Louis: Brits are best for me
ON the eve of the 2006 speedway season Ipswich Evening Star Witches front man Chris Louis says that he is proud to be British.And the Foxhall Stadium-based club's skipper and rider/manager revealed that the Witches still have £36,000 in the kitty to purchase a new number one.
By Elvin King
ON the eve of the 2006 speedway season Ipswich Evening Star Witches front man Chris Louis says that he is proud to be British.
And the Foxhall Stadium-based club's skipper and rider/manager revealed that the Witches still have £36,000 in the kitty to purchase a new number one.
Ipswich are the only Elite League side with four Brits in their squad, and Louis says this is the way to go.
The 36-year-old is itching to get started, with the Ipswich riders meeting up today before track practice later in the week and their first competitive action on Thursday week.
Louis said today while meeting up with long-term pal and new signing Mark Loram for a look round Foxhall: “We always put British riders first. It makes it better in the pits and better for communications.
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“Mark is the last English rider to win the world title, and that was under six years ago.
“We could not have brought in a better man to wave the flag for our country.”
Louis is dismayed that other clubs are using too many foreigners, and feels the sport's governing body should play a part.
“The British Speedway Promoters' Association should give incentives and make it easier for clubs, from the Elite League down to the Conference, to track home-grown riders.
“Not enough British youngsters are moving out of the Premier League into the Elite League - and this will always have an effect on how good we do on the world stage with only Scott Nicholls and Lee Richardson up to international standards right now.”
Louis is happy with the 2006 Witches line-up despite the lack of a genuine number one.
“We could not have achieved a better balance, and I am sure our fans are in for a successful season,” said Louis, who will make himself available for the England world cup squad again.
“We do not have an out-and-out number one, but in Mark, Piotr Protasiewicz and myself I am sure we can cover for this.
“I admit that we tried for a number one: Tony Rickardsson was in our thoughts and we did all we could to purchase Hans Andersen but his salary figure at Peterborough held sway.
“We had someone lined up who would have become a big hit at Foxhall.
“We were within a whisker of purchasing him, and he would have matured into a seasoned number one in a couple of years. But that may come later.
“We have a good asset base, but riders like Tomasz Gollob and Jarek Hampel are not keen to ride in England right now while Tony (Rickardsson) only wants to ride here for six weeks.
“We have the money from the sale of Scott Nicholls to Coventry and that £36,000 is not going to be frittered away.
“It is gaining interest and ready for use when an appropriate number one becomes available to bolster our asset base - not planned for this year though.”
Apart from Louis and Loram, who will be riding for Ipswich together for the first time since 1989, the Witches have teenager Daniel King and his doubling-up partner Carl Wilkinson as their English riders.
Poles Protasiewicz and Robert Miskowiak, Swede Kim Jansson and Czech Jan Jaros make up the side along with number eight rookie Steve Boxall.
AUSTRALIAN under-21 speedway champion Chris Holder, who Ipswich Witches showed an interest in signing, was refused entry into the UK at the weekend.
The new Isle of Wight signing was detained by immigration officials on arrival as he didn't have an entry visa.
He said: “It seem the only way I can stay in this country is to go home and then travel to the British Embassy in Canberra and obtain this visa. I will be back.”