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Bird aims for flying start

PUBLISHED: 13:20 08 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:30 03 March 2010

SPEEDWAY: New Ipswich speedway star Danny Bird today admitted: I can't wait for the season to start." The 22-year-old from Cranleigh, Surrey, will be sharing his duties in a number seven race jacket for Ipswich Evening Star Witches in the Elite League with a heat leader berth for the Isle of Wight in the Premier League.

NEW Ipswich speedway star Danny Bird today admitted: I can't wait for the season to start."

The 22-year-old from Cranleigh, Surrey, will be sharing his duties in a number seven race jacket for Ipswich Evening Star Witches in the Elite League with a heat leader berth for the Isle of Wight in the Premier League.

Just back from a highly-successful time in Australia, where he starred for the young Great Britain side, Bird is itching to get into action.

Taking a break from working on his machinery in his workshop at his parents' house in the stockbroker belt, Bird said: "Moving to Ipswich is the next stage of my career. I shall not be messing about.

"I want to keep advancing up the ladder. I don't want to stop. A place in the Grand Prix is my aim."

Bird, who will share his reserve berth duties for the Witches with Leigh Lanham, the Ipswich-based Arena-Essex rider, could well become a full-time Witch in coming years if all goes well this campaign.

"To be honest, I do not find the Premier League easy, and I am happy to remain riding for the Isle of Wight," he said. "But now is the time to move up, and the new floater system is ideal for me.

"It will be tough in the Elite, I have no doubts about that, but I will be disappointed if I end the season with an average below five.

"I learned a tremendous amount in Australia, on how to handle unfamiliar tracks and working on machines. We did not have any mechanics so I had to do most of the pit work myself."

Bird's deal to ride for Ipswich was done for him by family friend Neville Tatum, a former Ipswich rider. "When I came back from Australia everything was completed and I can't wait to get started," added the youngster whose father Ken used to ride grass-track with Tatum's father. The families have remained friends.

Neville Tatum, who still rides some grass-track and long-track, feels that his protege is destined for big things.

"Danny is going to go a long way," he said. "He has already done enough to suggest that he will reach the very top. Along with Simon Stead and David Howe, Danny is a rider who should be representing England in the Grand Prix in a few years time.

"Ipswich have a great pair of riders in Danny and Leigh Lanham for their floater position."

Ipswich riders assemble for the first time next week for Press and Practice days, with the first Foxhall Stadium meeting being on Saturday, March 16, when the Billy Sanders memorial meeting sets the ball rolling.


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