BELLE VUE 49: Max Fricke © 15 (Maximum), Dan Bewley 8+2, Dimitri Berge 8, Kenneth Bjerre 7+1, Steve Worrall 6, Jaimon Lidsey 5+2, Tero Aarnio 0. Team Manager: Mark Lemon
IPSWICH 41: Danny King © 11, Jake Allen 9+2, Cameron Heeps 6+2, Chris Harris 6+2, Richard Lawson 5, Edward Kennett 4, Krystian Pieszczek 0. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
REFEREE: C. Gay
VENUE: National Speedway Stadium
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches fell just short of a consolation point in Manchester on Monday night as they lost 49-41 at Belle Vue in the Premiership.
Ipswich took an early lead in the tie, but the Aces grew into the meeting and built up a 14-point lead by heat 10 as the match looked to be running away from the visitors. However, the Witches kept on battling and pulled some points back to give themselves a chance of a consolation point heading into the final heat. It wasn’t to be though as Ipswich had no answer to Max Fricke in heat 15 as he completed his five-ride maximum to ensure the Witches took no points away from the National Speedway Stadium. Danny King top scored for Ipswich with 11 points.
Richard Lawson and Chris Harris made the start in heat one, but Aces captain Fricke was at his best as he first passed Harris for second and then took first from Lawson on the final lap as the points were shared to open the evening. The Witches did go ahead in heat two as the Aces pair had no answer to Edward Kennett and Jake Allen who gated and recorded a 5-1 to the away side. Ipswich captain King was fastest in heat three, but Cameron Heeps couldn’t keep Dan Bewley behind him as the points were shared, leaving the away side 11-7 up.
Aces boss Mark Lemon made an early reserve switch ahead of heat four, bringing in Dimitri Berge for Tero Aarnio. Berge and Allen both gave it their all as the pair couldn’t be separated, but it was the home rider who eventually got the better of Allen to win but the Australian did well to hold second with Kenneth Bjerre chasing hard in third, meaning the hosts had to settle for a 4-2. Bewley won heat five as Harris worked his way into second at the end of the first lap but with Steve Worrall third, the scores were now level. The home team then went ahead in heat six with a 5-1 thanks to Fricke and Jaimon Lidsey, putting them 20-16 ahead.
Aarnio replaced Berge in heat seven but it only got as far as the first bend as King and Aarnio hit the deck, with all four riders were called back for the re-run. Bjerre won the re-run from the gate with King and Heeps in the points for a 3-3. Lemon made another reserve switch in heat eight bringing in Berge for Aarnio. The home pair of Berge and Lidsey got themselves into a 5-1 position going into the second lap but Allen split the pair and had another battle with Berge at the front but once again it was the home man who hung on to give the Aces a 4-2 that extended their lead to six points. That enabled Ritchie Hawkins to bring in King as a tactical substitute in heat nine, replacing Krystian Pieszczek. Worrall made the gate with both Kennett and King in the points, but Kennett fell at the end of the opening lap, leaving King on his own. The Witches skipper traded moves with Bewley all race before he pulled up on the final lap, meaning a 5-1 to the hosts that put them in control of the meeting, leading 32-22.
Belle Vue went further ahead in heat 10 with another maximum as Fricke won and Lidsey clung on for second as Heeps almost pipped him on the line. Lawson and Harris hit back in the following heat with a 5-1 to keep the away side’s hopes of a positive result alive. Hawkins brought in Allen to replaced Kennett in heat 12 as the away side kept on battling away as King won with Bewley managing to get into second ahead of Allen. That 4-2 to the Witches still left them with work to do, 40-32 down with three races to go.
The meeting was won after heat 13, Fricke and Bjerre proving too good again as they recorded a 5-1. The Witches kept themselves in the hunt for a point going into heat 15 though as Heeps and Allen hit a 5-1 to the visitors in heat 14, meaning Ipswich needed a heat advantage in the final heat to take something away from Manchester. Fricke completed his maximum with a win in heat 15 to ensure the away side took nothing from the meeting as the night ended with a 3-3 with King and Heeps in the points. That left the final score 49-41 to the home side, meaning the Witches just missed out on a consolation point.
RIDER OF THE NIGHT…
King has fond memories of the National Speedway Stadium having won the British title there in 2016 and it is clear to see that it is a track he enjoys racing on. He scored 11 from six rides including two race wins.
The hosts were building momentum as they took a six-point lead after heat eight. Hawkins put King in as a tactical substitute in heat nine in a bid to keep his side in the meeting. However, the skipper couldn’t make an impact on that occasion and the Aces hit a 5-1 to extend their lead to 10 and ultimately give the Witches too much to do in the remaining heats.
WHAT IT MEANS…
Belle Vue take three points that puts them top of the Premiership table on points difference. The Witches don’t take any points from this one and they sit second with three meetings in hand on the leaders.
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches host the Poole Pirates at Foxhall on Thursday 11th July in a Premiership fixture at 7.30pm.
AROUND THE TRACKS…
Wolves beat Swindon 48-42 in a close contest at Monmore Green with the Robins taking a consolation point. King’s Lynn hammered a depleted Poole side 57-33 at the Adrian Flux Arena.