Louis has no hesitation in signing
SPEEDWAY: Chris Louis has said that he had no hesitation in agreeing to stay an Ipswich Witches rider for the 14th consecutive season. The 32-year-old agreed terms over the weekend and the former world number three will form a strong spearhead with Scott Nicholls and Craig Boyce next year.
By Elvin King
CHRIS Louis has said that he had no hesitation in agreeing to stay an Ipswich Witches rider for the 14th consecutive season.
The 32-year-old agreed terms over the weekend and the former world number three will form a strong spearhead with Scott Nicholls and Craig Boyce next year.
"I had no hesitation in signing," said Louis. "I like what I am hearing about the planned make-up of the Witches 2002 side and am looking forward to it already."
Louis has just finished his most dismal season since he joined his local Foxhall Stadium-based speedway club in 1989.
He suffered his worst injury and lost his place in the Grand Prix series. "I am sure everything will brighten up and I am already busy working on next year," added Louis, who will continue to captain the Witches.
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"With Scott and Craig already signed things are looking good and I would be surprised if there were any problems with Jeremy Doncaster agreeing to stay as well. He has already said that he wants to carry on riding for Ipswich.
"Leigh Lanham is a target for the club and it would be nice to have him back on board once again. We proved this year that you need all seven riders contributing to make a successful side.
"Our two reserves struggled in 2001 when they found it tough. So much will depend on the calibre of the other riders the club signs - but from what I have been told it is looking good."
Louis, who is now fully recovered from horrific head injuries he suffered in a high-speed crash in Poland in June, says that he has no problem with Nicholls taking over as the Witches spearhead.
"Scott has done ever so well and I am sure he will shine in the Grand Prix," said Louis. "At Ipswich we have never had an out-and-out spearhead as such and during my 13 years I have not always been the rider with the highest average.
"Tony Rickardsson and Tomasz Gollob have also held that position, and Scott is currently leading the way. Good luck to him. My plans are to qualify for the 2003 Grand Prix campaign."
The British Speedway Promoters' Association annual conference is due to take place in Edinburgh later this week and a move to limit each Sky Sports Elite League side to one GP rider is expected to be ratified
But there is some opposition - with sponsors Sky Sports far from happy - to this watering down of standards to enable the league to run unaffected by an increase in the number of Grand Prix's from six to 10.
"Some quality riders look like missing out on lucrative English league racing just because they are successful - and this is grossly unfair," continued Louis. "And to a degree it is unnecessary. The rule is not set in concrete yet, but if it is confirmed this week Ipswich could benefit as we appear to have a stronger top end than most."
Louis has switched Swedish League clubs following the relegation of Bysarna. In 2002 he will be riding for promoted Ornarna where he will team up with Czech Republic brothers Lukas and Ales Dryml.
Witches promoter John Louis is attending this week's conference - and he will then continue talking to club asset Lanham, who has been on loan to Premier League Arena-Essex for the last few years.
Lanham's signing was requested by many of the 300-plus fans who completed a special questionnaire and he is a top target for Louis senior.
Jarek Hampel could still feature in the 2002 Grand Prix series. His fellow countryman Grzegorz Walasek is having serious thoughts about whether to take up his nomination as he feels costs could be prohibited, particularly as he will have to forgo his place in the Poole Pirates side.
If Walasek turns down the nomination then Hampel is in line to take his place. Hampel has already confirmed that he will not be staying with Ipswich as he has too many bookings in Poland next year.
A draw has been made from all the replies to the Witches questionnaire and the following lucky winners will receive prizes from the Foxhall trackshop:
Helen Chindlet (Mildenhall), Dawn Silburn (Kesgrave), David Woods (Colchester), J.M. Hales (Ipswich), Kimberly Richardson (Chelmsford), Rob Barnham (Ipswich), Nick Howe (Newmarket), H Mott (Ipswich), Graham Pigney (Beccles), Darren Marshall (Woodbridge), J Carpenter (Ipswich), Rolly Elliston (Ipswich), Stefan Jochan (Ipswich).