Fans chance to show their feelings

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches speedway fans who want to see top-flight speedway continue at Foxhall Stadium in 2004 can stand up and be counted tomorrow night.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches speedway fans who want to see top-flight speedway continue at Foxhall Stadium in 2004 can stand up and be counted tomorrow night.

The bottom-of-the-table Witches are in action against high-flying Coventry Bees, in just the sort of fixture that should bring out the best in the Sky Sports Elite League.

Riders of the calibre of Scott Nicholls, Jarek Hampel, Lee Richardson and Billy Hamill will be in action, with the first three having starred in the world cup in Denmark last week. American Hamill is a former world champion.

It is June 23 since Ipswich last won a league match – a run of six meetings – but this has not led to a drop in incident and excitement at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday nights.

Teams at the top of the table regularly win their home matches easily, with the closest matches coming on their travels. This happened to Ipswich in 1998 when they won the treble.

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In contrast, sides who are struggling regularly get murdered away from home, but are involved in much closer matches on their own track.

The Witches lost to Coventry 54-36 when the teams met in Suffolk on July 31 and it would only be the most optimistic Ipswich fan who would predict a home victory tomorrow.

But this does not mean that the racing will be processional, and with a full strength side Ipswich can sting a Bees side who are certain to feature in the play-offs.

Witches promoter John Louis has yet to decide whether to opt for the Premier League next season where costs are much, much less and the fixture list much more varied.

He will be put under a tremendous amount of pressure by the British Speedway Promoters' Association to stay where he is. A large attendance tomorrow could help sway his final decision in the knowledge that there are enough fans out there to continue to support a club in the Elite League.

Ironically, the introduction of the much-maligned British League Cup has helped Ipswich's financial position. It has meant a home match every week during the lucrative school holidays and must have swelled numbers coming through the turnstile compared to previous years.

For the last two seasons, Foxhall staged few meetings in August.

While Ipswich are at full strength, Coventry have a doubt over Andreas Jonsson, who has aggravated a back injury. They will use rider replacement for Billy Janniro.

Ipswich's scheduled match at Belle Vue on Monday may be put back so that the Aces can ride against a side still in the hunt for a play-off place.

THERE could soon be two 'Great Scotts' in the Ipswich Evening Star Witches speedway team.

Scott Campos, the 14-year-old Witches mascot who goes through his paces before each home match at Foxhall Stadium, is making a name for himself in junior continental meetings.

The Holywells High School pupil has been riding in youth support events in the World Longtrack Championship.

At Bielefeld in Germany, on a four-stroke machine loaned b Dutch 125cc series sponsor Amusa, Scott finished a creditable third on the very fast and large track.

Last month Scott travelled to Marmande, France with his own two-stroke Nutrac Honda. This was the third time he has been invited to ride at this 550 metre tri-oval track.

After suffering a puncture in his timed practice session, he kept his composure in the heats and finished second overall behind French No.1 Gabriel Dubenard.

In between these European events Scott rode in the first round of the British Championship at Evesham, Worcestershires. On a dry and hard track - with long straights and tight bends - Scott finished on the podium in joint second place.

Scott was chosen by the ACU as one of the British riders for the FIM World 125cc Gold Trophy, which was held at Melsungen, Germany on August 3.

WITCHES skipper Scott Nicholls is riding in a big grass-track meeting in Kent on Sunday August 17.

Along with Paul Hurry, Jeremy Doncaster, Kelvin Tatum, Joe Screen and Dean Barker he will be taking part in the Sea France International Grand Slam at Rhodes Minnis, Folkestone with a 1.0pm start.

A number of top French and German riders will also be in action.

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