Ipswich Witches get Premiership play-off hopes back on track with victory over Peterborough Panthers
There may be no meeting at Foxhall this week for the Witches, but last Thursday they got their Premiership play-off hopes back on track with a thumping win over Peterborough Panthers.
The Witches saw off the basement Panthers 52-38, with Jason Doyle racing to a four-ride maximum. He would have been joined by Emil Sayfutdinov, but the Russian suffered machine issues while leading heat 13.
However, the three points were much needed on a night when Sheffield suffered a surprise home defeat to Leicester.
Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins was delighted with the result.
“I thought it was a professional job, you need to win against the team that is bottom of the league, and we didn’t leave ourselves in any trouble,” he said.
“I was pleased with some of the performances which were an improvement on previous weeks, so I’m happy overall.
“I was happy with Dan Thompson, to come out in heat two, make a start like that and win your first race on your home debut and get that straight out of the way showed that he has got a lot about him.
“Danny (King) has spent a lot of time testing this week and put a lot of work in and I thought he looked the best he has all season around here, certainly of late. Hopefully that has given him a good platform to build on going forward.
“It is good to have Erik Riss back in the team and maybe he needs to just get laps under his belt now and get back into racing. He was lacking race sharpness and I’m sure in two weeks when we come back, he will be back to his old self.”
Certainly, defeat could have been a fatal blow to the Witches hopes of a play-off place, but that didn’t happen and now the second half of the season is set up nicely, starting with the visit of Wolverhampton next Thursday at Foxhall.
Ipswich will be represented by Erik Riss and Danny King in the Premiership Best Pairs at Leicester tomorrow night.
Ipswich are the current holders of the event, which was held over multiple rounds in 2022, but this season, due to the bad weather at the start of the season, has been reduced from three rounds to just the one.
That takes place at Leicester and Ipswich team boss Ritchie Hawkins is hoping his pairing can come to the party and retain a trophy they won in style last season.
“Danny played a big part in winning the event last year and Leicester is a track he likes, so he will be looking to do the same again this year,” Ritchie said.
“The plan was for him to be paired with Jason Doyle but a Polish fixture has been re-arranged and they take priority over this event so he will be forced to ride there.
“We needed to replace him, and Erik was the obvious choice after coming back. He needs laps under his belt, but he is also someone who goes well at Leicester so if they both produce on the day then we can go well.”
Dan Thompson is Ipswich’s ‘Rising Star’. Every Rising Star gets at least one ride in the meeting.
Emil Sayfutdinov was not contracted to ride in this event for the Witches.
KING’S LYNN: Nicolai Klindt, Thomas Jorgensen, Anders Rowe (RS).
IPSWICH: Danny King, Erik Riss, Dan Thompson (RS).
WOLVERHAMPTON: Sam Masters, Steve Worrall, Leon Flint (RS).
LEICESTER: Max Fricke, Justin Sedgmen, Drew Kemp (RS).
BELLE VUE: Dan Bewley, Brady Kurtz, Jake Mulford (RS).
SHEFFIELD: Jack Holder, Tobiasz Musielak, Dan Gilkes (RS).
PETERBOROUGH: Vadim Tarasenko, Richie Worrall, Jordan Jenkins (RS).
Jason Doyle’s 2023 Grand Prix exploits continue to go up and down as, once again, he reached the final in Gorzow, Poland, on Saturday night – but once again he was excluded, after falling in the second re-run of the race.
Ipswich No.1 Doyle has now made four finals of the five Grand Prix staged so far, but this was his third last place in the final.
However, his consistency sees him still sit in fourth place in the overall Grand Prix standings, level on points with Freddie Lindgren, both men are on 68 points.
Jack Holder is currently in second place with 69 points, but all three riders are a long way behind world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik, who has raced away at the top, sitting on 90 points after he won in Gorzow.
Former world champion, Doyle, was given a picked entry into this season’s Grand Prix after a disappointing 2022. He vowed to come back stronger this year and he certainly has done.
Next up for Doyle and the world’s elite is the GP of Sweden in Malilla on Saturday, July 15.
Meanwhile, in the SGP2, it was a successful night for Ipswich’s other Aussie star, Keynan Rew.
The 20-year-old, riding in round two of a competition that showcases speedway’s top young talent, ended second in the A final – a superb effort from the Ipswich youngster.
The final round in the three-race series is being staged in Vojens, on Friday, September 15.
Admission for fans on race night at Foxhall: Adults (17+) £22, concessions (65+) £20, children (16 and under) free, car parking is also free.
Thursday, June 29: Premiership Pairs (Leicester) 7.30pm
THURSDAY, JULY 6: WOLVERHAMPTON (HOME) 7.30pm Prem
Monday, July 10: Sheffield (away) 7.30pm Prem. Live on Eurosport
(Top 4 into play-offs)
Team P Pts
Belle Vue 15 27
Wolves 11 20
Leicester 11 20
Sheffield 10 13
Ipswich 12 13
King’s Lynn 12 7
Peterborough 11 2