Louis: I'm too scared to look at Foxhall

JOHN Louis is not enjoying his speedway these days. And he admits he is too scared to watch meetings at Foxhall Stadium.The man who finished third in the world and helped England win the world team cup was never frightened to put his neck on the line when racing for his beloved Ipswich Witches during a lengthy riding career with his home-town club.

JOHN Louis is not enjoying his speedway these days. And he admits he is too scared to watch meetings at Foxhall Stadium.

The man who finished third in the world and helped England win the world team cup was never frightened to put his neck on the line when racing for his beloved Ipswich Witches during a lengthy riding career with his home-town club.

Louis is now promoter of The Evening Star Witches and has dedicated his life from the age of 28 to the shale sport.

What is taking the shine off speedway for him at the moment is the new Airtek safety fence at Foxhall Stadium.

The last two home meetings have resulted in riders being shipped to Ipswich Hospital by ambulance with painful back injuries. This was after the fence virtually disintegrated on impact and first Kenneth Bjerre and then Daniel King made contact with static metal posts.

"I am not enjoying watching speedway any more," said Louis today. "I am too scared and too busy hoping against hope that nobody gets badly injured."

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Airtek fences were made compulsory for Sky Bet Elite League tracks this season, but the Ipswich version has not come up to scratch and is deemed far less efficient than it's collapsible wooden predecessor.

Two referees, the clerk of the course and the club doctor have joined forces with Louis in condemning the fence to the sport's governing body in England the Speedway Control Bureau.

"They were due to meet yesterday," added Louis. "And I am still waiting to hear the outcome. I don't know what is going to happen yet for our home meeting against Swindon on Monday, but I hope something is so that I can start enjoying my speedway again."

Louis should have no safety concerns tonight when Ipswich ride at Coventry in a B fixture looking for their fifth away league victory – and three points after winning the corresponding home meeting 54-41.

The new-type fence fits well on the permanent barrier at the Brandon Stadium used by bottom of the table Coventry Bees.

Ipswich will be at full strength and out to win for the second time on the Bees home circuit after a 49-45 victory in the A fixture.

"We want to get back on track to end a run of three consecutive defeats, but I am not predicting anything this season," said Louis. "Results have proved to be so unpredictable and although I am always optimistic, no meeting is going to be a piece of cake."

Ipswich ended with five riders in a shock home defeat by Oxford last Thursday. But even so they would have beaten the Silver Machine if their top riders had not had an off night, possibly effected by thoughts of the Fiat Vans British Grand Prix in Cardiff that took place last Saturday.

Louis has had his say on that and he will be after a better showing tonight. Both Kim Jansson and King have recovered from the painful knocks they took last week and will take their place in a full strength side.

Coventry beat top-of-the-table Poole last Thursday and now look much stronger at reserve. Team manager Colin Pratt made an error when he put American Bryan Yarrow at reserve at the start of the season.

He came in with an assessed 4.50 average, the same as 16-year-old Morten Risager. The Dane struggled in the number two berth, but blossomed in his first meeting at reserve against Poole being paid for 16 points from seven rides.

Yarrow has now been discarded and replaced by Pole Tomasz Piszcz, who has moved from Peterborough. Billy Janniro is expected to return after missing eight of Coventry's last ten meetings – and their last five – because of knee and shoulder injuries.

He flew in from his native California

yesterday and was to have physio last night. Stuart Robson sustained shoulder ligament damage last Thursday and is handicapped by sudden movement.

However, he still hopes to ride. The Bees will use rider replacement if Robson is ruled out – assuming Janniro is fit.

The Coventry win over Poole was only their second in their previous 12 matches.

Tonight's line-ups

Coventry: A Jonsson, J Bunyan, B Janniro, C Harris, S Robson, T Piszcz, M Risager.

Ipswich: H Andersen, D Bird, JB Jensen, C Louis, S Nicholls, D King, K Jansson.

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