat

Poole Pirates 58 Ipswich Witches 34WITCHES guest Scott Nicholls was excluded under the two-minute rule twice in the same race as they slumped to a heavy defeat in Dorset tonight.

Poole Pirates 58 Ipswich Witches 34

WITCHES guest Scott Nicholls was excluded under the two-minute rule twice in the same race as they slumped to a heavy defeat in Dorset tonight.

Nicholls, guesting for Ipswich in place of injured Mark Loram, was down to line up in heat 15 alongside team-mate Robert Miskowiak.

But he failed to get to the tapes in time for the start of the race and was excluded by referee Rod Smith.

Nicholls immediately drove his bike across the centre green back to the pits to discuss what to do with team manager Mike Smillie and captain Chris Louis.

However, the Witches camp clearly took too much time deciding whether to take up the option of going with Nicholls off a 15-metre handicap in the re-run.

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They could also have brought in reserve Zibi Suchecki, who had already won one race and notched up five paid six from five outings on his debut at Wimborne Road.

However, Nicholls eventually came out on to the track again and rolled up to the 15 metre line, expecting to race with a handicap against Poole pair Jason Crump and Bjarne Pedersen.

But, unknown to the Great Britain Grand Prix star, he had already been ruled out again for not meeting the two-minute time allowance and was ushered off the track once more.

It is quite rare for a rider to be excluded from a race for exceeding the time limit to get ready for a race. For it to happen twice in the same heat is almost unheard-of.

And Ipswich were left smarting as they were thumped by 24 points, leaving them seemingly out of contention for the bonus point in the return at Foxhall on April 19.

If that wasn't bad enough, Robert Miskowiak, who along with Nicholls was their top rider, took a heavy tumble in heat 15 when it was eventually started.

He was trailing Crump and Pedersen in third place when he got out of control on his own on the fourth bend second time around.

The Pole fell off the back of his bike as he roared down the finish straight, but quickly got back on his feet again.

Miskowiak, who escaped injury, was then given a lift back to the pits on the back of Crump's bike after the world champion and Pedersen were awarded a 5-0 following the Ipswich rider's exclusion.

It ended a poor night for the Witches, who were totally outclassed in the second half of the meeting.

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