Cost to Carl... £200 a lap

WHILE the Ipswich team were suffering on the track against Belle Vue at Foxhall Stadium last night spare a thought for Carl Baldwin.The 37-year-old invested £12,000 on resurrecting his speedway career during the winter.

By Elvin King

WHILE the Ipswich team were suffering on the track against Belle Vue at Foxhall Stadium last night spare a thought for Carl Baldwin.

The 37-year-old invested £12,000 on resurrecting his speedway career during the winter.

And he is now left counting the cost.


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The Hadleigh-based rider, who returned to the saddle for the first time since 1989 last year, watched Ipswich's latest defeat from the terraces with his brother Mark and reflected on his own misfortunes.

Everything in the garden was rosy last February when he was granted his wish and handed a reserve berth on a trial basis in the Ipswich team.

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But after just five meetings, where he scored just two points, Baldwin injured himself in an innocent looking crash at King's Lynn on Good Friday. His 2002 racing has so far cost him £800 a race - £200 a lap!

He has not ridden in earnest since March 29, but still hopes to join a Premier League club before this season is over.

"I spent hours in the workshop during the winter and invested in good equipment," he said.

"To stand any chance of doing well in the Elite League you need the best machinery, and this is what I set out to have.

"With a new van it cost me £12,000 to prepare for this season. I am seriously out of pocket and am working very long hours in my artexing business to help pay off debts.

"I budgeted for the season but rode just five matches. Speedway is certainly not all glamour.

"I worked countless hours to prepare for 2002, and now no one gives a damn."

SCOTT NICHOLLS: "My bike was spinning and I felt I had a clutch problem. But we made adjustments and I changed bikes for heat 13. It made no difference.

"I could not do anything silly because of my ankle."

CRAIG BOYCE: "I could not get out of the start apart from twice. I needed to get myself into gear but couldn't. My shoulder is fine now and I cannot give that as an excuse."

MAGDA LOUIS (Witches director): "At the end of the day it is in the riders' heads how well they do.

"Chris Slabon came to Ipswich for one reason – to make it in speedway. He did well tonight and I cannot criticise Joonas Kylmakorpi either.

"Perhaps we should go for younger talent more and bring them on. Jarek Hampel has the same attitude as Chris Slabon and both will make it to the top.

"We have the two best young Poles on our books – and there are one or two others we have in mind who can also make an impact."

JASON LYONS: "Ipswich struggled tonight, but it was still a feat to beat them so well.

"Even our promoter John Perrin should be pleased about this. I always like riding at Ipswich, and everything went my way tonight."

JOHN HALL: "We have been threatening this for a while. We thought this team would do well, but it has only just started to get going.

"With a run of home matches to come we can still make an impression on the table."

LEIGH LANHAM: "The Foxhall starts are far more grippy than at Arena-Essex."

JEREMY DONCASTER: "Morale is low and we are just not fast enough."

JOONAS KYLMAKORPI: "I feel fit again and was happy with my score. But Scott was suffering and we missed Jarek."

MIKE SMILLIE: "We expected this would be a tough match and when the Belle Vue team was read over early in the week we knew it would be.

"We have gone back to our early season inconsistencies."

 

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