Image courtesy of Jeff Davies

By Henry Chard


OXFORD 42: Maciej Janowski 7, Charles Wright 7+1, Nicolai Klindt 3+1, Rohan Tungate 11+1, Chris Harris © 8, Lewis Kerr 6 (Withdrawn), Ashton Boughen (RS) 0. Team Manager: Peter Schroeck

IPSWICH 48: Emil Sayfutdinov 11+2, Jordan Jenkins 5, Danny King © 6+1, Adam Ellis 5, Jason Doyle 13+1, Keynan Rew 1+1, Dan Thompson (RS) 7. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

REFEREE: C. Turnbull


Belle Vue34
King’s Lynn20


The Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches maintained their 100% record in 2024 with an excellent away win against league leaders Oxford Spires on Thursday night in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership.

Both teams came into the fixture yet to taste defeat this season and at full strength, but it was the visitors who held a narrow advantage throughout the tie before sealing the points in the final race. Jason Doyle top scored with 13+1 on an entertaining night’s action in front of a good crowd.

The Suffolk side went ahead in heat one as Emil Sayfutdinov held off a charge from Maciej Janowski to win and Jordan Jenkins picked up a point for a 2-4. It was a 3-3 in heat two before Rohan Tungate did well to keep Adam Ellis behind him to take victory in heat three in another shared race. Doyle won heat four as Chris Harris worked hard to split the Witches pair which resulted in another heat advantage to Ipswich, putting them 10-14 up.

Tungate was a winner again in a shared heat five, getting the better of Jenkins to cross the line first. Doyle and Keynan Rew gated on a maximum in heat six but Janowski and Charles Wright both passed the Witches reserve for the 3-3. Lewis Kerr won heat seven and Danny King rode excellently to prevent a 5-1 to the hosts as he battled past Harris for second. Dan Thompson produced a determined ride to win heat eight ahead of Wright as Jenkins finished third for a heat advantage to make it 22-26 to the away team.

Doyle coasted to victory in a shared heat nine and in heat 10 the hosts clawed two points back as Janowski overtook Ellis for the win and Wright came home in third. Heat 11 was stopped as Kerr hit the fence whilst at the back and the Oxford reserve was withdrawn from the meeting with an injury. Sayfutdinov got the better of Harris to win the re-run as Ipswich recorded a 2-4. King provided another entertaining move in heat 12 as he raced past Nicolai Klindt for three points with partner Thompson amongst the points again for the heat advantage, giving the Witches a 33-39 lead.

Harris rounded Sayfutdinov in style to win heat 13 but with Doyle doing the same to Janowski at the back it was a 3-3. Wright, in for the injured Kerr, won heat 14 as partner Tungate passed both Witches in one move to get Oxford a 5-1 that took the meeting to a last-heat decider. However, as they so often did in 2023, Doyle and Sayfutdinov proved too strong in heat 15 as they raced to a maximum that secured the points and kept up the perfect record this campaign.


Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins reflects on Thursday’s win against Oxford.

“It was another great performance and we carried on from where we left off at Leicester, it was a very similar performance, and we were solid throughout. Everyone contributed and I’m really happy to get an away win on the board early which eases a little bit of pressure on the season as a whole.

“We didn’t run many last places which makes you solid, we had a solid middle order led by an amazing top two. Dan is flying as a Rising Star, and it is great to see.

“Doyley and Adam had a meeting here last year, but the conditions were a lot different in that one because I think there was heavy rain, but they adapted pretty quickly. Adam, I felt looked a lot better than his points. When you have got a number seven that is going well you can give him extra rides, but I felt at this stage of the season and with it being a league match we have a lot of fixtures to go, and we need to keep the boys on track.

“I certainly feel like Keynan and Jordan were not riding bad enough to warrant losing a ride. Dan was riding exceptionally well but it was really nice to see Jordan step up another level after Leicester and he is improving every week. For him, five points from number two is a great return.

“It has been an amazing start to the season, as good as we could have hoped for. We are already gelled from last season but there is more to come I think from most of the side. Other teams will improve as well and there are a lot of solid, good-looking teams about and I’m sure the season will be full of twists and turns.

“It was another good crowd; every time I have been here it has been a great crowd and a good atmosphere. There was a warm welcome and it was lovely to see a bit about John Louis in the programme and on the front cover, that was a really nice touch, so respect for that. I really enjoyed my trip and thanks to all the travelling fans for coming and I hope we have sent you home happy.”


Image courtesy of Les Aubrey

Rising Star Thompson continued his terrific start to the season with seven points from reserve, but Doyle was too good for the Spires, dropping just one point to an opponent all night.


Ipswich collect two points and stay second with maximum points from their opening three meetings. Oxford remain top but suffer their first defeat of the season.


The Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches host the Oxford Spires at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday 18th April in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership. Tickets can be purchased on the gate and in advance here.