IPSWICH and Leicester star Danny King suffered a suspected broken arm in a crash at Foxhall on Thursday.
The former British Champion was involved in a collision with team-mate Michael Haertel in Heat 1 of the Witches’ KO Cup tie with Lakeside, and was immediately withdrawn and taken to hospital.
The incident left the home side down to five riders, as they were already without the injured Nico Covatti, with the Hammers romping to a 54-35 first leg win.
Cameron Heeps battled to 14+1 for the Withes whilst Lakeside’s Richard Lawson scored a paid maximum (14+1) and Adam Ellis (13+1) and Nick Morris (10) also scored double figures.
Ipswich promoter Chris Louis said: “I don’t know how to sum up tonight, it was a really bad scenario in Heat 1.
“Michael got out of shape and ran over the top of Danny and what happened happened, and we couldn’t recover physically or psychologically.
“I am trying not to think about last year and get into that mentality that luck is against us.”
Lakeside boss Will Pottinger said: “Everybody contributed well points-wise. The heat-leaders all got double figures and the rest of the team scored well, so you can’t ask for much more from our point of view.
“Everyone pulled their weight which is what you need. You have to feel a bit for Ipswich, because losing your No.1 in the first race to such a big crash was always going to leave them up against it.
“They were already using rider replacement as well, so it was very unlucky on their part and we obviously wish Danny King all the best for a speedy recovery.”
SHEFFIELD and Peterborough fought out an exciting 45-45 draw in the first Championship meeting at Owlerton this season.
The Tigers took the lead for the first time in Heat 8 but could only extend the margin to a maximum of four points.
And the Panthers came roaring back with 4-2s in the last two races, with Scott Nicholls and Michael Palm Toft securing a share of the spoils in Heat 15.
Nicholls scored 12 for the Panthers, whilst the Tigers weren’t helped by the mid-meeting withdrawal of captain Kyle Howarth with a knee injury.
Charles Wright scored 14 for the hosts including some spectacular overtaking, whilst Lasse Bjerre added 12.
Sheffield boss Simon Stead said: “Obviously it feels like a loss, but it isn’t, and we have a few difficulties at the moment. They pushed us hard, they’re a good team and we aren’t at full strength by any stretch of the imagination.
“We don’t have any excuses, we have to work with what we’ve got, and we have to do a better job.
“Kyle twisted his knee tonight which is not ideal, but I think that’s a consequence of riding when not fully fit, and I do think with a fit Kyle and with Jan (Graversen) having a meeting under his belt, that result wouldn’t have happened.”
Peterborough manager Carl Johnson said: “We were confident that we could come here and get points, and we did so and deserved to do so.
“We could have won it if it wasn’t for Ulrich’s (Ostergaard) puncture, so that was unlucky – obviously they also lost Kyle, but they did have quality replacements and it was always going to be difficult.
“I’ve said all along that we do expect to be pushed at home, and have some close wins there, but we’ll also win meetings away from home. We are going to push teams on the road, and we’ve proved it again.”
SCUNTHORPE took a big step towards the Championship Shield semi-finals with a thumping 54-36 win at Redcar on Thursday.
The victory means a home win over Newcastle in their final group fixture will see the Scorpions overhaul Sheffield and qualify for the last four.
All of the visiting riders claimed at least one race win with guest No.1 Ricky Wells leading the way on 13+1, whilst Josh Auty added 11+1. Tobias Busch carded nine for the hosts.
Scunthorpe boss Dave Peet said: “It was a terrific away performance and hopefully it will be the first of many this season.
“The lads knew what they had to do, and went out and did it. We knew we wanted all four points from the meeting, rather than just three.
“If we’d have taken just the three, we would have had to really wallop Newcastle at the Eddie Wright Raceway in our final meeting (on May 11), whereas now a win of any size will suffice.”
Redcar promoter Kevin Keay said: “It was an embarrassing defeat. I’m far from happy with the riders’ inconsistency and we simply are not providing enough race winners.
“We will look at all our options over the next few weeks and see where we might improve all aspects of our performances both on and off track.”
ISLE OF WIGHT promoter Barry Bishop paid tribute to an impressive Mildenhall team who romped to a 59-31 win at Smallbrook on Thursday.
The Fen Tigers dominated the National Trophy encounter with 15-year-old Drew Kemp racing to a 15-point maximum from the reserve berth.
Visiting No.1 Josh Bailey was also unbeaten from five rides (13+2) whilst Danny Ayres added 12+2 – whilst Scott Campos and Ben Hopwood both notched eight for the hosts.
Bishop said: “That was some performance from our visitors and emphasises just why they are most people’s choice for the league title this year.
“Drew Kemp’s performance was outstanding for one so young.”
EDINBURGH welcome back skipper Erik Riss for tonight’s (Friday) Championship clash with Peterborough at Armadale.
Riss missed last week’s win over Berwick due to an SEC qualifier but returns to face the Panthers, for whom No.1 Scott Nicholls makes only his second appearance at the venue – twenty years after the first!
The visitors are without Ulrich Ostergaard and Emil Grondal due to Danish commitments, and operate rider-replacement with Carl Wilkinson replacing Grondal.
Edinburgh boss Alex Harkess said: “It's our first league match and it is very important to get off to the right start, I think that is crucial for us.
“As much as I'm disappointed that Erik didn't qualify for the SEC Challenge I'm delighted he will be riding for us, we know what he is capable of.”
Panthers boss Carl Johnson said: “It’s a track we’ve done well at in the past, although it’s a big loss to us to be without Emil and Ulrich especially with the way they’re going.
“But Wilko goes well around there and hopefully we can catch them cold early-doors, and take some points from them as well.”
Glasgow captain Chris Harris is keen to hit top form when his side take on Sheffield at Ashfield in another Championship fixture.
Harris failed to score for his Premiership club Rye House on Monday so is seeking a kick-start to his season, whilst the visitors are set to be without No.1 Kyle Howarth due to a knee injury.
Harris said: “The team have been great. We got the wins home and away against Edinburgh and not all the team were firing - so I think once we all get settled, and all seven of us are firing, we'll give a team a good hammering.
“Sheffield have a strong team, so if we can get the win, it will lay down a marker and give the team and the fans belief. It will force other teams to take note.”
Sheffield boss Simon Stead said: “We went to Glasgow with about four and half riders last season and got a result, so it’s a place we do ride well.
“I certainly don’t want the lads to go there with their heads down. Let’s crack on, Friday is a new day and we can quickly turn things around.”
Meanwhile Scunthorpe meet Redcar for the second time in 24 hours as the sides clash at the Eddie Wright Raceway, this time in league action.
The Scorpions operate rider-replacement for the injured Steve Worrall, with the Bears stung by their heavy Championship Shield defeat on Thursday.
Scunthorpe promoter Rob Godfrey said: “Tonight’s match is a very important one for us, because it represents our opening league match.
“We’ve already beaten Redcar home and away in the Championship Shield this year, and there’s no reason why we can’t defeat them again, but the scores start from 0-0 and we still have a job to do.
“We feel we’ve got a team that can challenge on all fronts this season. We’ve taken a major step towards the semi-finals of the Championship Shield, and now we turn our attention to the most important competition of all – the league championship.”
WORKINGTON return to their historic Friday race night when they host Berwick in the Championship Shield tonight.
The two sides meet home and away over two nights with the Comets playing catch-up as they have only completed one fixture in the group so far.
Home captain Ty Proctor makes his first appearance after a delayed start to the season, and Bradley Wilson-Dean is also included on a 28-day deal to replace the injured Mason Campton. However, Rene Bach misses out due to a Danish commitment.
Workington boss Tony Jackson said: “Denmark primarily stage their league fixtures on Wednesday evenings; however, occasionally they move some to Friday evenings before the season's first fixtures are issued; and this is one such occasion.
“Friday also sees ten of the eleven Championship sides in action, which makes obtaining a suitable guest rider virtually impossible, so operating rider replacement is our only realistic option.
“But with every team member eligible for a rider replacement ride we feel that is something we can cope with.”
Meanwhile Lakeside will look to confirm progression in the KO Cup as they take a 19-point advantage into the home leg of their tie with Ipswich.
The injury-hit Witches call up Edward Kennett to guest for Danny King at No.1, whilst rider replacement is in operation for Nico Covatti.
Lakeside boss Will Pottinger said: “We want to be winning at home whatever the circumstances.
“We’re continuing to build a home advantage with every meeting that passes, so we want to keep that unbeaten run going.
“I’m sure it still won’t be easy even though Ipswich will be a bit depleted. They’ve already been to the Raceway this season, and they’ll put all they learnt from their previous visit into practice. It should still be an exciting meeting and one we can’t take lightly.”
Witches promoter Chris Louis said: “Our focus is on the league so therefore we have to go back there in the league and get some points out of it. It is a very handy practice for us.
“That is not to say we have given up as we haven’t, but you have to be realistic and are we going to pull back 20 points there? Probably not. I don’t see anyone going there this season and winning by more than one or two points.”
PLYMOUTH host Mildenhall in the National Trophy tonight (Friday) with the Fen Tigers on a high after a big away win on Thursday.
The West Row side won 59-31 at the Isle of Wight and now head to the St Boniface Arena, with the Devils currently top of the section having raced three matches.
They were also victorious at IOW in their previous Trophy fixture but lost 55-35 at Belle Vue in the league on Wednesday.
FRIDAY MAY 4:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Edinburgh v Peterborough 7.30, Glasgow v Sheffield 7.30, Scunthorpe v Redcar 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP 1st round 2nd leg: Lakeside v Ipswich 8pm
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Workington v Berwick 7.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Plymouth v Mildenhall 7.15
SATURDAY MAY 5:
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Berwick v Workington 7pm
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Stoke v Belle Vue 7pm
NATIONAL TROPHY: Eastbourne v Isle of Wight 7.30
SUNDAY MAY 6:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Newcastle v Ipswich 6.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Buxton v Coventry 3pm, Midlenhall v Kent 3pm
MONDAY MAY 7:
PREMIERSHIP: Rye House v Somerset 3pm, Swindon v Poole 7.30.
PREMIERSHIP KO CUP Q/F 1st leg: Belle Vue v Wolverhampton 12pm, Leicester v King’s Lynn 7.30
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Kent v Buxton 3.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Cradley v Stoke 7.30
Results Thursday May 3, 2018;
Sheffield 45 (Charles Wright 14)
Peterborough 45 (Scott Nicholls 12)
Championship points: Sheffield 1 Peterborough 2
CHAMPIONSHIP KOC, 1st leg
Ipswich 35 (Cameron Heeps 14+1)
Lakeside 54 (Richard Lawson 14+1)
Redcar 36 (Ben Barker 9+3)
Scunthorpe 54 (Ricky Wells 13+1)
Championship Shield points: Redcar 0 Scunthorpe 4
Isle of Wight 31 (Scott Campos 8, Ben Hopwood 8)
Mildenhall 59 (Drew Kemp 15) National Trophy points: Isle of Wight 0 Mildenhall 4