Witches win in last-heat decider
KIM Jansson's benefit speedway meeting at Foxhall Stadium last night went down to a last heat decider before the Evening Star Witches came out on top.The cold weather may have kept some people away, but there was still a sizeable turn-out to salute the former Witches star who broke his back in a crash in his native Sweden in August and will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
KIM Jansson's benefit speedway meeting at Foxhall Stadium last night went down to a last heat decider before the Evening Star Witches came out on top.
The cold weather may have kept some people away, but there was still a sizeable turn-out to salute the former Witches star who broke his back in a crash in his native Sweden in August and will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
The racing was interesting if not always fully competitive with Rory Schlein and Robert Miskowiak slamming home early 5-1's and Scott Nicholls showing his class in this company.
With Jason Crump's Polish duties ruling him out, and Chris Harris having to miss out through injury, Jansson's side was not as strong as at first hoped, but they did hit back in heat six when Coventry's Oliver Allen won wearing the black and white helmet cover - and David Howe racing from the back to finish behind him.
But generally Ipswich were in charge, although Carl Wilkinson, riding a re-conditioned engine, slid off rather unexpectedly going down the back straight on the opening circuit of heat seven.
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Special dispensation for this meeting allowed the Jansson side to use a tactical rider for the second time in heat 11 with ex-Witch Danny King doing the honours.
But Allen appeared unaware that his team-mate was riding for double points as he did not slow to let him pass on the run-in - after Schlein had gone too wide and slid off on the second bend of the third lap.
Another 5-1 followed in the next race with a comfortable victory for Krzysztof Stojanowski and late replacement Nick Simmons - and all of a sudden with the three nominated races to follow in this six-man team event Jansson's side was just three points adrift.
A 4-2 to Ipswich in heat 13 was cancelled out in the next race, leaving the meeting to be decided by a last heat decider.
Nicholls and Miskowiak made the best break and sewed up the meeting for the Witches side with a 5-1 - with Stojanowski suffering a puncture when third on the third lap.
Mike Smillie, who was team manager of the Evening Star Witches during Jansson's six years at Foxhall, was back in that role assisting Jansson's former landlord Clive Webb in running the Jansson side.
And another reminder of the past at Foxhall was the sight of long time start marshal John Fitch sharing the duties with Peter Ingram, who was initially held up in traffic.
Nicholls pocketed £250 for the fastest time of the night sponsored by Jansson's former sponsor Gordon Holloway, of Parkside Transport, and the same company sponsored the Champion of the Evening to the tune of £500 for the winner - with a cheque for £250 going into the Kim Jansson fund.
Nicholls, Schlein and Miskowiak won their heats; with David Howe also making the final as the fastest second-placed rider in the three heats.
The full throttle final was won by Schlein to complete an entertaining, meaningful meeting staged for an entertaining, meaningful man.
Jansson's parents flew over from Sweden to help present the prizes.
n Ipswich have announced their two final meetings at Foxhall Stadium this year - with a four-team tournament involving young riders on Thursday, October 16, and the traditional season-ending 16-Lap Classic a week later.