DANNY KING COLUMN: I hope the ‘Massif’ are in good voice on Saturday... Because the Witches are ready to go!
Welcome back to another speedway season and welcome back to my column again in 2017.
Yes, despite others (I know what you’ve been up to Hawkins!!), trying to muscle their way in to try and have the headline column of the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, I have seen them all off and I am here again with you this season.
So, as I said, a huge welcome back and let’s look forward to a successful year on the Heath, with maybe, just maybe, some silverware this time around.
It’s good to be back and it’s been good for me to be on the bike so much in the last month.
I have already had a couple of track days at King’s Lynn with Team GB, a couple of days in France, a meeting at Peterborough and a practice day at Ipswich.
I’m ready to go and can’t wait for Saturday’s meeting at Foxhall against Sheffield.
At last then I’m ready to go, after a tough winter which I’m sure you have all read plenty about. I’m not talking about the Witches, but the Coventry Bees - the Premiership club I ride for - or don’t ride for, as the case may be.
Sadly, the Bees won’t be coming to the tapes this season even though I - and other riders - had committed ourselves to racing for them. It’s left me and the other boys who were going to ride for Coventry with no top-flight club right now and earning a fair bit less than we had hoped for.
Fortunately, we do still have a few challenge meetings as a Bees team and one of those was at Peterborough on Sunday, where I enjoyed myself and Coventry grabbed a victory.
It all went down very well with the hundreds of Bees fans who made the short journey to the East of England Showground and it was great to see so many there. Just a shame we won’t be at Brandon this year.
But we will very much still be at Foxhall in 2017.
The team is raring to go and can’t wait for Saturday to come.
We have a new track shape and I think it is going to allow for some brilliant racing. It’s certainly wider, especially going into the first turn and the camber has been taken up further so you can go into the bend wider.
All in all it is going to allow for some great speedway and with our team of racers, who knows what will happen?
And I think it is fair to say we could well see plenty of races with three abreast going into the bend!
The team met up for the first time on Monday at Press Day and although we couldn’t get on track, we had a great time together getting to know each other, having a laugh.
It’s going to be a lot of fun this year, I can already tell.
Rory Schlein is going to be really important to us. He has great experience and is still such a good rider. He had an injury last season but he will go flying into the new season, make no bones about that.
I think in Connor Mountain and Danyon Hume we have two of the best young prospects in the Premiership and with Nico Covatti back, things are sure to get lively when he gets to grips with the new wider spaces of Foxhall!
That just leave Cameron Heeps and Kyle Newman, two absolutely crucial riders in our team. These two have the potential to score big points and if, or should I say when, they do, we are going to look a very good team.
That just leaves me!
I couldn’t have had much better a season individually as I did in 2016. British Champion, riding for Team GB in the World Cup and racing at Cardiff in the British GP.
Can I repeat all that again?
Well, yes, I can.
It won’t be easy of course as last season was a belter for me. But there is no reason why not.
If I did achieve all that and the Witches won the league, that would be just perfect. I know, it’s a long season, but you have to have goals.
In the winter I went to Disneyland and had a great time.
Me, Clara and the boys enjoyed almost three weeks there, mainly because Clara had a bit of maternity leave so we could enjoy more than the usual week away.
I loved it, the boys were great and it was really quite sad to have to come home!
Still, home we are and now I’m looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday. I hope the Witches BSF “Massif” are in good voice on the back straight.
Please come and give us your support, it makes such a difference.
See you Saturday
AS TOLD TO MIKE BACON