Ipswich Witches through to Premiership play-off final after victory at current champions Belle Vue
Ipswich Witches are through to the Premiership play-off final after a dramatic last-heat victory at current champions Belle Vue last night.
The Foxhall side are now gunning for a League and Cup double, after winning the KO Cup two weeks ago.
The Witches held an 18-point lead going into last night’s second leg at the National Speedway Stadium, in Manchester – and by heat four had stretched that lead to 22 points.
However, the Aces struck back hard and as the riders went into the final race, the Witches were only two points up.
But Ipswich’s top guns, Emil Sayfutdinov and Jason Doyle struck gold for the Foxhall side in a stunning race that saw them both come from behind to pass the Belle Vue duo of Brady Kurtz and Dan Bewley. It was a fantastic finale.
The final, against Sheffield or Wolverhampton, is next week on Monday and Thursday – with the Witches home leg still to be decided.
Ipswich team boss Ritchie Hawkins was a happy man.
“It was fitting that it came down to our top two to do the business in heat 15,” he said.
“And what a ride it was from both. It was a phenomenal effort and quite honestly it is hard to put into words how I feel.
“There was massive pressure on them. Belle Vue were right back in it, had the favoured gates, but that’s why they are two of the best riders in the world. It’s what they live for.”
The Witches will now race against either Sheffield or Wolverhampton next week in the Premiership Grand Final – with Sheffield favourites after their first leg 10-point win at Wolves last night. The second leg is on Thursday.
“The season is coming to the most brilliant climax for us,” Witches owner Chris Louis said. “It hasn’t been all plain sailing, far from it. But the boys have stuck at it.
“The KO Cup is already in the trophy cabinet, now we want the double. This is not just all for the riders, but for our fans who have come out in their numbers all season to support us.
“It was a brilliant effort at Belle Vue, but we want to go again.”