Eagles chief blasts Witches management

EASTBOURNE speedway promoter Jon Cook has added to the war of words between the Eagles and Ipswich Evening Star Witches ahead of tomorrow night's Elite League Knock-Out Cup first round, first leg meeting at Foxhall Stadium.

EASTBOURNE speedway promoter Jon Cook has added to the war of words between the Eagles and Ipswich Evening Star Witches ahead of tomorrow night's Elite League Knock-Out Cup first round, first leg meeting at Foxhall Stadium.

An outspoken Cook said today: "I am very disappointed with the

attitude of John Louis. I understood that there was going to be a new era of co-operation between clubs after a lot of decisions we made during the winter to help keep the likes of Ipswich in the top flight."

A storm blew up at the

weekend when Eastbourne re-arranged their home challenge match against Arena-Essex for this Saturday – the night when the Eagles and the Witches were due to meet in the KO Cup second leg.

Ipswich promoter Louis said that his riders already had the fixtures in their diaries.

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"What is the use of having a fixture list if it gets altered so soon in the season," he said. "Our fans had already made arrangements to travel with a coach arranged."

Eastbourne's attempt to ride at home to Arena-Essex last Saturday was curtailed by the weather.

The money generated through the turnstiles was going to be largely used to pay for an air fence that is compulsory at all Elite League tracks this year.

"It is patently obvious that riders are not going to ride for nothing when their season gets under way," added Cook. "It was not our fault it rained on Saturday and I did warn John of our plans last Friday.

"If the shoe had been on the other foot I would have been only too happy to have come off tomorrow's date so that Ipswich could have ridden a challenge to pay for their fence.

"The season has started ridiculously early this year – and I shall not do it again. Because every other side wanted to start in the middle of the month we have had to try to do the same or risk being caught not up to speed.

"It is only right and proper that the league season does not start until next week to fit in with the schedules of Sky Sports – which means KO Cup matches were fitted in this week.

"But it is too early and both Ipswich and ourselves will be rusty for what are very important meetings. We ride at Arena-Essex tonight and hopefully this match will be on to give us some track time."

Cook is happy with his side and is looking ahead to a successful year. He said: "We might take a little while to find our feet with a couple of new riders.

"But we are aiming to leave Foxhall with a deficit of no more than eight points for the second leg. This will probably take place in May, although we have not looked at a re-staging date yet."

Ipswich have said that they will need three alternative dates, so that they can pick the one that suits them best. "We will not be pushed around," said Witches director Magda Louis.

Cook, whose team should be at full strength tomorrow, praised the ambition of 17-year-old Edward Kennett, who has elected to concentrate on Elite League racing this season.

Cook said: "We spoke to a Premier League club about doubling up and Edward put us in our place and said no. He has stuck to that and never once looked to change that.

"I think it shows his ambition and it will not take him very long before he cracks it in the Elite League."

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