Louis confirms wanting to keep Loram

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches promoter John Louis confirmed today that he will be doing all he can to keep crowd favourite Mark Loram in the team next season.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches promoter John Louis confirmed today that he will be doing all he can to keep crowd favourite Mark Loram in the team next season.

But he might find stiff opposition from other clubs in the Elite League with Loram an asset of the former Exeter promotion that is now controlled by Terry Russell.

Russell, who has successfully overseen the televising of English speedway by Sky Sports, is associated with Eastbourne, Swindon and Arena-Essex.

He could well see Loram doing a good job for one of those clubs in 2007.

Loram, 35, has been a big hit this year after returning to the Witches side after an absence of 17 years.

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He has contributed to an increase in attendances and has enjoyed riding at Foxhall Stadium so much that he admits his form is as good as it was when he won the world title in 2000.

“It would be nice to have Mark back onboard again next year,” said Louis. “We will be working towards that end.

“This season's side has done well, but there are one or two matters to be decided between now and the end of the season before we can make any firm decisions about 2007.

“Riders still have time to show us what we want to see.”

Ipswich ride Poole Pirates at Foxhall Stadium tonight (start 7.30pm) looking for a significant win that will keep their hopes alive of a top-four Elite League finish, which would confirm participation in the end-of-season play-offs.

Loram will have an important part to play against a Poole side that will be missing two of their best riders because of burn-out.

Antonio Lindback has withdrawn from all his meetings this week because of illness and tiredness, and the Pirates will operate rider-replacement to cover for the Swede.

Pole Greg Walasek has also been ruled out for the remainder of this week with illness and Poole are looking at their options before announcing a replacement.

“It is amazing,” said Louis. “We hear that riders are suffering from this, that and the other complaint.

“Yet lo and behold they turn up and ride in the Grand Prix every fortnight. It is not ideal for the image of the Elite League, and in the circumstances we are being well served by our GP participant Pepe Protasiewicz.”

Poole are one of Ipswich's main rivals for a top-four place and the Witches will be buoyed by their 56-38 victory over leaders Reading Bulldogs at Foxhall Stadium last Thursday.

Tonight's line-ups

Ipswich: P Protasiewicz (8.62 average), K Jansson (5.76), R Miskowiak (6.02), C Louis (7.04), M Loram (8.50), D King (4.68), T Kroner (3.00).

Poole: B Pedersen (8.76), C Boyce (5.41), K Kasprzak (7.64), AN Other (6.21), Rider replacement for A Lindback (8.15), J Davidsson (4.19), T Allen (3.00).

COVENTRY rider Rory Schlein is facing around six weeks out after breaking his leg in Sweden on Tuesday evening. Schlein had made a remarkable recovery from a broken back last year, and has been a regular high scorer for the Bees this season.

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