Sunday, May 19, 2024
Oxford SpeedwaySpires

REACTION: “It was nice to make that move in Heat 14, to get through the Ipswich riders and join Charles for the 5-1. We then needed a little bit more, but I’m satisfied with my own night.”

TOP-of-the-table OXS Oxford Spires suffered their first defeat of the season in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership, when they lost at home by 42-48 to powerful Ipswich Witches in a humdinger of a meeting at the Oxford Stadium last night (Thursday).

Despite the result, there was much to be positive about. Oxford are often supported by bumper home crowds, and the crowd seen last night was one of the best since speedway returned at Sandy Lane at the start of 2022, while there was some breathtaking speedway on display from World Class riders.

A huge blow for Spires was losing Lewis Kerr was a suspected broken ankle in a Heat 11 fall, after he had won his opening two outings and that left Spires facing an uphill climb in the remaining heats.

But skipper Chris Harris produced a superb ride to pass Emil Sayfutdinov to win Heat 13, rounding him on the fourth bend, to defeat both the Russian rocket and also hand the only defeat on the night to 2017 World Champion Jason Doyle.

Charles Wright came into Heat 14 as a tactical substitute and jetted from the tapes, while the action was behind. On the fourth bend of the second lap, Rohan Tungate spotted a gap and darted straight through the middle of Adam Ellis and Keynan Rew in a brilliant move, accompanied by a roar from the crowd that could be heard across the whole of Cowley. The resultant 5-1 to Spires reduced to the gap to just two points entering the final race.

Doyle and Sayfutdinov are both amongst the very best riders in the world. They got out in front in Heat 15, and despite the best efforts of Tungate and Harris, pulled away for a 5-1 to clinch victory for Witches.

Witches held a narrow lead throughout the evening, and until the final two heats, neither side scored a maximum 5-1 heat win.

The racing was first class all evening. Tungate rounded Jordan Jenkins on the third lap of Heat 5, also defeating Sayfutdinov in the process. Heat 6 was a 5-1 to Ipswich for most of the race, only for Maciej Janowski and Wright to pass Rew in a spell-binding concluding two laps.

Kerr and Harris held a 5-1 in Heat 7, only for Danny King to squeeze between Harris and the air fence to snatch second.

Janowski took a classy victory in Heat 10, with a quality outside overtake of Adam Ellis after a lap, while Harris passed Sayfutdinov early in the re-run of Heat 11 – after Kerr had crashed out – only for the Russian superstar to then replay the compliment.

Rohan Tungate top scored for Spires with 11+1 and he said: “Ipswich are very strong in the closing races, because they’ve got both Emil (Sayfutdinov) and Doyley (Jason Doyle) in Heats 13 and 15. You need to hit them hard in the early stages and then you can turn them over, but they’re pretty dangerous towards the end of the night.

“It was nice to make that move in Heat 14, to get through the Ipswich riders and join Charles for the 5-1. We then needed a little bit more, but I’m satisfied with my own night.

“I do feel I’ve getting more used to the Oxford track. I’ve still got stuff to do with engines, but it’s going in the right direction and I’m just going to continue working hard.

“It’s only one loss. We won the first three meetings leading into tonight, so we can’t dwell too much on just one defeat. We’ll just move onto the next meeting and focus on that.”

OXS Oxford Spires 42: Maciej Janowski 7, Charles Wright 7+1, Nicolai Klindt 3+1, Rohan Tungate 11+1, Chris Harris 8, Lewis Kerr 6, Ashton Boughen 0.

Ipswich Witches 48: Emil Sayfutdinov 11+2, Jordan Jenkins 5, Danny King 6+1, Adam Ellis 5, Jason Doyle 13+1, Keynan Rew 1+1, Dan Thompson 7.

Photo: Chris Harris rounds Emil Sayfutdinov in Heat 13 (pic: Steve Edmunds)