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Louis: We'll show title rivals

PUBLISHED: 14:52 15 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:47 02 March 2010

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches promoter John Louis said that the team will only have one objective when they ride at Swindon tonight.

That is to knock the Robins off their perch as one of the favourites for the Sky Bet Elite League championship.

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches promoter John Louis said that the team will only have one objective when they ride at Swindon tonight.

That is to knock the Robins off their perch as one of the favourites for the Sky Bet Elite League championship.

Along with Poole Pirates, table-topping Ipswich and league newcomers Swindon are the sides rated favourites to compete for the title.

And a confident Witches want to stamp their authority on the championship race in no uncertain terms.

“We know it will not be easy,” said Louis today. “We aim to make a big statement in the early stages of the season, which makes every meeting an important one at the moment.

“The way the team has started has been fantastic and we have already collected three away league victories. So we know what it takes - and how great it feels - to win on our travels.

“We have gained a plus on Poole by beating them at home. Now we have a chance to put a downer on Swindon.”

The Witches will be at full strength with Danny Bird flying back into the side after missing Easter Monday's victory at Wolverhampton.

It was a big victory for the Suffolk side who receive significant financial backing from Hadleigh Glass and the Keith Martin Group.

And team manager Mike Smillie was delighted. He said “We knew riding Wolves while they still had an unbeaten home record would mean a real battle, but we battled away in tough, heavy conditions.

“I am especially pleased with Daniel King's four points racing at Monmore Green for the first time. Chris Louis has been struggling with a virus for over a week now but he came up with a vital pass in heat 14 when it was needed most.”

The Abbey Stadium at Blunsdon is a track where some of the Ipswich riders have little experience, although Bird will have ridden there in the Premier League for the last few years and Hans Andersen and Scott Nicholls were included in the Best Pairs meeting at the large circuit last Sunday.

Swindon will at full strength with Norwich-based Olly Allen having recovered from bruising and concussion sustained in a crash riding against Oxford last week.

The Robins have suffered a snow-off and a couple of rain-offs and their only home league match was a win over Oxford. They lost their only other league meeting - away to Oxford.

Promoter Alun Rossiter, who is also team manager, said: “This will be our strongest test so far. But we are riding well and are confident of seeing off the Ipswich challenge.”

Leigh Adams is a recognised Grand Prix star who is predicted will be a serious challenger for the 2004 world title and he certainly knows his way round Blunsdon better than most. Steve Johnston is a former Ipswich rider while veteran Andy Smith has been brought in to cover for injured Pole Krzysztof Kasprzak.

Charlie Gjedde is like Andersen, an up-and coming Dane who made rapid strides in English speedway last season.

Ipswich have no home meeting this week, but ride at Foxhall Stadium next Thursday and Saturday.

Tonight's line-ups

Swindon Robins: L Adams, A Smith, S Johnston, D Ruud, C Gjedde, C Kristensen, O Allen.

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


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