Witches united

HANS Andersen today confirmed that he and Scott Nicholls have one common goal - to do their best for Ipswich Evening Star Witches.There was evidence of a strain in their relationship in the Sky Bet Elite League heavy defeats at Peterborough on Monday and at Poole on Wednesday.

HANS Andersen today confirmed that he and Scott Nicholls have one common goal - to do their best for Ipswich Evening Star Witches.

There was evidence of a strain in their relationship in the Sky Bet Elite League heavy defeats at Peterborough on Monday and at Poole on Wednesday.

But Ipswich rider/manager Chris Louis has done what he promised to do in his column in The Evening Star on Wednesday - get the club's two best riders aiming in the same direction.

Louis brokered a meeting last night at Foxhall Stadium and Andersen, who took over as the Ipswich number one on June 1, said: “There was a bit of tension between myself and Scott. This happens in the heat of the battle sometimes.

“We have talked about it together and we are both professional in our approach. We have the best interests of Ipswich at heart.

“We both want to win races and we both want Ipswich to do well.”

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On Monday, Nicholls pulled up after taking avoiding action when Andersen made an aggressive pass on Peterborough's Lee Richardson in heat 13 at the East of England showground.

And after it was announced that they would both ride in the nominated final heat, Louis eventually took the place of a furious Nicholls.

Both Andersen and Nicholls expressed a preference to start off gate one and the former took that position with Louis on gate three.

On Wednesday, relations were not improved when Andersen pushed an opponent wide on the first corner to allow Nicholls to come through on the first and second bends.

Andersen ended up at the back while Nicholls finished second. It was Jesper B Jensen who partnered Nicholls in the nominated final race at Poole.

Nicholls has made a successful return to action this week after five weeks out with a badly injured knee and in his testimonial year, Britain's number one now wants to motor on.

His injury is still a problem, but is getting better all the while and he should be back to something like full fitness when the Fiat Vans British Grand Prix takes place at Cardiff on Saturday week. Andersen will be in the same meeting.

Tomorrow, the Dane rides in the World Championship qualifying semi-final at Lonigo in Italy looking to finish in the eight to ride in the final in Vojens, Denmark, on August 14.

The top two from that meeting will qualify for the new-format 16-rider 2004 GP series. Andersen flew to Munich today to drive down to Italy for the meeting.

Danny Bird had good news for Witches today when he said that he should be available for every Ipswich meeting between now and the end of July.

He has missed a number of recent matches including the away defeats at Eastbourne, Peterborough and Poole.

When Ipswich ride at home to Swindon on June 21, Bird's Premier League side Reading do not have a match on their traditional Monday night home slot as they are involved in a pairs meeting the day before.

Without Bird, and with young Swede Kim Jansson at number two and rookie Trevor Harding at reserve, Ipswich are much more vulnerable.

But with Bird in their team they look more than capable of qualifying for the end-of-season play-offs that will determine the 2004 champions.

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