LEICESTER No.1 Max Fricke says there are plenty of positives to be taken from Thursday’s KO Cup opener at Ipswich.

The Watling JCB Lions put up a fine battling display and led the meeting with three races remaining, only for the Witches to come up with a big finish thanks to Jason Doyle and Emil Sayfutdinov in Heats 13 and 15.

But a 48-42 outcome at Foxhall leaves the overall tie very much in the balance heading back to the Pidcock Motorcycles Arena, Beaumont Park on April 17.

Fricke said: “It’s a new team, we’re all getting used to each other and it was our first meeting of the year so I think all in all it was a really successful night.

“In the end they were a little bit too strong for us in the last couple of heats, but we kept it close and it was a really interesting meeting the whole way through.

“I think everyone is pretty happy with how the first night went, especially away from home.”

Fricke top-scored for the Lions with 9+1 and was involved in a terrific Heat 11 where he and fellow countryman Justin Sedgmen team-rode to a 5-1 over Sayfutdinov.

The Russian-born racer had looked unstoppable in his first two races but the Lions duo covered every angle to prevent a passing move.

Fricke said: “I saw Sedgy coming round the first corner, then I looked and saw Emil behind and thought I’ve got my work cut out to, we need to make the most of this situation of being on a 5-1!

“I was trying my best to defend, and Sedgy rode awesome as well. It was head on and swivel trying to see where Emil was, and trying to block him out.”

The Lions are back in action on Easter Monday at Peterborough (7.30pm) before hosting the Panthers in their home opener next Thursday (April 13).

Next Home Meeting

Leicester Lions V Ipswich Witches
July 18, 2024 19.30

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