By Henry Chard
LEICESTER 43: Max Fricke 5+1, Justin Sedgmen 7, Richard Lawson 10+1, Chris Harris © 8+2, Nick Morris 5+1, Jake Allen 4+1, Dan Thompson (RS) 4+2. Team Manager: Stewart Dickson
IPSWICH 47: Jason Doyle 12+2, Erik Riss R/R, Danny King © 11, Keynan Rew 5, Emil Sayfutdinov 12 (Maximum), Danyon Hume 5, Joe Thompson (RS) 2+1. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
REFEREE: D. Watters
KNOCKOUT CUP DRAW
Wolverhampton 46-20 Belle Vue – First Leg
First Leg: Ipswich 48-42 Leicester. Second Leg: Leicester 43-47 Ipswich
Sheffield 58-32 King’s Lynn – First Leg
The Ipswich ‘Tru Mix’ Witches progressed to the semi-final of the Knockout Cup after beating Leicester away from home on Monday night in the second leg.
The visitors took a six-point lead into the decisive leg but were once again without Erik Riss with the German being treated for a viral infection and rider replacement being used in his absence. The two sides exchanged heat advantages early on, but it was Ipswich who provided every race winner from heat four until heat 12, keeping the Lions at arm’s length. Maximums in heats 13 and 15 from Ipswich booked their spot in the last four on what was an impressive performance on the road. Jason Doyle top scored with 12+2 whilst Emil Sayfutdinov hit a 12-point maximum.
Max Fricke got the better of Doyle in heat one as the hosts recorded a 4-2 but the Witches responded immediately in heat two as Danyon Hume and Joe Thompson raced to a maximum. The Lions then went back in front in heat three with a 5-1 of their own. Sayfutdinov set a new track record in heat four on his first visit to the circuit as he took the chequered flag ahead of Nick Morris and Hume picked up third place to level the score at 12-12 on the night, keeping the Witches six points ahead on aggregate after the opening exchanges.
Doyle got his first win of the night in a shared heat five and Sayfutdinov was a winner again in heat six as Hume finished third ahead of Fricke to edge the visitors ahead on the night. Skipper Danny King won heat seven, but Keynan Rew was beaten on the run to the line by Jake Allen for a point, meaning a 3-3. King was back out in heat eight for a rider replacement ride and duly won again as the points were shared, leaving the away side two points up on the night and eight points ahead on aggregate.
The run of Witches winners kept on coming as Sayfutdinov passed Harris to win heat nine with Richard Lawson beating Hume to a point on the final lap. It was another Ipswich victory in heat 10 as King won another shared heat and then Doyle carried on the run in heat 11, putting another three points on the board. Leicester finally recorded another race win in heat 12 as Lawson held off King for the victory and Allen took third for a 4-2 to the home team which levelled the score at 36-36 on the night, the Witches maintaining their six-point lead on aggregate with three races to go.
Sayfutdinov and Doyle once again proved too strong in heat 13 as the powerful duo raced to a 1-5, meaning the Suffolk side needed just a point from the final two races to secure their progress into the semi-final. Heat 14 was stopped after some first bend bunching and in the re-run the Lions hit a 5-1 to level the meeting score but with their exit from the cup was confirmed. Rew and Doyle finished the night in style as they raced to a maximum to complete a fine night’s work by the Witches.
REACTION FROM THE BOSS
Ipswich ‘Tru Mix’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins reflects on Monday’s win over Leicester.
“It was definitely our best performance of the season. I am delighted with the boys and how they bounced back from the disappointment of last Thursday. To come here with six men and ride like that was terrific. I am delighted with all six of them.
“Emil has never been here and to be fair we felt it would take him a couple of rides to get his head around the place. Emil being Emil showed his class again and broke the track record in his first ride and was on it. It was a terrific maximum, and he was superb. Keynan rode well right from the first race, and he gained experience and got better as the night went on through knowing the track a bit better, but he was very unlucky to finish his programmed heats with two points. I thought he rode far better than that and managed to put it together in that extra race in heat 15, so as a team we were delighted for him, and he rode really well.
“We talk about the top end but every rider in the team has got a win or a paid win, we were quite solid tonight with a very strong top end. Danny winning three heats certainly helps but I think it was a great all-round team performance really.
“We spoke before the meeting and told the boys we have got three trophies to win this year and we certainly don’t want to lose the opportunity to win one of them in April. The boys want to win and progress, and you could see their determination tonight from the word go and as a team we stepped it up a level tonight.”
RIDER OF THE NIGHT
It was a real team performance but on his first visit to Leicester, Sayfutdinov hit an impeccable 12-point maximum, showing he needed no time to get to grips with the track.
WHAT IT MEANS
Ipswich progress to the semi-finals of the Knockout Cup whilst Leicester bow out at the first hurdle.
The Ipswich ‘Tru Mix’ Witches host the Sheffield Tigers at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday 20th April in the Premiership. Tickets can be purchased online in advance here and on the gate.
Digital Media Manager at Ipswich Speedway