Witches suffer last-gasp defeat

FOR the second night running Ipswich Evening Star Witches went within one race of breaking their away duck for the season.At Peterborough on Friday they were three points up going in the final heat.

By Elvin King

FOR the second night running Ipswich Evening Star Witches went within one race of breaking their away duck for the season.

At Peterborough on Friday they were three points up going in the final heat.

On Saturday night, in another British League Cup fixture, they were three points adrift as the riders lined up for the final four laps.

A spill by Kim Jansson on the second lap ruined any chance of victory, although at the time Tomas Topinka was in a clear lead.

In the re-run, Chris Slabon was left at the back and trailed in last.

Most Read

Ipswich did reasonably well in the circumstances to get so close, and give themselves every chance of the aggregate bonus point in the return fixture.

Through injuries and illness and some would say a lack of commitment, the Witches were left to track a side with a combined average of just 30.68. They are allowed to track a side up to 36 points.

Peterborough's Conference League rider James Horton rode as a heat leader when Danny Bird called off because of a lack of machinery.

And it was touch and go whether the referee would allow even that. Horton's club is in the same League Cup group and only rode against the Witches the previous night.

So lax are the rules for this competition that it is difficult for referees to make judgments and in this case Chris Durno persuaded Lynn to relent.

Ben Howe was ill with a sickness bug, so 17-year-old Witches asset Matthew Wright made his Ipswich debut at reserve.

One thing is certain about matches at the Norfolk Arena – their longevity.

This one started at 7pm and finished at 9.53pm. James Brundle split his knee after a heavy crash involving James Horton in heat 13 and it took 30 minutes for the action to re-start as he was taken off the track in an ambulance.

Danny King and Daniel Nermark were involved in a spectacular spill at the same first bend position in the previous heat, but there was no real excuse to prolong the match so long.

A 15-heat Under-16 international between England and Germany followed, and this began at 9.55pm! On the evidence of the Germans' warming up laps – when two crashed full-pelt into the fence - --

- midnight was an ambitious prediction of the finish time.

Nermark was given the Witches captaincy to allow Tom P Madsen to concentrate on riding against his former club – the one he still rides for in the Premier League!

Slabon was about to pass Tomas Topinka on the second lap when he slowed, before Wright scored his first Ipswich point in heat two. He gated well in a re-run but was passed by Trevor Harding on the second lap.

Nermark passed Darren Mallet on the third bend and Jansson passed the Boston rider on the third lap of heat three.

Sheffield guest Andrew Moore was in fine form for Lynn, and he combined with Harding for a 5-1 in heat four. Watt then passed Madsen on the second lap of heat five to deny Ipswich a 5-1.

Tactical substitute Slabon combined with Madsen as Ipswich pulled to within two points in heat eight and an error by Nermark when he was passed Topinka on the second lap of heat ten did Ipswich no favours.

They did collect another 5-1 in heat 11 however with Madsen passing Moore on the second lap to follow home Slabon.

King was excluded when he crashed heavily with Nermark in heat 12 and then came Brundle's fall after Topinka had gone back to the pits for a gear adjustment and been timed out.

A 4-2 to Lynn in the re-run was acceptable for Ipswich as it meant Madsen could come in as a tactical substitute in the next race.

A 5-1 with Jansson ensured Ipswich could still win although Madsen declined the invitation to partner Slabon in the deciding race of a long-drawn out night.