Author Archives: Henry Chard

About Henry Chard

Digital Media Manager at Ipswich Speedway

PETERBOROUGH V IPSWICH: RACEDAY PREVIEW

By Henry Chard

All the details ahead of our Premiership fixture with Peterborough.

WHEN & WHERE

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches travel to Peterborough to face the Panthers at the East of England Arena & Events Centre on Monday 21st June in a Premiership fixture that starts at 7.30pm.

TEAMS

PETERBOROUGH: 1. Bjarne Pedersen 6.91 2. Hans Andersen 5.79 3. Michael Palm Toft 6.30 4. Scott Nicholls 5.36 © 5. Chris Harris 6.01 6. Jordan Palin (RS) 7. Ulrich Ostergaard 4.00. Team Manager: Rob Lyon

IPSWICH: 1. Adam Ellis (g) 8.00 2. Paul Starke 4.27 3. Danny King 6.85 © 4. Jake Allen 5.70 5. Craig Cook 7.59 6. Anders Rowe 3.00 7. Drew Kemp (RS). Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

REFEREE: C. Durno

PREMIERSHIP TABLE

TeamMeetingsPoints
Belle Vue513
Peterborough512
Wolverhampton510
Ipswich77
Sheffield44
King’s Lynn43

TICKETS

Tickets can be purchased online here. Details on covid regulations at the stadium can be found here.

THE STORY

The Witches return to action on Monday as they face fellow East Anglian side Peterborough at the East of England Arena & Events Centre. The Suffolk side have had 10 days without a fixture since they were defeated by the Panthers at Foxhall. It’s been a tough run for Ipswich having lost their last four outings, but they will hope to repeat the results of 2019 at Peterborough where the Witches took two four-point victories.

The away side are still number one Jason Crump again after he broke eight ribs following a big crash in the defeat to Wolves. The Australian has been back on a bike this week but is not quite ready for a return to competitive action, it is hoped he will be fit to take his place in the side for the visit of Wolves on 28th June. Sheffield’s Adam Ellis will guest in his place at number one at Peterborough. Recent new signings Craig Cook and Paul Starke and captain Danny King are returning to a place they know reasonably well having all represented the Panthers in their careers and they will be hoping that their track knowledge can help the team get back to winning ways as they look to get the season back on track.

HAWKINS PREVIEW

Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins gives his pre-match thoughts…

“We have had 10 days off which came at a great time for us. We need to come back from the break refreshed and hopefully we will be back to a full team soon and ready to go again. Crumpy has had a few practices and made a late call on his fitness on Saturday. When we can have Jason back and be back to our 1-7, I will be delighted. For now, we are allowed a guest this week and we are very happy to have Adam lined up for that. He was superb when he rode at Ipswich for Sheffield and he has come a long way since his days riding at reserve for the Witches when he first started.

“Peterborough have made a decent start to the season and obviously won at our place and drew at Belle Vue. However, they have lost at home this year, I think the season will be a little bit like that, people taking points off everyone. It is a place we go very well at and we need to be looking to go there and win.”

THE OPPOSITION

Peterborough have proved many people wrong so far this season having started the campaign strongly as they sit second in the table. Following their opening day double-header against Belle Vue where they drew at the National Speedway Stadium before being beaten on home shale, they have reeled off three victories, including that win at Foxhall to rise up the table.

Ulrich Ostergaard is proving to be a trump card at reserve this season and has been clocking up some big scores whilst former Witch Scott Nicholls has already recorded a paid maximum at home this season and the hosts will be looking to continue their fine start to the season on Monday night.

AWAY DAYS

An adult ticket costs £20, concessions £18, children (under 16) £8 and children under the age of 5 go free. Official programmes cost £3 with car parking priced at £1. Facilities include a 2200 capacity grandstand, grass banking on the back straight, fast food outlets on the grandstand side of the track and a licensed bar. For travel information head here.

For more information about the club head to Peterborough’s official website.

STARKE: I NEED TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION

By Henry Chard

New Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches signing Paul Starke says he is keen to make an impression after joining the club last week.

Starke says a move to Suffolk has been in the pipeline for quite a while and is working hard to fix the issues he experienced on his debut for the club.

“I spoke to Chris (Louis) in the winter and expressed interest that I would like to come to Ipswich,” said Starke. “We had a few talks, but a few problems arose, and it didn’t materialise straight away. Obviously, circumstances have changed, and a spot became available for me and that’s how we have got to where we are.

“It wasn’t the best debut to be honest. It could have gone a lot better, but we are working to fix the issues we had to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

The 30-year-old is hoping some big scores will make an impression at Foxhall and says it is a place he wants to be at.

“I think there is a big home track advantage to be had. It is a good circuit, a good surface that is always prepared really well and it is a stadium with a lot of potential as well. It is a club I would like to be at, and I need to make an impression and put some points on the board.”

The Hereford-born rider has been part of plenty of successful sides over the years and says that a key ingredient of those winning teams has been the spirit and enjoyment within the club.

“I think a team that gels really well is key. I know a lot of the boys in the team, I have ridden with them or against them in the past, so I know most of them relatively well. I think the key to success is to enjoy your time on the track and the success comes.

“The management are good as well, you have got an ex rider like Chris Louis involved who knows what it is about, and I rode with Ritchie (Hawkins) in the past too so they know what it is about. It is good to have management that have got more of an understanding from a rider’s point of view. We need to turn our fortunes around and start banging some points in and pick up some valuable league points.”

Like most riders, Starke hasn’t been on the bike as much as he’d like since the end of the 2019 season and is still feeling his way back into his racing this season.

“It’s been a frustrating really, it’s taken a while to get going and when it has, I have had a few issues. I’m hoping now we are getting to the bottom of those issues and getting them sorted. I just want to get back into it again and start winning some races. It has been a big break for everybody, everybody is a bit rusty and in the same situation, so it is nice to just get going again really.”

The former top-flight title winner sees no reason why Ipswich can’t make the play-offs this season and wants to show why he is deserving of a Premiership place.

“If we can start picking up some point on the road and start gelling and putting some big points on the board at home as well and getting the wins we need, there is no reason why we can’t be in the play-off spots. My personal targets are to score points and win races. I want to up my average and up my game. There is no reason why I can’t be in that league and I need to make an impression and I need to make it where I need to be. They are my goals and aspirations and I want the best for the team as well.”

COOK: I WILL ALWAYS SPEAK MY MIND

By Henry Chard

New Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches signing Craig Cook is looking forward to taking his opportunity in Suffolk after joining the club last week.

Cook has had an eventful start to the season having been released by King’s Lynn after just two meetings but is happy to have joined Ipswich and link up with Danny King and Jason Crump.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” said Cook when discussing the reasons behind his early exit from the Stars. “I don’t know exactly what happened, it was a bit of a strange one! I was very happy at King’s Lynn and was enjoying the track and everything was great there. I have no idea what happened, but I am happy to join Ipswich, they are a great team with a great leader. I have always wanted to ride with Danny and I’m happy that it has happened.

“Riding with Crumpy (Jason Crump) and Danny is a massive opportunity and hopefully I can learn from the pair of them and move forward and put it into my future racing and it will help me progress as a rider and a racer.”

The 2017 British champion has found his home in the Championship with Glasgow and admits he enjoys being settled at a club.

“I have never ever wanted to move around. I was happy at Belle Vue but unfortunately, they didn’t want me there, but we move forward again, and I was happy at King’s Lynn. I’m not one to ever want to move clubs and switch about. I want to get settled at one place and stay there for a number of years, but it is what it is. We have dealt with the situation of moving around but I’m not a rider who wants to keep switching clubs, I want to get settled at one place.

“We have dealt with the hand we have been dealt and I’m happy to be at Ipswich now. We have got a big opportunity to work with Crumpy and Danny and I am happy the opportunity has come up and hopefully I can grab it with both hands and do the business for Ipswich.”

The 34-year-old says he is looking forward to working with promoter Chris Louis despite having exchanged words on occasions over the years at Foxhall.

“Me and Chris have had a few words over the years, I think it was the other year the track wasn’t great, and the meeting was called off. I will always be one of those people that speak my mind and say the truth and I will always express my feelings. I am not always appreciated, and I think it is difficult when you are a rider who speaks their mind and speaks the truth about how they feel.

“A lot of riders keep it bottled up and say things to please the media. I’m not one of those, I will always say how I feel, and I think Chris and Ritchie (Hawkins) appreciate me for who I am. I’m looking forward to working with both of them moving forward.”

The GB Speedway international made his debut for the Witches last week at Foxhall and is excited to be riding alongside captain King and hopes the club can get back to a full septet in the near future.

“Danny is one of the most genuine riders in British Speedway, if not the most. Riding with him is golden and I have known him since I started racing and I have always wanted to race with. He made me feel very welcome.

“Jake (Allen) is a good guy as well; I have raced against him a couple of times at the weekend and it was nice to see him. He is a very talented rider and he has a lot to offer the team. I think we have got a great team, but we just need our number one back. Me doing seven rides is not ideal but hopefully we can move forward from that.”

Cook is aiming to set a better example in 2021 and believes that the Ipswich team is the strongest in the Premiership.

“To be honest I think I am a different person over these last couple of years. The things that have happened with me in 2019, people know that I have issues and I have not set a great example over the last couple of years. I want to set a better example for myself and be a better rider and racer. I want to move forward for myself and be a better racer. I am going to knuckle down, keep my head down and work hard on myself and for my racing.

“I want to see the club succeed because we have a great squad, if not the best in the league. We just need to get everyone firing at the right time and on our day, there is nobody better than Ipswich. I believe that we are the strongest team in the league so we need to knuckle down and work hard and get everyone firing at the right time and we should be up there at the end of the season.”

IPSWICH 41–49 PETERBOROUGH: RACEDAY REPORT

By Henry Chard

MEETING SPONSOR

ATPS Construction

THE SCORES

IPSWICH 41: Paul Starke 1, Danny King © 13+1, Jake Allen 8, Craig Cook 14+1, Anders Rowe 4, Drew Kemp (RS) 1+1. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

PETERBOROUGH 49: Bjarne Pedersen 6+2, Hans Andersen 11+2, Michael Palm Toft 2, Scott Nicholls © 10+2, Chris Harris 7+1, Jordan Palin (RS) 0, Ulrich Ostergaard 13+1. Team Manager: Rob Lyon

REFEREE: D. Watters

PREMIERSHIP TABLE

TeamMeetingsPoints
Belle Vue513
Wolverhampton410
Peterborough49
Ipswich77
Sheffield44
King’s Lynn43

WHAT HAPPENED?

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches fell to their fourth consecutive defeat as they were beaten by the Peterborough Panthers at Foxhall on Thursday night in the Premiership.

Ipswich went into the meeting without the injured Jason Crump with rider replacement in operation at number one but were boosted by the arrival of new signings Craig Cook and Paul Starke. However, Peterborough proved too strong on the night and led from start to finish to take victory. Cook top scored on his debut for the club with 14+1 from seven rides.

It was the perfect start for the Panthers in heat one as former Witch Hans Andersen was joined by fellow Dane Bjarne Pedersen for a 1-5. The points were shared in heat two before skipper Danny King got the first Witches win of the night in heat three as visiting captain Scott Nicholls passed Jake Allen to limit the hosts to a 4-2. Cook got his first win in Witches colours in heat four in a 3-3 that left the away side ahead by two after four races.

The Danish duo of Pedersen and Andersen were at it again in heat five as they recorded another maximum with King retiring with mechanical issues. With the hosts six points down, team manager Ritchie Hawkins immediately put Cook in as a tactical substitute in heat six and he duly won with fellow debutant Paul Starke picking up his first point for the club for a heat advantage. Cook was a busy man and took victory again in heat seven but as he did in heat three Nicholls split the home pair, passing Rowe to deny the home team a first maximum of the night. The away side restored their six-point lead with another 1-5 in heat eight via Ulrich Ostergaard and Andersen who was still to be beaten by an opponent after three rides.

Ipswich did get their first 5-1 of the night in heat nine though as Allen and King took victory to go within two points of the Panthers. The visitors responded straight away with a maximum in heat 10 as Ostergaard continued his excellent night with another win and was followed home by Nicholls. Cook was enjoying a fine home debut and took the chequered flag again in heat 11 as the points were shared. King won heat 12 for the Witches but Drew Kemp couldn’t get amongst the points, meaning the race was shared, leaving the Panthers six points up and in a strong position to take the victory.

Heat 13 looked like it might be a maximum to Peterborough as Chris Harris and Pedersen made the start, but the home duo of King and Cook worked their way past Pedersen to deny the away side any heat advantage. However, defeat was confirmed for Ipswich in heat 14 as Nicholls passed Allen late on to record victory in a 2-4 to the away side that put them eight points up with one to race. King ended the night with another race victory in heat 15 but a shared heat confirmed an eight-point victory for the visitors which secured them four league points.

HAWKINS REACTION

Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins reflects on Thursday’s defeat to the Panthers.

“It is hard to take defeat, we had plenty of race winners but there were too many last places. We weren’t getting heat advantages. Cookie (Craig Cook) was brilliant making his home debut and that is a positive. Danny was great, he had an engine failure which ruined one heat, but we looked like a six-man team versus seven.

“We brought in the best two guys we could have. Starkey (Paul Starke) wasn’t quite there setup wise at the start but I’m sure he will come good and get his head around it to get it working. Cookie was terrific and did an amazing job. It is hard coming in and doing seven heats, but he gave us everything and scored loads of points.

“We are in a really low point and it is a short season so we will need to turn it around quickly. I think that is possible once Crumpy (Jason Crump) is back and we have the base of a good team still. Yes, it is a low point and it is a tough time but we have come back from hard moments and bad situations plenty of times, being bottom of the league, so it is not unheard of for people to turn it around and come good. That is what we will be looking to do, and we will be putting everything into it.

“We have got 10 days off now so in a week’s time we will know more where Jason is at, but recovery is going well.”

ATPS CONSTRUCTION RIDER OF THE NIGHT

Debutant Cook impressed the sponsors as he scored 14+1 from seven rides.

WHAT IT MEANS

Ipswich drop to fourth after another defeat whilst Peterborough collect four league points and go above Ipswich into third.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches travel to the East of England Arena & Events Centre to take on the Peterborough Panthers on Monday 21st June in a Premiership fixture. Tickets can be purchased here.

IPSWICH V PETERBOROUGH: RACEDAY PREVIEW

By Henry Chard

All the details ahead of our Premiership fixture with Peterborough.

WHEN & WHERE

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches host the Peterborough Panthers at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday 10th June in a Premiership fixture that starts at 7.30pm.

MEETING SPONSOR

ATPS Construction

TEAMS

IPSWICH: 1. R/R for Jason Crump 8.00 2. Paul Starke 4.27 3. Danny King 6.85 © 4. Jake Allen 5.70 5. Craig Cook 7.59 6. Anders Rowe 3.00 7. Drew Kemp (RS). Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

PETERBOROUGH: 1. Bjarne Pedersen 6.91 2. Hans Andersen 5.79 3. Michael Palm Toft 6.30 4. Scott Nicholls 5.36 © 5. Chris Harris 6.01 6. Jordan Palin (RS) 7. Ulrich Ostergaard 4.00. Team Manager: Rob Lyon

REFEREE: D. Watters

PREMIERSHIP TABLE

TeamMeetingsPoints
Belle Vue513
Wolverhampton410
Ipswich67
Peterborough35
Sheffield44
King’s Lynn43

TICKETS

Tickets are available to buy online (until 12pm on raceday) and on the gate and are priced at £19 for adults, £17 for concessions (65+), £5 for students (16-17). Children 15 and under go free. Official programmes are priced at £3 and are available at the stadium. Car parking is free for all supporters. Debit and credit card payments are accepted. All the details on tickets for the 2021 season can be found here.

THE STORY

The Witches host fellow East Anglian club the Peterborough Panthers on Thursday night at Foxhall. An injury-hit Ipswich side were in action on Monday night at Belle Vue and were comfortably beaten by the table-toppers before team changes were made on Wednesday morning. Injuries have meant that the management have been forced into making the changes to the line-up and Thursday will see a new-look Ipswich team take to the track as they look to get back to winning ways.

Craig Cook and Paul Starke will make their debuts for the club on Thursday after they replaced the injured Cameron Heeps and Jordan Stewart in the 2021 team. Cook, a former British champion, was released from King’s Lynn earlier this season and starts at number five to boost the top end of the team. Starke comes in at number two and has vast experience of winning trophies in his club career. Jason Crump is still absent having broken eight ribs in a crash at Wolverhampton and is hoping to return to action in three weeks, but rider replacement will be used in his absence at number one on Thursday.

Ipswich won both meetings on home shale against their opponents in the 2019 season and with a new line-up will be hoping for three points to get the season back on track in front of their supporters.

LOUIS PREVIEW

Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches team promoter Chris Louis gives us his pre-match thoughts…

“We have to get back to winning ways, we can’t keep letting this slide because the season is too short to have an elongated period where we are not winning home or away. It is vital that we get a win on Thursday.

“They have been written off wrongly because they are a team of experienced riders. It is going to depend on any given night and how many of them don’t perform but they have all been good riders so they will all have good nights and if they all choose to have them on the same night then they are a match for anyone as they proved at Belle Vue.”

THE OPPOSITION

Peterborough have been written off by many ahead of the 2021 season, having finished rock bottom of the Premiership in 2019. The Panthers opted for experience when building their side for the new season with plenty of recognisable names in their line-up. The likes of Bjarne Pedersen, Hans Andersen, Chris Harris and Scott Nicholls are all former Grand Prix riders and have raced at the top level and the club’s hierarchy will be hoping they can produce their best form to lead them to the play-offs. Andersen, Harris and Nicholls are familiar faces at Foxhall too having all represented the Witches in their career.

Peterborough stalwart Ulrich Ostergaard provides more experience at the bottom end of the team and their team is completed by another Dane in Michael Palm Toft and British ‘Rising Star’ Jordan Palin. The Panthers have already shown they are capable of picking up points on the road with a draw at Belle Vue in their opening meeting of the season and although they lost to the Aces on home shale they recorded their first win of the season by thrashing King’s Lynn on Monday.

IPSWICH SIGN STARKE

By Henry Chard

The Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have signed multiple title winner Paul Starke who replaces Jordan Stewart in the line-up.

It has been a difficult last seven days at Foxhall after the club suffered their first two defeats of the season in the Premiership and lost three riders to bad injuries.

Starke replaces winter signing Stewart, who crashed last Wednesday whilst riding for Championship club Redcar at Birmingham. The Australian suffered a broken collarbone, dislocated shoulder and broken ribs in the crash and underwent successful surgery last week to have a screw inserted in his shoulder. The Australian is likely to miss six weeks of action.

Craig Cook also replaces Ipswich asset Cameron Heeps in the side after he crashed in heat 15 of last week’s defeat at Foxhall and suffered a shoulder separation which is likely to keep him on the treatment table for at least three weeks.

Promoter Chris Louis explained why the club have made the move for Starke with Stewart likely to be out for a long period of time.

“Although he is not that old, he has got a lot of experience,” said Louis. “He’s a settled lad and he’s a guy that everyone gets on with and I know he will settle straight into the team. To lose both Jordan and Cam is extremely tough but we couldn’t wait to see how long these injuries will take because they are a little bit unknown.

“Jordan’s in particular looks like it will be the longest, a dislocation that is out for two days prior to the operation. I know from vast experience of my own injuries and watching other people recover from dislocated shoulders, it will be a long haul.”

The new signings will make their debuts in Thursday’s clash against Peterborough at Foxhall and Louis also provided an update on the injured Jason Crump who keeps his place in team despite having recently broken eight ribs in a crash at Wolverhampton last week.

“The team has been redeclared with Thursday in mind. Jason remains in the team, I spoke to him at length, he’s not a youngster and has had a tough start to his comeback. He has been on the deck three times in his first few meetings and the last one was particularly hard.

“Eight broken ribs are hard for anyone to come back quickly from at any age let alone at the age of 45 but he immediately convinced me that 100% he will back on the bike and ready to go as soon as possible. That very quickly made my mind up with what direction we needed to go in.”

We wish Jordan all the best in his recovery and look forward to seeing him back on track again in the near future.

For more reaction on the signing of Cook, click here.

COOK CHECKS IN AT IPSWICH

By Henry Chard

The Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have signed former British champion Craig Cook who replaces Cameron Heeps in the line-up.

Last week proved to be a damaging one for the club as they suffered two defeats in the Premiership and three riders picked up bad injuries.

Cook replaces Ipswich regular Heeps who suffered a shoulder separation after a heat 15 fall last Thursday which is likely to keep him out for at least three weeks.

Paul Starke will also be joining the club, replacing Jordan Stewart who underwent surgery last Friday after suffering a broken collarbone, dislocated shoulder and broken ribs in a crash at Birmingham last Wednesday. The Australian is estimated to miss at least six weeks of racing.

Promoter Chris Louis explained why the club have made the changes as they look to get the season back on track after a difficult week.

“We have got to this point purely because of injuries and circumstances,” said Louis. “It was one of the worst weeks that I can remember in Ipswich Speedway’s history. A massive loss on Monday at Wolverhampton, losing Jason (Crump) and then hearing the news on Wednesday that Jordan had a bad crash at Birmingham suffering multiple injuries. Then going into Thursday at Ipswich with a skeleton team and losing at home to local rivals King’s Lynn which is never an easy pill to swallow and then losing Cam to injury in the last heat.

“I could never have anticipated losing three riders in a week and it has forced our hand. This season is condensed, it is coming thick and fast and it is always going to be difficult getting suitable guests and when you are three riders down your hand is forced, you have to make changes and you have to act fast. The changes that we’ve made are without doubt the best thing we could do, and we have got to regroup.”

Cook was recently released by King’s Lynn after completing just two fixtures, but Louis is confident that the former Grand Prix rider will find his best form at the top level in Ipswich colours.

“I spoke at length to Craig about what happened at King’s Lynn and he absolutely convinced me that he just had a bad couple of meetings. Like a lot of riders, he had an enforced long break and he has got to get his head around that. He didn’t settle down immediately but since we have been talking to him, we can see his results at Glasgow, they have been impeccable, and he convinced me that he is ready to go and perform at every level. I didn’t waste a second in getting the move done.”

The promoter admitted that replacing Ipswich asset Heeps had been a tough decision but said it was a move that had to made after he picked up a shoulder separation injury last week.

“Cam is the biggest victim in terms of circumstance. He wasn’t doing a bad job, he was having a few issues working things out after the long break and getting himself settled with engines and stuff but again it was another injury that we just couldn’t allow time to go by without making changes.”

We wish Cameron all the best in his recovery and look forward to seeing him back in action again soon.

For more reaction on the signing of Starke, click here.

BELLE VUE 55-35 IPSWICH: RACEDAY REPORT

By Henry Chard

THE SCORES

BELLE VUE 55: Brady Kurtz 8, Richie Worrall 7+2, Steve Worrall © 11+3, Charles Wright 13+1, Dan Bewley 7, Tom Brennan 1, Jye Etheridge 8. Team Manager: Mark Lemon

IPSWICH 35: Craig Cook (g) 4+1, Aaron Summers (g) 2, Jake Allen 11, Danny King © 6+1, Anders Rowe 3+2, Drew Kemp 9+1. Team Manager: Chris Louis

REFEREE: M. Breckon

PREMIERSHIP TABLE

TeamMeetingsPoints
Belle Vue513
Wolverhampton410
Ipswich67
Peterborough35
Sheffield44
King’s Lynn43

WHAT HAPPENED?

A depleted ‘Tru Plant’ Witches side fell to their third consecutive defeat in the Premiership on Monday night at Belle Vue.

The Suffolk side travelled to Manchester without three of their team with Jason Crump, Jordan Stewart and Cameron Heeps all out injured after crashes last week. Ipswich kept the scores tight for the first six heats of racing, but the hosts showed their strength as the meeting went on and recorded a comfortable win, taking the chequered flag in every race after heat six. Jake Allen top scored for Ipswich with 11.

The Aces got proceedings going with a 5-1 before a shared heat two. Allen got the first Ipswich race win of the night in heat three in a 3-3 before the away side halved the home team’s lead in heat four as Drew Kemp won with captain Danny King third for a 2-4.

The home team replied with another maximum in heat five, but King was the winner from the gate in heat six as the points were shared. Dan Bewley bounced back from his surprise last place in heat four with a win in heat seven ahead of Allen and Tom Brennan got the better of Ipswich guest Aaron Summers at the back for a Belle Vue 4-2. The hosts extended their lead in heat eight with another 4-2 to give them a 10-point lead after eight races.

Belle Vue were hitting their stride by this stage and recorded another 5-1 in heat nine to put them in full control of the tie. Stand-in team manager for the night Chris Louis responded by putting King in heat 10 as a tactical substitute but the Witches couldn’t reduce the deficit as Richie Worrall won a shared heat. Bewley provided another Aces heat winner in heat 11 in a 3-3 before Steve Worrall did the same in heat 12 to put the Manchester club on the brink of confirming victory, 14 points ahead with three to race.

The run of Belle Vue heat winners extended to seven as Brady Kurtz passed Ipswich guest Craig Cook to win heat 13 with Bewley third for an Aces 4-2. It was another heat win for the hosts in heat 14 as Charles Wright passed both Witches on the opening lap to take the victory. The night ended with a 5-1 awarded to the home team as Wright won and Allen was excluded for taking down Steve Worrall on the final lap whilst trying to make a move for second, resulting in a 20-point victory for the Aces.

LOUIS REACTION

Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches promoter Chris Louis reflects on defeat in Manchester.

“We were able to fill the slots but were not providing the race winners. I can’t knock anyone they all gave it 100%. I felt in many ways we actually got better in the second half, but it was never going to be enough. You can’t take anything away from Belle Vue, they are high in confidence and are winning and are good at home. It was a long night for Drew and Jake with so many extra rides and around Belle Vue that is hard on man and machine. We stuck to the task, but it was a tough night.

“Morale was alright tonight, they continued to give 100% throughout the night. At the moment we are in a tough situation and we are working day and night to try and fix that. The season is coming thick and fast and there are several race nights with all six teams racing, we can’t rely on being patched up like that and it is a very tough situation at the moment.”

RIDER OF THE NIGHT

Allen impressed again for the away side scoring 11 points which included one race win and four second places before an exclusion in heat 15.

WHAT IT MEANS

Belle Vue continue their unbeaten start to the season and remain top of the table. The Witches record their third defeat on the trot and stay third.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches host the Peterborough Panthers on Thursday 10th June at Foxhall Stadium in a Premiership fixture. Tickets can be purchased here.

BELLE VUE V IPSWICH: RACEDAY PREVIEW

By Henry Chard

All the details ahead of our Premiership fixture with Belle Vue.

WHEN & WHERE

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches travel to Manchester to face the Belle Vue Aces at the National Speedway Stadium on Monday 7th June in a Premiership fixture that starts at 7.30pm.

TEAMS

BELLE VUE: 1. Brady Kurtz 7.75 2. Richie Worrall 5.06 3. Steve Worrall 5.67 © 4. Charles Wright 6.60 5. Dan Bewley 6.59 6. Tom Brennan (RS) 7. Jye Etheridge 4.55. Team Manager: Mark Lemon

IPSWICH: 1. Craig Cook (g) 8.00 2. R/R for Jordan Stewart 4.00 3. Aaron Summers (g) 6.17 4. Jake Allen 5.70 5. Danny King 6.85 © 6. Anders Rowe 3.00 7. Drew Kemp (RS). Team Manager: Chris Louis

REFEREE: M. Breckon

PREMIERSHIP TABLE

TeamMeetingsPoints
Belle Vue410
Wolverhampton37
Ipswich57
Sheffield34
King’s Lynn33
Peterborough22

TICKETS

All tickets will be sold online only and can be purchased here. Details on covid regulations at the stadium can be found here.

THE STORY

The Witches continue their busy schedule with a trip north on Monday to face the high-flying Belle Vue Aces. Ipswich had a week to forget last week, falling to a heavy defeat at Wolverhampton last Monday before suffering their first home defeat of the season to King’s Lynn on Thursday, whilst also picking up three injuries.

The away side will be without number one Jason Crump again after he broke eight ribs following a big crash in the defeat to Wolves and he will be out for an estimated three weeks. On Wednesday Jordan Stewart suffered multiple injuries in a crash at Birmingham whilst racing for Championship club Redcar. The new signing underwent successful surgery to have a screw put in his shoulder last Friday after he suffered two broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and a broken collarbone and it is estimated that he will be out of action for six weeks. Cameron Heeps then joined the injury list with a crash in heat 15 of Thursday’s defeat to King’s Lynn and has suffered a shoulder separation that will see him miss an estimated three weeks of action. It has left the club severely depleted after a promising start to the campaign.

Craig Cook has been booked as a guest for the injured Crump and it is a track he knows well having represented the Aces consistently in recent years. It’s also a track captain Danny King has happy memories of having won the British title there back in 2016. Rider replacement will be used for the injured Jordan Stewart and Aaron Summers has been booked a guest for the injured Heeps. The two sides faced each other at Foxhall last month and could not be separated as it ended in a 45-45 draw and the Suffolk side ran the Aces close on both occasions at the National Speedway Stadium in the 2019 season losing 41-49 and 43-47. Chris Louis will take charge of the side for one night only with Ritchie Hawkins absent for family reasons.

HAWKINS PREVIEW

Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins gives his pre-match thoughts…

“We are pleased to have Craig in as a guest booking, there is no pressure of expectation on him, he can go and race and have fun at a place I know he knows well. Cookie will come in and do a good job, he’s a rider that needs laps to get back into racing after a long break missing last season but I’m sure he will do well.

“As a team we need to really pull together with the guys that we have left and put on and show and perform. It’s a track that everyone enjoys racing.

“I will be missing Belle Vue for family reasons, I don’t like to miss them, but Chris will be taking charge and he will be in for a busy night with rider replacement.”  

THE OPPOSITION

Belle Vue have started the season strongly and currently sit top of early table having not tasted defeat after four meetings. Following their draw at Ipswich last month, the Aces had a double-header against Peterborough on bank holiday Monday and it was a profitable day for Mark Lemon’s side who perhaps surprisingly drew at home to the Panthers earlier in the day before a big four-point win followed later that evening at the East of England Arena & Events Centre.

Dan Bewley is a man on form for the home team having only dropped one point from the two meetings on bank holiday Monday and he also recently booked his place in the Speedway Euro Championship series, he will be a hard man to beat on his home track.

AWAY DAYS

Ticket prices can be found here and official programmes cost £3. For more information about your visit to the National Speedway Stadium, head here.

For more information about the club head to Belle Vue’s official website.

IPSWICH 44–46 KING’S LYNN: RACEDAY REPORT

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THE SCORES

IPSWICH 44: Scott Nicholls (g) 4, Cameron Heeps 8, Jake Allen 9+2, Danny King © 8, Anders Rowe 13+1, Drew Kemp 2+1. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

KING’S LYNN 46: Erik Riss 8, Thomas Jorgensen 5+1, Lewis Kerr © 11+3, Richard Lawson 15, Ryan Kinsley 1, Ty Proctor 6. Team Manager: Peter Schroeck

REFEREE: A. Steele

PREMIERSHIP TABLE

TeamMeetingsPoints
Belle Vue410
Wolverhampton37
Ipswich57
Sheffield34
King’s Lynn33
Peterborough22

WHAT HAPPENED?

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches fell to their first home defeat of the season after losing a last-heat decider against King’s Lynn on Thursday in the Premiership.

The home team went into the meeting with injury problems piling up having lost number one Jason Crump and Jordan Stewart this week following heavy crashes. Ipswich led throughout the meeting by a narrow margin but conceded a 1-5 in the final heat as the visitors claimed victory. Anders Rowe top scored for Ipswich with 13+1.

The home team started well as Rowe took victory in heat one with Scott Nicholls, in as a guest for the injured Crump, picking up third for a 4-2. Rowe was back out in heat two and picked up another three points with teammate Drew Kemp behind him for an early 5-1 to the hosts. Jake Allen won heat three, but Thomas Jorgensen got the better of Cameron Heeps at the back as the points were shared. The Stars picked up a 2-4 in heat four to reduce the home team’s lead to four.

Erik RIss won a shared heat five before Richard Lawson did the same in heat six. Jorgensen made it four race wins on the trot for the Stars taking the chequered flag in heat seven as Ipswich skipper Danny King fell on the opening lap with King’s Lynn picking up a 2-4. Allen couldn’t be beaten in heat eight but with the visitors in second and third it meant a 3-3 with the home holding a two-point lead.

Heeps and Allen gave the Suffolk side some breathing space with a 5-1 in heat nine, but King’s Lynn cancelled it out with consecutive heat advantages in the two heats that followed. Heat 12 was stopped as Heeps and Jorgensen fell on the opening turn, a fall that ended Jorgensen’s night as he was withdrawn from the re-run. Heeps picked himself up to win the re-run with Rowe third for a 4-2 to the Witches that gave them a four-point lead with three heats to race.

King won heat 13 ahead of Lawson with Nicholls third to extend the lead to six points and put Ipswich in a good position to secure the win. However, the away side used Lawson as a tactical substitute in heat 14 which he duly won with captain Lewis Kerr second for a 1-5 to take it to a last-heat decider. The visiting pair repeated that maximum in heat 15 to take the win on the night as Heeps fell on the final lap picking up an injury to end a miserable week of racing for the Witches.

HAWKINS REACTION

Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins reflects on Thursday’s defeat to the Stars.

“It’s a really disappointing result. Well done to King’s Lynn, I though they rode really on the night and I have no complaints about them taking victory. We weren’t good enough and we are massively disappointed to lose and it rounds off a really tough week.

“To end up with three riders laid up in hospital in the space of four days is really tough for the team to take. We are short on bodies now going forward and we are going to need to look at our options and rebuild. At the moment we don’t know the timescales of the injuries and the recoveries.

“Hopefully we will hear about Cam in the near future. Jordy is under the knife on Friday, but he has multiple fractures, so it looks like he is going to be out long-term. We are hoping Jason has a speedy recovery and will be back with us soon, it will take as long as it takes.”

TRU7.COM RIDER OF THE NIGHT

Rowe picked up the Tru7.com rider of the night with another terrific display from reserve, scoring 13+1.

WHAT IT MEANS

Ipswich stay third following the defeat, but King’s Lynn pick up their first points of 2021 and move off of the bottom of the table.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches travel to Manchester to take on the Belle Vue Aces on Monday 7th June at the National Speedway Stadium in a Premiership fixture. Tickets can be purchased here.