Image courtesy of Ian Charles

By Henry Chard


BELLE VUE 55: Brady Kurtz © 12 (Maximum), Norick Blödorn 5, Jaimon Lidsey 10, Ben Cook 8+1, Dan Bewley 12+2, Connor Mountain 6+1, Connor Bailey (RS) 2+1. Team Manager: Mark Lemon

IPSWICH 35: Emil Sayfutdinov © 7, Jordan Jenkins 1+1, Adam Ellis 3+1, Ryan Douglas (G) 11+1, Charles Wright (G) 3+1, Keynan Rew 1, Dan Thompson (RS) 9. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

REFEREE: S. Perkin


Belle Vue58
King’s Lynn30


The Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches were defeated for the first time in 2024 suffering a heavy loss at Belle Vue on Monday night in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership.

The visitors were without injured captain Danny King and Jason Doyle who had his flight delayed with Ryan Douglas and Charles Wright guesting in their place. The Suffolk side held a 12-point lead for the aggregate bonus point after a 51-39 win at Foxhall in March, but they went home pointless after the home team dominated the contest throughout. Guest Douglas top scored with 11+1.

The hosts started proceedings with a 4-2 in heat one as Emil Sayfutdinov rode well to split the home pairing. Dan Thompson rode brilliantly to round Connor Mountain and win a shared heat two. Belle Vue hit another heat advantage in heat three and Thompson made a flying start to heat four before being passed by British champion Dan Bewley as the points were shared, making it 14-10.

The Aces secured another 4-2 in heat five and added another in heat six. Bewley got the better of Douglas on the opening lap to win a shared heat seven. Heat eight was action-packed as Thompson did battle with Connor Bailey at the front before Bailey retired with mechanical issues. However, Norick Blödorn passed the Ipswich man on the final lap to prevent a heat advantage to the Witches, meaning his side held a 28-20 lead.

Team manager Ritchie Hawkins put Sayfutdinov in as a tactical substitute in heat nine, but the stand-in captain had to work overtime just to split the home pairing, resulting in another heat advantage to the hosts. It looked like the Witches might get their first heat advantage of the night in heat 10 but Brady Kurtz had other ideas and passed Adam Ellis late on to win with Douglas winning the battle at the back. The visitors had no answers to the Aces, and they hit a maximum in heat 11 as Sayfutdinov retired with bike issues. Thompson made another terrific gate in heat 12 but couldn’t keep Jaimon Lidsey behind him as Belle Vue recorded another 4-2 to seal victory and put them 44-28 in front.

Things got worse in heat 13 as the Aces recorded a 5-1 and they secured the bonus point in heat 14 despite Douglas holding off Ben Cook for the win. Douglas completed a good night’s work for himself in heat 15 as he defeated Bewley, but it was a night Ipswich will want to move on from swiftly.


Image courtesy of Ian Charles

Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins reflects on Monday’s defeat to Belle Vue.

“It was a tough night at the office, the first one of the year. Everything has gone so well so far so we certainly do not need to dwell on tonight. It was a very tough night, similar to recent visits to Belle Vue where we have just not been quick enough. We were missing a couple of riders and Dougy did a great job replacing Danny. Doyley was a massive loss and maybe he would have given us a shout for the bonus point but overall, I don’t think it made a massive difference to the result.

“If we knew what we need to do there, we would have put it right by now and we are constantly working on it as we will be on every visit there this year. We need to improve around here, and it will be something we will be working on.

“Dan was our star rider, and it was another superb performance carrying on his great run and to do it around Belle Vue shows a lot about him. His starting was brilliant, he is getting quicker and the more he keeps trapping like that and getting on the pace with the top boys like he was tonight, mixing it with the likes of Dan Bewley, it will only bring him on further.”


Thompson once again was terrific from reserve, scoring nine points and making excellent starts all night.


Ipswich suffer their first defeat of the season but stay top whilst Belle Vue move second collecting two league points and the aggregate bonus point.


The Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches host the Sheffield Tigers at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday 25th April in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership. Tickets can be purchased on the gate and in advance here.