Witches stage remarkable fightback
Coventry Bees 47 Ipswich Witches 49Ipswich win aggregate bonus point 100-89Ipswich Witches staged one of their best-ever recoveries to get back to winning ways.
Coventry Bees 47 Ipswich Witches 49
Ipswich win aggregate bonus point 100-89
Ipswich Witches staged one of their best-ever recoveries to get back to winning ways.
The Witches were 11 points down with just five races left at Coventry last night.
And they did it with just five riders as skipper Chris Louis was taken to hospital and Kim Jansson pulled out of the meeting with a combination of bike problems and concern over his
team-mate after pushing Louis into the fence in the third race.
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After losing five meetings in the previous nine days, the handicap of losing Louis looked at though it would prove too much for the Witches to overcome and another defeat looked inevitable.
Coventry may be bottom of the table and with just one victory in their eight previous matches but they looked competent enough to see off the challenge of an Ipswich team that was severely under par in their home defeat by Eastbourne 24 hours earlier.
But the visitors showed character in abundance to delight their many
travelling fans with a fantastic comeback after their former rider Scott Nicholls suffered an engine failure when leading heat 11 on the third bend.
That enabled Hans Andersen and Karol Baran to achieve an 8-1 as the Dane was riding for double points as a tactical rider.
At a stroke, Ipswich were back in the match and when the reliable Robert Miskowiak won the following race and Kevin Doolan claimed third place the match was up for grabs.
Andersen finished last in heat 13 with Nicholls having a good ride to claim first place on Chris Harris' machine, the Bees went four points ahead with two races left.
With Miskowiak in the lead in the penultimate race and Doolan at the back Morten Risager hit the fourth bend fence and was flung off his machine, which confirmed the Witches had at least won the bonus point.
But they had the bit between their teeth and Miskowiak went out and won the re-run.
This meant that the visitors needed a 5-1 in the final race to win their first away league match of the season and this they achieved thanks to a flying start by both Andersen and Piotr Protasiewicz.
They celebrated in style in front of their fans on the second bend after their victory and it was all smiles when the Witches team did their lap of honour.
The result cheered up Jansson who was devastated that his error had caused the injury to Louis, and it remains to be seen how long the Ipswich skipper is on the sidelines.
Doolan was on the pace all night after being called in to take the place of Daniel King.
Ipswich were in a 5-1 position when Jansson lifted and careered into Louis on the fourth bend of heat three.
There was a long delay before Louis was placed on a stretcher and an
ambulance took him to hospital with a knee injury.
In the re-run Coventry collected a second consecutive 5-1 and Ipswich looked as though they were heading for a big defeat.
But victories for Protasiewicz and then Andersen restored their appetite.
Jansson's night got even worse when he suffered machine problems when third on the third lap of heat seven before Miskowiak picked up the first of his three vital wins in the following race.
Protasiewicz took the maximum six points when riding as a tactical rider in heat nine, but in the final race before the interval Coventry appeared to have done enough to secure victory when Jansson failed to appear and Miskowiak was barged aside by Harris going into the first bend.
The 5-1 put the Bees 11 points ahead, but Ipswich were not to be denied.