LEICESTER’S bid for a club record breaking victory was thwarted as Ipswich raced to an impressive 53-37 win at the Pidcock Motorcycles Arena, Beaumont Park.

The Watling JCB Lions suffered a collective off-night after a fabulous run of form, but that should take nothing away from their visitors who have no room for error in the play-off chase.

Former Lions No.1 Jason Doyle completed a classy paid maximum, and it was also a hugely successful return for Dan Thompson who scored paid-13 against the team he started the season with.

Leicester’s own current Rising Star Drew Kemp also shone with two wins, but the visitors were dominant in the top order with Emil Sayfutdinov again showing his liking for the circuit, and Danny King dropping just two points from four rides.

Sayfutdinov was defeated by Justin Sedgmen in Heat 1 where several riders got out of shape on the first bend, and Kemp superbly won Heat 2 as he came from the back against Thompson and Danyon Hume.

But Ipswich levelled in Heat 3 when Erik Riss took advantage of an error on turn four by Troy Batchelor, and a shock 5-1 followed from Doyle and Thompson, leaving no way through for Richard Lawson.

Doyle resisted pressure from Max Fricke in Heat 6 to put the Witches six points up, and a tactical substitute in Heat 7 was only partially successful as King held Fricke at bay to limit the Lions to a 4-2 with Lawson out-front.

The next two races were shared with Lions looking to level the scores when they gated in Heat 9, only for Doyle to storm around Batchelor and then go inside skipper Chris Harris on the second lap.

The gap was reduced to two points in Heat 10 when Sedgmen was able to take advantage of mechanical trouble for Riss, but the Witches then came on even stronger to secure the victory.

A 4-2 in Heat 11 put them four points up, and that was doubled to eight through King and Thompson in Heat 12 with Kemp and Batchelor unable to get on terms.

And with the Witches’ tails up, it got better and better for them as Doyle again came from the back in spectacular style in Heat 13 to join Sayfutdinov for a 5-1 over Fricke and Lawson, before Thompson took the scalp of Harris in Heat 14, re-passing the Lions captain who appeared to have completed a move from third to first.

A convincing away win was completed by another Doyle/Sayfutdinov maximum in Heat 15 to give the Witches a 16-point victory in a total reversal of the Lions’ recent form at home.

Manager Stewart Dickson said: “I don’t want to be too hard on my riders. Too many of them had off-nights together, but at the same time I’ve got to give credit to Ipswich. Maybe not every team manager does it, but I do.

“The bottom line is they were riding for a play-off place, and they’re on a mission. We did everything the same, the track preparation, the track walk, the chats we had, and we just found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, and even when we did gate we were getting passed.

“It was one of those nights that no matter what we did, you just felt it wasn’t going to happen. Sometimes it’s not your night, but fair play to Ipswich, they thoroughly deserved it, and some of the moves from Doyle and Sayfutdinov were frightening!

“Maybe it’s a wake-up call, and now we need to come back on Thursday night and show that it was a one-off, and that will be a test for all of us, myself included.”

That next meeting on Thursday sees the Lions back at home to face another of the play-off contenders Sheffield, with the five-team battle for four places now very much back on.

LEICESTER 37: Chris Harris 9, Max Fricke 8, Drew Kemp 7, Richard Lawson 6, Justin Sedgmen 4, Troy Batchelor 2+2, Jake Allen 1+1.
IPSWICH 53: Jason Doyle 14+1, Emil Sayfutdinov 13+1, Danny King 10, Dan Thompson 9+4, Keynan Rew 3, Danyon Hume 3, Erik Riss 1.

Next Home Meeting

Leicester Lions V Ipswich Witches
July 18, 2024 19.30

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