By Henry Chard
WHEN AND WHERE…
The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches travel to Wiltshire to face the Swindon Robins at the Abbey Stadium on Monday 22nd April in a Premiership Supporters Cup clash that starts at 7.30pm.
SWINDON: 1. Jason Doyle 9.80 © 2. Dawid Lampart 4.58 3. Troy Batchelor 7.69 4. Adam Ellis 6.26 5. Tobiasz Musielak 6.52 6. Zach Wajtknecht 4.26 7. James Shanes 3.23 Team Manager: Alun Rossiter
IPSWICH: 1.Chris Harris 7.59 2. David Bellego 6.11 3. Danny King 6.36 © 4. Krystian Pieszczek 6.50 5. Richard Lawson 6.55 6. Cameron Heeps 4.72 7. Jake Allen 4.56. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
REFEREE: R. Allan
SOUTHERN GROUP SUPPORTERS CUP TABLE…
WHAT’S THE STORY?
The Witches continue their Supporters Cup campaign against the Swindon Robins on Monday in their third meeting of the group stage. Ipswich have one win and one defeat to their name so far in the group having heavily beaten King’s Lynn at Foxhall before being defeated on the road in Norfolk. The Witches raced to a convincing win against the Belle Vue Aces in the Premiership last Thursday, but attentions now turn back to the cup competition.
Ipswich will be hoping to have number one Chris Harris back in the side. The Cornishman missed last Thursday’s win, having had an operation on his scaphoid last Tuesday following the crash he suffered whilst riding for Somerset in the Championship. ‘Bomber’ will face a late fitness test ahead of the meeting. David Bellego returns to a club he knows well having spent the last two seasons with Swindon and he will be hoping to use some of his track knowledge despite the track having undergone major changes this winter. The Witches will see Monday as a chance to pick up some vital points on the road in the race for top spot and will be hoping the Robins do not totally feel at home on their new track just yet. Fans are reminded that the Witches riders for heat 14 will be chosen by them. Look out for the Twitter poll on our official account after heat 10, you have 15 minutes to cast your vote for the Witch you want to see in heat 14 and the top two in the poll will be the riders that compete in the heat. The two riders chosen in heat 14 will not be permitted to take part in heat 15.
FROM THE MANAGER…
‘Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins looks ahead to Monday’s clash…
“We are kind of going into the unknown a bit with them having changed the track a bit and I think there have been a few issues there. They had a meeting on Thursday so will be a little more dialled in than us at the start of the meeting, but we need to perform solidly like we did last Thursday and it’s an opportunity for us.
“Chris may be fit for Monday, but we will know more in the coming days.
“Half the track has changed now at Swindon, so it will be different. David has done well for us, I have no complaints with him. There is no expectation on him because it’s against his old club Swindon and no extra pressure. I know what he is capable of and he should be good for us on Monday.
“The fans have got us two heat advantages in heat 14 so far via the Twitter votes, so if they can make it a hat-trick on Monday, I will be happy!”
Swindon will be looking to improve on their 2018 season having missed out on the play-offs last time out. The Robins were crowned champions in 2017 and they will be looking to return to the top of the tree in 2019. In a bid to do so, they have brought back 2017 world champion Jason Doyle to the Abbey to lead the side this campaign and he is the only Grand Prix rider to be riding in England this season and the Australian will undoubtedly be a hard man to beat on any track this year.
Doyle is joined by compatriot Troy Batchelor who has bags of experience at World Cup and Grand Prix level and has spent many seasons in Wiltshire. Former Witch Adam Ellis has made Swindon his home in recent years and will be a threat in the middle order. There has been major track work over the winter at the Abbey as they have reduced the size of their track in a bid to improve the quality of racing. The Robins picked up a Premiership league point at Wolves after a narrow 46-44 defeat last Monday but were held at home in the Supporters Cup last Thursday after a 45-45 draw with Poole. However, they stormed to a big away win against the Pirates on Good Friday to put them top of the group and in the driving seat.
ON THE ROAD…
Swindon ride in red and orange kevlars with white and black and race at the Abbey Stadium. The track measures at 320 metres with the track record belonging to Brady Kurtz who set a time of 62.23 in April of 2019. An adult ticket costs £18, concessions £15, children (aged 11-16) £5 and children under the age of 11 go free. For travel information head here.
For more information about the club head to Swindon’s official website.
AROUND THE TRACKS…
Ipswich beat Belle Vue 52-38 in the Premiership at Foxhall last Thursday. Poole drew 45-45 away at Swindon in the Supporters Cup as the Pirates picked up two valuable away points, leaving the Robins with just one point. The two sides met again on Good Friday in the same competition with the Robins claiming four points after a 53-37 win in Dorset.
Digital Media Manager at Ipswich Speedway