Louis back in the big time

CHRIS Louis is back in the big time.The 34-year-old Ipswich Evening Star Witches speedway star has been named as a wild card for the glittering Fiat Vans British Grand Prix at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday, June 12.

By Elvin King

CHRIS Louis is back in the big time.

The 34-year-old Ipswich Evening Star Witches speedway star has been named as a wild card for the glittering Fiat Vans British Grand Prix at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday, June 12.

The former world number three has seen his life transformed over the last few months after the agony of having to give up racing for two seasons following a couple of horrendous crashes.

At one time it did not look as though the current Ipswich rider/manager would ride again, but now he can look forward to being part of the biggest showpiece meeting in world speedway.

The meeting will be shown on television at home and around the globe and a crowd of around 60,000 is expected to watch from the stands this year.

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Ipswich will have four riders on show, which is a tribute to the standard of the side put together by Louis last winter when he had a brief reign as Witches co-promoter with his father John.

Scott Nicholls expects to be fit to ride at Cardiff and he will be joined by two Danish stars, Hans Andersen and Jesper B Jensen.

“I am very excited about Cardiff,” said Louis today. “It will be great fun, and I shall not just be going there to make the numbers up.

“I said all along that I would grab a chance of returning to the GP series if at all possible and it did not take me any time to accept the invitation.

“But it will only be a one-off as I have no intention of riding abroad again and I turned down a chance of riding in the British Championship, which offers a route into the Grand Prix proper.”

Louis, who was a regular in the GP series from 1995 until 2001, has shown good form after recovering from serious head and back injuries sustained in Poland and Sweden.

The former Team Great Britain captain and world under-21 champion has played a leading part as Ipswich have banished last season's blues and zoomed into a top three place.

With a wife and two young daughters to consider, his return to the track has been based around his appearances for his home town club Ipswich.

But he will savour his return to the big time. “The GP series was a major part of my life for a long while,” he added.

“I have missed the buzz, there is no doubt about that and with no pressure on me at all I can go to Cardiff and relax.

“For the first time I will not have to worry about points to qualify for the following year and I plan to go as far through the meeting as I can.

“Martin Dugard won a British GP at Coventry when a wild card, and I know that Mark Loram has also finished on top of the rostrum when he has ridden as a wild card.

“It is a credit to Ipswich that we will have four riders in the meeting.”

The other wild card for Cardiff is David Norris who helped Eastbourne push Ipswich all the way in last night's thriller at Foxhall Stadium.

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