IPSWICH boss Ritchie Hawkins admits he was delighted to avoid a “banana skin” opening clash with Belle Vue. 

Jason Doyle had to miss the first meeting of the season due to the birth of his daughter, but Scott Nicholls stepped in to help take “the pressure off”.

Despite losing the former World Champion, the team overcame his absence; giving a strong performance against Belle Vue at Foxhall with a 51-39 win. 

Hawkins said: “I’m really happy, it was certainly a tricky night and a potential banana skin against a very good Belle Vue team.

“We coped with them well and improved during the meeting, every single rider.

“It was everything I could have asked for from an opening night.

“Everyone scored and everyone contributed, nobody struggled throughout the meeting consistently.

“Scott Nicholls came in and did a really good job and I’m really happy he could guest.

“His contribution took the pressure off the other boys.”

Emil Sayfutdinov and captain, Danny King, both scored paid 13 with Adam Ellis enjoying a successful debut with 7+1 after finishing last in Heat 1.

The ATPI Aces’ scoring was dominated by skipper Brady Kurtz, who won four races, finishing on 13, with Dan Bewley collecting nine points after a win over Sayfutdinov and Ellis.

New signing, Connor Mountain, also impressed at the reserve with seven points.

He said: “I don’t want to get too carried away, but I think that’s the best I’ve ever scored around Ipswich, and I’m very proud of that!

“It’s not only our first away match, but our first match as a team and it’s always a tough one to break the ice, especially when you’re away from home.

“I think we can be pleased with this result.

“Obviously, we wanted to win, but at the same time, we’re only down by 12 on aggregate and that puts us in a great position for the return leg.”

Ipswich will race Birmingham at Foxhall next Thursday, looking to build on the positive start to the season.


Words by Freya Taylor. 

Images by Taylor Lanning.