By Henry Chard
BELLE VUE 31: Brady Kurtz 18, Matej Zagar 10, Tom Brennan (RS) 3. Team Manager: Mark Lemon
IPSWICH 25: Jason Doyle 18, Erik Riss 5, Anders Rowe (RS) 2. Team Manager: Chris Louis
WOLVES 20: Sam Masters 15, Ryan Douglas 5, Ace Pijper (RS) 0. Team Manager: Peter Adams
PETERBOROUGH 20: Chris Harris 16, Benjamin Basso 4, Jordan Jenkins (RS) 0. Team Manager: Rob Lyon
SHEFFIELD 20: Jack Holder 14, Justin Sedgmen 4, Connor Mountain (RS) 2. Team Manager: Simon Stead
KING’S LYNN 19: Richard Lawson 8, Frederik Jakobsen 11, Jack Smith (RS) 0. Team Manager: Alex Brady
SEMI-FINAL: Doyle, Basso, Riss, Harris – 6-3 to Ipswich
FINAL: Zagar, Kurtz, Doyle, Riss – 7-2 to Belle Vue
REFEREE: C. Ackroyd
PREMIERSHIP PAIRS TABLE
The ‘Tru Mix’ Witches pairing of Jason Doyle and Erik Riss finished as runners-up in Round 5 of the Premiership Pairs at Belle Vue on Thursday night.
Ipswich had won the last three rounds of the competition and were the leaders heading to Manchester. The hosts topped the qualifying scores ahead of the Witches to progress directly to the final before Ipswich beat Peterborough in the semi-final. However, there was no stopping the Aces duo in the final as they raced to victory on the night, meaning Ipswich need just a fifth-place finish on Monday in the final round at Leicester to secure victory in the competition as they maintained their 12-point lead.
Stand-in team manager Chris Louis decided to use Rising Star Anders Rowe in heat three as Doyle flew from the gate to win the race ahead of Frederik Jakobsen with Rowe picking up third after Richard Lawson retired early on in the race, meaning a 6-3 heat advantage over King’s Lynn.
Doyle was a comfortable winner in heat five, but partner Riss retired at the back meaning a 4-5 to Sheffield.
Riss made the start in heat eight and hit the first turn ahead with Doyle at the back, but the Australian made a smart cut back on the second turn to fly into third before going under Sam Masters at the end of the opening lap to join Riss at the front as the Witches duo raced to a 7-2 maximum over Wolverhampton.
Doyle was in a class of his own in heat 11 as he won with ease ahead of Chris Harris and Riss picked up third for a 6-3 to Ipswich over Peterborough.
Belle Vue hit a 7-2 maximum over the Witches in heat 15 meaning they would progress directly to the final whilst the Witches would contest the semi-final.
There was a delay to proceedings as those behind the scenes decided who joined Ipswich in the semi-final with Peterborough, Sheffield and Wolverhampton tied on 20 points. Eventually after a ballot took place, it was the Panthers who were the opponents. The following day, the SCB released a statement apologising to Wolverhampton after Wolves should have qualified via the countback system and the Round 5 positions were adjusted.
Doyle was once again clear out front in the semi-final but with Harris second and Benjamin Basso third it looked like the Witches were heading out. However, Harris got out of shape on the final turn and took a nasty fall, meaning Ipswich progressed to the final.
The Aces were too good for the Witches in the final as they delighted their home crowd with a maximum to secure victory on the night, meaning it all goes down to the final round at Leicester on Monday.
REACTION FROM THE PROMOTER
Ipswich ‘Tru Mix’ Witches promoter Chris Louis reflects on Thursday’s fifth round at Belle Vue.
“It was a pretty solid performance. Anders came in early doors and picked up two points. The score chart might record that Lawson had a breakdown, but Anders was third anyway at that time and made a decent start, so I was really happy with that.
“Erik struggled all night but kept plugging away and picked up vital points for heat advantages. Jason was Jason and was so determined to win. It was a good solid performance all round. Yeah, we rode our luck in the semi-final at the end with Bomber (Chris Harris) crashing and we send our best wishes to him, we hope he is ok.
“There is no shame in finishing second to Belle Vue, they are hard to beat around here, particularly Brady and Zagar, so I was pleased with the end result. At the end of the day, we maintained our 12-point lead, it is a different team chasing now but to come in with a 12-point lead and leave with a 12-point lead, I’m happy with that.
“It is fairly straight forward for Monday, Belle Vue will need to win and if they do we need to avoid finishing last otherwise there will be a run-off. You can’t say it is impossible for us to finish last, even though we have had three wins and a second in the last four rounds. We were second from bottom in the opening round, so it can happen. We have got to go there determined to do well.”
WHAT IT MEANS
Ipswich pick up eight points and maintain their 12-point lead going into the final round after finishing as runners-up at the National Speedway Stadium. Only Belle Vue can now match Ipswich’s points total with victory on Monday night, meaning Ipswich need just a fifth-placed finish at Leicester to secure the title.
The ‘Tru Mix’ Witches pairing heads to Leicester on Monday 31st October for the final round of the Premiership Pairs. Tickets can be purchased on the gate.
Digital Media Manager at Ipswich Speedway