Ex-stars back for Ipswich launch
Speedway: FORMER champions will be back in the saddle tomorrow to launch the new-look Ipswich Cycle Speedway Centre.Ex-world number one Phil Pilbrough will be joined by former British champs Chris Gooch, Kevin Sutton, Tim Snook and Jimmy Varnish as the track, at Whitton Sports Centre, re-opens after six years.
FORMER champions will be back in the saddle tomorrow to launch the new-look Ipswich Cycle Speedway Centre.
Ex-world number one Phil Pilbrough will be joined by former British champs Chris Gooch, Kevin Sutton, Tim Snook and Jimmy Varnish as the track, at Whitton Sports Centre, re-opens after six years.
And a dozen ex-Suffolk champs will also join in the celebrations – Gooch, Sutton and Snook along with John Goodyear, Rob Smith, Tim Emsden, Danny Zagni, Kenny Jessup, Chris Gooch, Merv Cooper, Mick Sparrow, Alan Algar and Dave Hunting.
At 61 the oldest of the former champs, Ipswich-based Hunting is keen to get back on his bike and race under the new floodlights.
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Suffolk's number one in 1957, 1958 and again in 1975, Hunting said: "I'll have a couple of races. We have put the centre back on its feet and it will be a big night for all concerned.
"The aim is to bring the British final to Ipswich and already we are staging the semi-final next year."
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Among the guests at tonight's official opening will be ex-Norfolk champion Clive Hurrell and Tony Ridgewell, the Essex number one for many years.
Just as important, however, are the Ipswich youth and junior individual championships being staged at 2pm and which has attracted riders from Sheffield, Sandwell, Leicester and Norfolk.
Hunting, who has organised the day's events, added: "We are starting from scratch again with 24 young riders, between the ages of five and 14, signed up.
"The centre was in a terrible state when we moved in. Tim Snook, his father and I have done all the work ourselves and we are starting at the beginning again."
There is another important date for the new centre on Wednesday of next week, when Ipswich Witches' top rider Scott Nicholls is putting in an appearance.
Hunting said: "Scott volunteered to come along and meet the kids, which is a tremendous gesture, and they can't wait. He's their number one hero."