The Ipswich ‘Tru7 Group’ Witches maintained their four-point lead at the top of the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership table with an 60-30 victory against Leicester Lions at Foxhall last night.

The Witches held a four-point advantage over the Lions and emphatically added to that to earn the aggregate bonus point.

The hosts welcomed back captain Danny King from his injury absence to almost return to their full one-to-seven. Scott Nicholls guested for the injured Jason Doyle at number one, while the visitors were at full strength. Emil Sayfutdinov top scored with 11+2.

The meeting got off to the worst possible start for Ipswich with Richard Lawson and Max Fricke securing the visitors a maximum in heat one. The Suffolk side wasted no time hitting back as Keynan Rew took the chequered flag in heat two with Jordan Jenkins close behind to earn a 5-1.

Skipper King marked his return with a comfortable victory in heat three, with Adam Ellis passing both Lions riders on the second lap to earn another maximum. Sayfutdinov cruised to victory in heat four, with Jenkins defending a late charge from Sam Hagon to secure the maximum and make it 16-8 to the home side.

Lawson won a shared heat five before Craig Cook took a nasty fall in heat six which forced him to withdraw from the meeting on medical grounds. After Cook received treatment from the paramedics the re-run resulted in an Ipswich heat advantage with Nicholls taking the victory.

Sayfutdinov was a winner again in heat seven, with Rew in second for another Witches 5-1. Thompson and Jenkins hit another maximum in heat eight to extend the Suffolk side’s lead to 33-15.

Heat nine resulted in an Ipswich 4-2, with Ellis cruising to his first race win of the meeting. Luke Becker was a non-starter in heat 10 due to mechanical issues, Hagon took his place, but he couldn’t stop another Witches maximum courtesy of Nicholls and Thompson which secured the aggregate bonus point.

Sayfutdinov looked on course for a comfortable win in heat 11 before his bike gave up coming round the final bend which let Lawson back at him to snatch victory on the line in a Lions 2-4. King was a winner again in a shared heat 12 taking the score to 47-25 to the hosts.

Leicester skipper Fricke won a shared heat 13 despite the best efforts of Nicholls to get past him. Rew took his second victory of the evening in heat 14 with Ellis a close second for another Ipswich 5-1.

Sayfutdinov and Nicholls were selected for heat 15 and they produced the goods with a maximum with the Ipswich guest taking his third chequered flag of the evening. The eighth Witches maximum of the evening took the final score to 60-30.

Team manager Ritchie Hawkins said: “Another great night, our biggest victory of the year against a very tough Leicester side. We dealt with them superbly, every rider contributed again, every rider is improving, race wins everywhere and a lot of 5-1s!

“The track was heavy early on, a lot of dirt, and we certainly dealt with it better. That was where the big difference was I think but if Leicester click as a side they’re going to be a super strong threat against anyone. Great to get early points on the board against them but I think they’re only going to improve during the year.

“It’s great to have the skipper back. He’s not 100% fit but you wouldn’t have known out there. It feels like a full one-to-seven with Scott guesting as well, he’s very much been part of the side. It’s great to have Danny back and contributing so heavily.

“It’s made a big difference this year that the reserves are doing so well. Jordan went into his last ride on a paid maximum then he had the tough gate four but brilliant to see his performance. Keynan has really come into his own now in a sustained spell at reserve for the first time since he joined us. Dan getting a paid eight points from number two, you can’t ask for much more from a rising star! I’m delighted with all seven of them.”

The Witches host the Oxford Spires at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday night. 

IPSWICH 60: Scott Nicholls (G) 11, Dan Thompson (RS) 7+1, Danny King © 9, Adam Ellis 8+3, Emil Sayfutdinov 11+2, Keynan Rew 8+1, Jordan Jenkins 6+3. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

LEICESTER 30: Max Fricke © 6+1, Richard Lawson 13, Sam Masters 4+1, Luke Becker 1, Ryan Douglas 4, Craig Cook 1 (Withdrawn), Sam Hagon (RS) 1. Team Manager: Stewart Dickson