Louis confident of Foxhall safety
IPSWICH Witches legend and current co-promoter John Louis today said that the Foxhall track had the safest fences in Britain – if not Europe.He understood the calls for air fences in the wake of Lawrence Hare's appalling accident.
By Paul Geater
IPSWICH Witches legend and current co-promoter John Louis today said that the Foxhall track had the safest fences in Britain – if not Europe.
He understood the calls for air fences in the wake of Lawrence Hare's appalling accident.
But he warned they were not necessarily the answer – although they were better than solid concrete.
The Foxhall track is surrounded by collapsible fences, which were introduced by former promoter John Berry who took over the track in 1969.
"When he first installed the collapsible fences they were held up by metal poles, but after a time this was not considered good.
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"The poles were then replaced by two by two wood, which will break in any impact from a speedway bike.
"Since these fences have been introduced there have not been any serious speedway injuries at Foxhall – some people have got cuts, bruises and grazes but nothing serious," he said.
When speedway promoters discussed safety and introducing air barriers in recent years, Louis was concerned about their introduction at Foxhall.
"I asked if we would have to introduce them, and I was told of course not because our track was so safe."
He felt there were safety concerns with air barriers.
"They do, of course, reduce the impact – but people can bounce off them and sometimes a rider could bounce off into the path of another bike.
"It hasn't happened yet, and please God may it never happen – but that is a real danger.
"Collapsible fences like that at Foxhall don't cause that kind of problem."
At last night's meeting, two junior riders were involved in a collision and went into the Foxhall fence.
"In some ways it was similar to Lawrence's accident. They came together, came off their bikes and went into the fence – but neither were injured, they got up and dusted themselves down," Louis said.
Collapsible fences like that at Ipswich work because there is a stock car track outside the speedway track – there is room for the riders to "bounce" along the ground after hitting the fence.
Newport, where Lawrence was injured, is surrounded by a concrete fence which is all that separates the riders from the crowd.
Collapsible fences would not be an option there because there would be no free space behind them.
The only way of taking the sting out of a collision there would be an air barrier – and riders would have to risk hitting their fellow racers.