Bird gets job-share post at Foxhall
SPEEDWAY: Ipswich Evening Star Witches promoter John Louis expects Leigh Lanham and Danny Bird to share the number six race jacket in 2002. It is six weeks today when the 500cc speedway machines rev up for the first time with Foxhall Stadium staging its Press Day.
IPSWICH Evening Star Witches promoter John Louis expects Leigh Lanham and Danny Bird to share the number six race jacket in 2002.
It is six weeks today when the 500cc speedway machines rev up for the first time with Foxhall Stadium staging its Press Day.
The season begins the following Saturday with the Billy Sanders Memorial meeting.
Louis has finalised a deal with Bird and today forecasted a big future for the south London youngster who will share his Witches duties with a heat leader role in the Premier League with the Isle of Wight.
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Ipswich-based Lanham will carry on riding for Arena-Essex in the Premier League. "We have two very good riders in Leigh and Danny and they are of similar calibre," said Louis.
"I can see them sharing reserve duties with Carl Baldwin. They have both asked if they can do about half our fixtures – and this is what I plan to do.
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"I will sit down with fixture lists from Ipswich, Arena and Isle of Wight and work out who I will use where. For the first time since I have been a promoter there will be a certain amount of leeway in team selection.
"If both Leigh and Danny are available we can choose who we think will be the best bet on the night. One rider might be going better than the other and this will also be a factor."
Bird is currently riding for the Great Britain Under-21 side in Australia and his deal with Ipswich was arranged through former Witch Neville Tatum. Peterborough were one of a number of clubs Ipswich beat off to gain his signature.
Lanham's operation to remove metalwork placed in his thigh after a crash at the start of the 2000 season has been successful.
Doctors have advised Lanham not to race for four weeks, which ties in perfectly with the start of the Witches season.
"My leg feels strong and I'm really pleased," said Lanham. "It's a real weight off my mind."
Louis is happy with his 2002 Witches side. He said: "It has a nice look to it. We now wait and see what other clubs come up with, but I am confident we can finish in the top five which will put us into a play-offs to see who wins the Sky Sports Elkite League championship."
THE Star can announce two big signings of their own. Not only is Witches and Team Great Britain skipper Chris Louis going to continue his popular column, England's best young prospect Scott Nicholls will be penning a weekly diary.
A special website will also be set up so that fans can contact the Grand Prix rider throughout the season. Keep buying your speedway-friendly Evening Star to find out more.