Hilton still glad he took on Witches job after stepping down as team manager

Former Witches team manager Phil Hilton, left, with director of speedway Chris Louis

Former Witches team manager Phil Hilton, left, with director of speedway Chris Louis - Credit: Archant

Phil Hilton insisted he has no regrets after stepping down as Ipswich Witches team boss.

The former police constable, from Felixstowe, took on the role in 2015 but despite all his efforts he couldn’t guide the Witches into the play-off places.

An unsavoury row with former skipper Ritchie Hawkins didn’t help the cause as the team’s form lurched one way, then the other.

But Hilton admits he is glad he took on the challenge.

“I understand why Chris (Louis) wants to change things,” he said.

“We had a long chat and in the end both agreed it best for me to step aside. It was a mutual decision.

“I thoroughly enjoyed doing the job and glad I said yes to taking it on when I was asked to do it last season.

Most Read

“I could have said no to taking the job in the first place, but I’m glad I didn’t.

“I want to thank Chris for giving me the opportunity. I gave it my best shot.”

Hilton wasn’t helped by a Witches team that hopelessly under performed last season.

But he won’t criticise any of them.

“It was a poor season for the team but no rider deliberately rides poorly,” Hilton said.

“We put together a good team and should have done better.

“The Ritchie Hawkins issue didn’t help but that’s no excuse. We lost too many meetings at home.

“I genuinely wish the team all the best in 2016 and hope they have a much better season.”

Meanwhile, Louis said: “I’d like to thank Phil for all the enthusiasm and effort he put into being team boss.

“He gave it 100% and I thank him for that.

“But I said a couple of months ago I needed to look at everything as to why we didn’t’ do as well as we had hoped last season.”

As regards to his 2016 team, announced earlier this week, Louis said: “I guess the fact only two riders remain from last season’s team shows the disappointment I felt about our 2015 effort.

“It is not a solid a 1-7 as I have put together in past seasons, but the top five is stronger and I don’t think it will take our reserves long to get up to speed. This is a team no-one will write-off before the season starts and is good enough to win the title.

“Apart from anything else, it’s entertaining and full of racers.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter