Hampel opts out of British League Cup

NEITHER of Ipswich Witches top two speedway riders will be taking part in the newly-formed British League Cup this year.Scott Nicholls because of his Grand Prix commitments and Jarek Hampel because of his Polish fixtures.

By Elvin King

NEITHER of Ipswich Witches top two speedway riders will be taking part in the newly-formed British League Cup this year.

Scott Nicholls because of his Grand Prix commitments and Jarek Hampel because of his Polish fixtures.

With James Brundle deciding last week to ride for King's Lynn, Ipswich still have two places to fill in this side. "We will go for a Conference League rider at reserve, plus one other," said team manager Mike Smillie.

Swede Kim Jansson is a certain League Cup starter, while Smillie would like to see Jansson's fellow countryman Antonio Lindback given a chance at Foxhall.

"He would come in on a 4.5 average, and if he did well in our eight League Cup meetings he could well turn into a regular performer in 2004," added Smillie.

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Former Ipswich co-promoter Mike Western recommends young Lindback, who rode for Masarna last year.

Ipswich are in the same League Cup group as Peterborough, King's Lynn, Rye House and Arena Essex and must ride each side home and away. The winners of the six groups, plus the two best runners-up, will qualify through to the quarter-final stage.

While Smillie wants to do well in this competition, he has every reason to make a big hit in the Elite League as well.

He is still smarting from the implications to the club of rolling averages. "I have every incentive to make it a successful 2003," said the ace statistician.

"We have been penalised, and the best way we can get back is on the track.

"Clubs could be in danger on folding because of this. Rolling averages appear designed to make the strong get stronger and the weak weaker,

"In a sport governed so strongly by stats it is staggering that the authorities do not know how to use them. It is a joke."

Ipswich have named six of their riders for the Sky Sports Elite League, and Smillie is excited about the potential of his team. He added:

"Paul Hurry will be our oldest rider, and he is only in his mid-twenties. We have had a great response from supporters to his signing. I am happy with the side and we can make an impact."

Nicholls will lead the team and be joined by Hampel, Hurry, Tom Madsen, Chris Slabon, Danny Bird plus one other. A floater must be found to alternate with Bird, with Simon Stead and Leigh Lanham in consideration.

Two team berths can be taken by floaters this year. Ipswich have confirmed that they are considering Ales Dryml, Freddie Eriksson and Daniel Nermark for their final Elite League team place.

Ipswich still hope to sign Brundle next autumn as they see the 16-year-old as a rising star. He will be joined in the Lynn Premier League 2003 side on occasions by Madsen, which comes as a surprise to Smillie.

"The news that Tom is to take the place of Shane Parker in the Lynn side when the Australian is needed by Peterborough came as a bit of a shock," said Smillie.

"But Tom is a Berwick asset and his movements are out of our control. But his meetings for Lynn will be limited and he will be available for every Ipswich match."

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