Louis: We don't fear Pirates

IPSWICH speedway promoter John Louis insists the Evening Star Witches have nothing to fear in their Knock-Out Cup final against league champions Poole Pirates.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH speedway promoter John Louis insists the Evening Star Witches have nothing to fear in their Knock-Out Cup final against league champions Poole Pirates.

The Witches meet the Pirates at Wimborne Road tomorrow with the second leg of the final at Foxhall Stadium the following night.

“After their big win over Wolverhampton in the final of the league play-off, Poole might think that we will be another easy touch,” said Louis.

“We will be going to Wimborne Road to relax and enjoy ourselves. It will not be easy as the track is normally slick and the starts take some sorting out.

“Home riders have a big advantage as they have the benefit of riding at the track every week. By the time most visiting riders get their set-ups right it is time to go home.

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“I am sure we can get it right and we have nothing to fear having ridden just as well as Poole in the early and late parts of the season. If we had not had a big dip in the middle when Scott Nicholls was injured and Hans Andersen had a few troubles, we would have at least finished runners-up in the table.

“It would perhaps be asking too much to gain a win at Wimborne Road tomorrow, but if we can keep Poole to within nine to ten points we will really fancy our chances in the return.

“One or two Poole riders do not ride Foxhall consistently well and with a big crowd behind us our lads will be on fire and in the mood to capture some silverware.”

Having retained the Sky Bet Elite League championship, Louis said that Poole deserved their success and he had praise for Pirates' promoter Matt Ford.

“Matt is one of the better speedway promoters,” said Louis. “He has the best team in the league and enjoys the best crowds, so he must be doing plenty right. Matt is very professional and runs a successful business.”

Louis has four English riders in his Witches side, while the Poole team is made up entirely of foreigners.

As much as Louis likes to trumpet the cause of home-grown riders, he has no fight with Ford over his foreign selection policy.

“The bottom line is that we are running a business and Matt runs his as he sees fit. If he was not getting crowds and not providing

entertainment it might be different, but I have no problem with his choice of an all-foreign team.

“Good luck to him, although he will have a fight on his hands to hold on to the KO Cup he won last year.”

With Reading not involved in any meetings this week, Danny Bird is available for Ipswich, who missed him badly when losing out in the play-off semi-final of the league at Wolverhampton.

On Saturday, Ipswich are involved in a three-team tournament at Premier League Rye House with Peterborough the other opposition. This meeting starts at 7pm.

Speedway fans can obtain a free copy of a special Witches' edition of The Evening Star at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday. This is in conjunction with Kooka Kleen. The Witches' rider of the season will be announced on Thursday night based on votes made by Star readers.

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