Hampel determined to make the finish

JAREK Hampel may weight just a few stone in his socks, but the Pole has been busy building up his muscles.He wants to show he is capable of holding his own in tonight's 16-Lap Classic meeting at Foxhall Stadium (start 7.

By Elvin King

JAREK Hampel may weight just a few stone in his socks, but the Pole has been busy building up his muscles.

He wants to show he is capable of holding his own in tonight's 16-Lap Classic meeting at Foxhall Stadium (start 7.30pm).

Two years ago Hampel managed just ten laps of the marathon race before having to retire. "My arms were aching and I just could not carry on," said Hampel today.

"I want to finish the race tonight – and also to beat my Witches team mate Scott Nicholls. This is the first time we have come up against each other in an individual meeting – and I want to come out on top.

"It is friendly rivalry but we will still be going all out to see who is master."

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There is a £1,000 first prize tonight, with another Witch – Craig Boyce – the only previous winner of the event riding tonight. The Australian took the honours in 1990.

Hampel has been pumping weights to strengthen his muscles for an event that always goes down well with the Ipswich public. The sight of eight riders racing into the first bend at the start of the 16-lap final race is one that can stick in the memory during the long cold winter months.

"It would be great if all four Ipswich riders in action tonight had a good meeting," added Hampel. "We have the big final of the Craven Shield next week and we want to all be in good shape."

Kim Jansson is the fourth Ipswich rider on view and this will be his first attempt to win this marathon event.

Lee Richardson and Paul Hurry are others who will have to be watched, while it will be interesting to see how well two young Poles, Krzysztof Kasprzak and Janusz Kolodziej, ride, and also young Swede Jonas Davidsson.

King's Lynn's Freddie Eriksson and Arena-Essex's Shaun Tacey are on standby, with Witches junior Matthew Wright the reserve.

The 16 lapper was not held last season because of fixture congestion, and in 2000 Chris Louis was the winner with an overall total of 25 points. He beat Hurry and Brett Woodfield by three points, with Woodifield winning the 16 lap finale ahead of Louis.

The scoring can be complicated in an attempt to make the qualifying heats competitive. Each rider has four qualifying races with these points counting towards the outcome.

The top four scorers start off the back grid in the final with a two-point addition to their score. Points vary from 14 for the winner down to zero for the last placed rider in the finale. Points are added together to find the winner.

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Line-up (in draw order): K Jansson (Sweden), P Hurry (Great Britain), S Nicholls (Great Britain), J Davidsson (Sweden), C Boyce (Australia), T Madsen (Denmark), S Parker (Australia), J Kolodziej (Poland), L Richardson (Great Britain), K Kasprzak (Poland), D Howe (Great Britain), J Hampel (Poland). Res: M Wright (Great Britain).

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16-Lap Roll of Honour

1979: Joe Owen, 1980 Billy Sanders, 1981: Phil Crump, 1982: Phil Crump, 1983: Kenny Carter, 1984: Phil Crump, 1985: Kenny Carter, 1986: Hans Nielsen, 1987: Jan Pedersen, 1988: Not staged, 1989: Andy Galvin, 1990: Craig Boyce, 1991: Sam Ermolenko, 1992: Chris Louis, 1993: Hans Nielsen, 1994: Not staged, 1995: Chris Louis, 1996: Jason Crump, 1997: Chris Louis, 1998: Jason Crump, 1999: Jason Crump, 2000: Chris Louis. 2001: Not staged.

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n (SQUARE) THE future of the Sky Sports Elite League remains in considerable doubt following a meeting of top flight clubs this week.

There is believed to be little common ground with which to improve the well-being of a league beset with problems over interference from the Grand Prix series.

Oxford, who have stated a desire to drop down to the Premier League, were present at the meeting.

British Speedway Promoters' Association chairman Chris Van Straaten put on a brave face. He said: "It was a very frank and honest exchange of views and we have agreed to hold further talks in three weeks time."

N (SQUARE) IPSWICH Supporters are doing their bit to make sure the Witches have as much support as possible for the two away legs of the Craven Shield final.

Coaches will be running to both meetings – and fans who book for both will get the cheapest one free. If Ipswich ride at Poole the cost is £18 for members and £21 for non members. For Coventry the cost is £14 and £17, and for Oxford £15 and £18.

Bookings can be made at the Supporters Club lounge at Foxhall Stadium tonight, or be telephoning Mark Styles on 01473 718477 or Chris Ellis on 01394 211602.

If Oxford beat Eastbourne at Arlington tomorrow night they will qualify to meet Ipswich and Coventry. If not then Poole will stage their home leg next Wednesday, Ipswich the following day and Coventry on October 19.

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